EKITOUR's interest in embarking on the creation of a "cooperative hospitality platform"

Wednesday, February 10, 2016 at 5.30 pm in Poitiers will be held the General Assembly of Ekitour, a member of the Northern Hotel, whose debate will be devoted to the collaborative and cooperative economy! (See Program and registration). The opportunity to exchange on "the interest of EKITOUR to embark on the creation of a platform of cooperative hospitality". ? Have we gone from tourism for all to tourism by all?

EKITOUR was born more than 40 years ago with the purpose of organising activities of leisure, relaxation, outdoors, tourism, discovery, and also cultural events, to enable everyone to flourish and enrich themselves through knowledge Other regions or countries, other men and other cultures without forgetting the action so that the right to leisure, to holidays, to rest, to culture, becomes a reality for all. We are today an actor in the social and solidarity tourism that counts in the region by leaving nearly 5000 people on vacation and on trips which a very large part could not do without our actions carried out with the works councils and the Public bodies. Since its origins, social and solidarity tourism has focused on implementing, managing and developing collective forms of holiday and travel. This choice was made from the living conditions and forms of social organization, be they political, trade union, associative or even denominational, lived by the proletariat in our country in large part during the period of the "thirty Glorious ". It has allowed the right to holidays and culture to be exercised in a wealth of unsurpassed and unrivalled formulas; Youth hostels, holiday villages, holiday camps, travel abroad, language stays, etc. Never has the action for a social policy of tourism been absent from these processes of creation of activities of general interest whether by assistance to the stone or assistance to the person. EKITOUR, its militants and activities have been part of this history and have followed the social, economic and environmental evolution experienced by our public and non-starters in the general framework of social and solidarity tourism. A camping holiday on the island of We went to a holiday village on the French Riviera or Andalusia, car trips for the French Cup of football or the sound and light of the Lude, we flew to the Balearic Islands, Morocco or Vietnam for de Cover landscapes, cultures and populations, from the holiday club on the privatized beaches, we have built fair and solidarity voyages. The consequences of these new practices on the environment and local people have become real problems for the "responsible tourist" that we want to be and access to the holidays for all has deteriorated over the years. Today, the maps were reshuffled with the introduction of the C2C platforms. They have transformed, jostled, challenged the practices of economic and social actors by the Internet tool by making us enter into a new way of practicing our relations between the consumer and the producer, between the owner and the user , between the employee and the boss. The exponential development of the platforms of the high value collaborative economy added in their functionality, has hit the tourism sector. They are present in all its sectors, as well letransport (bla bla Car, Uber, Drivy,), as the accommodation (Airbnb, HomeAway, BedyCasa, Couchsurfing, guest to Guest, Wimdu,…), the catering (VoulezVousDinez, Co lunching,…), Lestours and the Activities (RendezVousChezNous, Vayable, Global Greeter, Evaneos,…).

? Collaborative tourism, threat or opportunity for social and solidarity tourism?

  • What are the threats?

The main one is to leave the collaborative economy in the hands of capitalism and its investment funds, which build C2C exchange and sharing platforms managing above-ground communities, recruited by Google promotion campaigns and Facebook, complacently relayed by the media that make them their cabbages. The other threat that is still and still is autism in the face of population demand for access to fundamental rights, including the right to vacation, by developing services that meet only a fringe of the population. The whole is driven by the hope of strong financial profitability thanks to the great disruptive potential of this form of economy.

  • What are the opportunities?

First of all, to ensure that these collaborative platforms are the property of its users and that they can be integrated into the social and solidarity economy. Then, rely on communities placing the human in the centre of the exchanges, anchored in the territories and bringing together all their actors; Inhabitants, craftsmen, traders, hosts, artists, guides, etc. Finally, to be able to create "market places" allowing the grouping of all the offers of these communities, facilitating their access and their market or non-market distribution thanks to the power of the Internet tool.

  • What is the situation and on what basis to build an alternative?

Capitalism needs to renew its forms of economic domination to preserve its profits, tourism is one of the pilers of this economy with 12% of world GDP and 1.2 billion of tourists in the world. The use of his computer, tablet or smartphone has become the most common practice to prepare for vacation, travel, leisure in developed countries; In any case for those who access it. The collaborative economy is a possible solution to meet the needs of the people if it is integrated into the social and solidarity economy. Social and solidarity tourism has everything to gain by using the Internet tools used by the collaborative economy allowing it to broaden its fields of possibilities but it must not respond to a niche market for a clientele with comfortable purchasing power But to be in the service of all plublics; Youth, families, seniors, disabled, including non-starters. It is necessary to develop diversified and innovative activities in close consultation with the host populations on the Territories with respect for sustainable development, the Faro Convention and supply-based, not the only demand While relying on the actors of social and solidarity tourism such as associations, cooperatives, works councils, local authorities and social organizations. This goes through a horizontal development of these activities (transport, lodging, catering, handicrafts, culture, sport, well-being, etc…) in which the communities remain the basic element with its inhabitants, its hosts, its activities, its choices, its The data, its governance while owning the technical tool. In short, cultivate his garden by knocking down the walls that surrounds him. # It is all these observations which, for more than a year, led EKITOUR to lead AvecHÔTEL of the north and Minga a reflection for the creation of a "cooperative platform of Hospitality" at the international level called for the moment "H2H": from Human to From history to stories, from host to hosts. #

? Why and how to embark on the creation of a new cooperative platform on an international scale? 1

  • What would be so innovative that would be worth the adventure? is not a leak forward in deadly individualism coupled with a fascination for the Internet tool far removed from the foundations and values of humanism, emancipation, solidarity, democracy, the collective sense of social tourism and solidarity since its creation?

The positioning of these platforms is always the same, a direct exchange from person to person "C2C", access to a low price offer as a central argument, a system of reputation of the hosts with notation, notice, certification, etc., without forgetting a speech Marketing centered on the promise of a meeting of a "resident". A tour of the many "alternative" internet platforms to market leaders such as the Airbnb or Abritel, makes it possible to quickly understand that they are essentially seeking to differentiate themselves by specialising in a typology of users such as Professionals, gays, families with children, the wealthy, etc., and to a lesser extent on a timid widening of the proposed ancillary services such as the good places nearby, the offers of training or visits with its host, etc. In fine, the main gain is that of earning the agent easily for the host who hosts ("Change of life, earn money by welcoming") and the cheapest fare for the Traveller ("twice as much as a hotel"). The hosting services offered via the C2C platforms seem to be the most competitive, as on the C2C platforms positioned on transport, visits, home catering, etc. This competitive rate is achieved by optimised competition between hosts through an individualisation of hosts which accentuates free competition, minimizing their solidarity contributions and their rights; A minimum reduction of common rights (Labour Code, etc.), social contributions (taxation, social contributions, etc.), collective organisations (trade unions, professional associations, etc.) with in fine a majority of hosts without Status or self-contractor. Then an exponential expansion of the offer thanks to the possibility offered to all to exercise without being professional: it would suffice to have a sofa to accommodate, a kitchen to cook, a car to transport, etc. All this leads to an optimised competition thanks to the web with an instantaneous and efficient comparison of rates, location, reputation and service. Only the platforms themselves are excluded from this competition through the acquisition of a quasi-monopoly position to impose high margins and attract the interest of pension funds, to be able to exclude their undesirable members who criticize the Platform or who have a bad reputation for example, create a favorable relationship with the public authorities, optimise their taxation and change the regulations in their favour through the lobbying they have the means to finance. This logic meets its own limits with today for example 20% of the Parisian accommodation of Airbnb which are the offer of professionals going up to propose a hundred apartments, see hoteliers as in Switzerland. This information, not provided by the platforms, see contradictions, is the result of increasingly numerous activists to set up systems of vigilance and information vis-à-vis them. In Barcelona, where the new mayor campaigned against mass tourism in his city, it has just launched in December disciplinary proceedings against the two most well known and present platforms, namely Airbnb and HomeAway, for having Proposed "non-registered tourist apartments" and "not having responded to the requests of the administration". Airbnb has already announced its intention to appeal. For all that, Airbnb arrives to impose its choices by spending for example 8 million million last year in the city of San Francisco only to fail, successfully, a referendum that proposed to the inhabitants to frame much more strictly its Activity in the face of increased rents and evictions. Its ambition is to become the first global player in tourism from 2017 and it gives the means. In the United States, where these platforms are more active and established, the debate becomes very lively. The startups of Silicon Valley are called the "star of Death platforms" as they are formidable at all levels going so far as to declare the state offside because only the users count and that no economic sector will be spared! "The Alliance" in the face of the "sharing economy" is organized with the end of 2015 a thousand people who met in New York to launch the foundations of a credible alternative through the "cooperatives platforms". At European level, the European Committee of the Regions has submitted to the European Commission and submits to each Member State a report dated 5 December 2015 on "the local and regional dimension of the sharing economy". This report, rich in its analysis of the context, its findings and its proposals, particularly encourages the European Commission and the Member States to put in place incentives for the collaborative economy in order to support and apply the Principles of the social economy, in particular with regard to the principles of solidarity, democracy and participation, as well as cooperation with the local community. Europe seems to want to not get caught up in speed again by the giants of the Web.

  • Following these findings and in this context, is it possible to develop a credible cooperative alternative? How would our H2H proposal be different and more relevant than existing platforms? Is it worth the effort to invest time and money in such an adventure? Should we only better frame these giants and do with it? Is it possible to exist economically in the face of the economic logic of the low price imposed by these platforms? Are we doomed to a niche strategy?

In the Face of this formidable economic logic and its proven effectiveness, we decided to make what would be a priori our weaknesses, our strengths. Where they put the individual alone, we put the common in the plural and at the centre of our activity. We are an offer of hospitality. These are the "heritage communities" within the meaning of the Council of Europe's "Faro Convention". Communities that take care of the common, of themselves and of others. We do not offer C2C – consumer to consumer – but from H2H – from host to hosts, from human to human, from history to stories. We confirm our commitment to human rights as to democracy and the rule of law as well as to cooperative principles. The Declaration of the International Cooperative Alliance remains our economic reference and the Faro Convention on the right to cultural heritage our European framework.

  • Who are these communities within H2H?

They are plural, small and large, self-organized and self-established, producers of general interest and composed of hosts. It is today a network of hotels in rural areas that take care of villages and their communities, a cooperative of host inhabitants who defends its heritage environment in a changing metropolis, a network of hostels, a Cooperative of artisans concerned with the work well done and to pass on its know-how, a travel agency defending the "holidays for all" and a national network of entrepreneurs "producers of general interest". Not to mention the other communities in Europe, the Mediterranean and recently in America who follow us and will certainly join us if we pass the national Cape.

  • Why would a passenger (user, traveller, tourist, worker, student, migrant) use this platform? Will it be confidential and reserved for the only savvy?

The platform we want to put in place aims in the first place to offer the same quality of use as the current ones, see better as the Internet allows. We propose to move from a "one to one" reception with a host who shares with his community only the same platform to a reception by a local "community" existing well before the platform and owner of it. The question of the "reputation" of the host and its increasingly diverting "notation" logics no longer need to be like that of a possible professional "disguised" as a host for the occasion. The one who welcomes is a host part of a community, which recognizes the quality of its commitment and its offer of hospitality. This will not prevent the collection and publication of the opinion of the passengers as on the North Hotel. The host, alone or in a group, has common interests to share with its passengers as their common history, their knowledge and know-how, etc. From 2016, the North Hotel will set up on its pilot platform an experience of taguage of these offers of hospitality and cultural contents so that, for example, a person sharing our interest in the industrial history of the north of Marseille can Quickly identify how to share this interest through the meeting of hosts, places, works, products, images, archives, artistic creations. Some host communities pay special attention to particular passengers such as travelling workers, migrants, students, families, etc. and offer specific hospitality such as the North Hotel in cooperation with the North Hospital (accommodation of relatives of hospitalized persons), businesses and hikers of the GR2013. The community is also an opportunity to benefit from a diverse offer of hospitality and heritage discovery in terms of accommodation, strolls, local products and works as is already the case with Hotel du Nord but which via the founders of H2H Already widens to the know-how (learned with) and the sharing of cultural data. Finally, they pool what makes their quality of life and their living environment through the sharing of "good places" where through the community, the cultural activities they recommend or the spaces they attend. By putting the common in the centre of the H2H project, we return to the basis of our respective approaches while being positively marked for our passengers of the classic C2C offers. This is the economic bet we want to take by launching H2H. The reading of the media also shows that for some the cooperative status of its democratic and non-profit nature (moderate capital remuneration) would not be compatible with the development of a C2C platform which requires a significant lifting of Financial funds. It is first of all to make few cases of the "cooperative giants" present in all economic sectors and which have been highlighted during the International Year of cooperatives. It is also to forget the plasticity of the cooperative principles that have allowed them, continually, to adapt this status to social challenges such as cooperatives of sinners or those of activity and employment. The paradox seems to us more on the side of the C2C platforms which think that they can in the long term combine collaboration and individualism, sharing and refusal of the Commons, hospitality and supervision, reciprocity and competition by being both producer and Consumer. After launching a first prototype platform in Marseille in 2010 with Hoteldunord.coop, having contributed to the emergence of a second prototype with the application "hidden City" in Pilsen in 2015, we launch our third prototype this year with the Poitou Charentes version of HôtelduNord. Coop and we created on January 12, 2016 the cooperative structure that will carry H2H. Our goal is to launch the National cooperative platform in 2017 and the international one in 2018. (1) This chapter 3 is taken from the article by Prosper Wanner, Northern Hotel manager, published on 7/01/2016 in the cooperative's blog. Let him be thanked.

Ekinews, on 23/01/2016, Daniel Lodenet, President of Ekitour
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