“…the art of welcoming is not a prerogative of high-end hotels…”
We are back with Corinne Ménégaux, the talented figure in charge of organizing EQUIPHOTEL Salon, a Parisian trade show that captures all the latest trends in furnishings in the hotel world. As a partner of the salon, it is my mission to regularly bring you interviews with the main figures of the salon. Below, Corinne shares with us her vision of the French art of welcoming, where a sense of welcoming forms one of the essential topics of the hotel world. Her experience and range of perspectives remain a source of inspiration for the world of hotels.
France, with its history, its traditions, its taste for excellence, has developed over the course of the centuries a savoir-faire in hotel architecture, which has led to the create of its art of welcoming. What is your own definition or vision of the French art of welcoming?
Indeed, France’s history shows that we have cultivated a true art of living and welcoming. It is a savoir-faire that has certainly put us on the map for luxury hotels.
But the art of welcoming is not a prerogative of high-end hotels; above all, it is the conjugation of a space thought out by the spirit of the proprietor, a strong identity, a vision for welcoming, and a real client relationship that will go on to create a true experience and emotion.
- Offer an environment that tells a story. A personalized space, one that offers its own identity and a consistent concept.
In luxury hotels, France has certainly enjoyed the advantages of featuring its many Palaces, these establishments that are so rich with history. We are also seeing more and more the rise of historical places that have been renovated and converted into hotels…that by their very identity tell their own story!
- The human being is at the heart of the profession: knowing how to welcome to offer the best experience possible to clients. Human values such as a smile, kindness, conviviality, the pleasure of sharing, generosity, and an open mind onto other cultures are just a few of the essential traits.
For this, I see training and transmission as especially important. Hiring and training one’s staff in the art of welcoming in service to the client.
- And last but not least, what draws people and makes all the difference, especially where foreign tourists are concerned, is the famous ‘French Touch’: the charm, elegance and refinement of the French. A French savoir-faire, an art of welcoming delivered and represented by the Capital. Paris is the It City. As truly global glass window, it’s a trendy destination for trends. Paris is a brand that delivers an art of living, a culture of luxury industries and their various expertise.
What is your vision of the art of welcoming one’s guests? What does welcoming mean today in hotels?
The art of welcoming, in my opinion, is moving toward new dimensions of attention, sharing, and conviviality.
- “The sky is the limit”: Personalization is everywhere. Every service has to be thought out under the prism of the client and respond to his varied needs.
Luxury is personalized service to the extreme, with a Butler or Personnel Assistant who, even before the client arrives, will have taken the time to learn about his tastes and his favorite activities to offer him the best options and anticipate his desires.
- Service is also a subtle art that lends itself to the client’s well-being: the quality of the cuisine, the quality of the welcome, of the ambiance, and the service. It is an ensemble that serves the notion of “hospitality.”
- Another quality that can raise a hotelier in his client’s esteem is his sense of generosity: a small gift, a special attention, a certain detail in the service that proves that we’re paying attention to him beyond any strictly “commercial” motive.
- Bringing a spirit of lightness and conviviality to respond to all your needs. Offering a less serious service, one that is less formal and more convivial.
- And finally, the art of welcoming is also about knowing how to adapt to different kinds of clienteles (couples, families, B2B, and so on), as well as to different cultures and rhythms. It is about offering hotels, lifestyle spaces that are aligned with the clients’ new lifestyles and habits, whether this be in the service or in the management of spaces. Offering more flexibility and comfort (e.g. the lobby that becomes transformed into a true open space, with a more open and connected ambiance).
Presenting Corinne Ménégaux, Director of Hotels & Restaurants, Retail, Communication, Design and Culture:
Corinne Menegaux (48 years old) is a graduate of ESSEC who has built her career in the world of professional and public trade-shows, starting out at MILLER FREEMAN (1992-1995), KEYMEDIA GROUP (1995-2003, CEO of the French division between 2000 and 2003) and eventually becoming CEO at EASYFAIRS FRANCE (2004). In January 2005, she started her own company, GEM, which organized ASYFAIRS FRANCHISE salons (8 regional salons per year) and became at the origin of two large public trade-shows: ‘Cuisinez !’ and ‘Art Shopping.’ She joined REED EXPOSITIONS FRANCE in 2009 to lead the Hotel-Restaurant division: EquipHotel, Vending Paris, Sandwich & Snack Show, Marcocotel and Parizza.
Since 2012, Corinne Menegaux has been part of the executive committee of Reed Expositions France and enlarged her range of responsibilities with the following salons: Funéraire, Bijorhca, Body Fitness, Reeduca, MPV-POPAI, VISCOM, Franchise Expo. In the last couple of months, she has also added Livre Paris to her portfolio.
Laurent Delporte, an editor and conference speaker, is a strategic expert in the sector of hotels. A visionary, he brings his unique look on hotels in service to the decision-makers in the industry, whether to enhance the development of new projects or strategic visions.
Laurent has visited and audited over 350 hotels across the world and also participates in mystery visits to provide quality control for the world’s finest hotels.