Differentiation in the Hotel Industry
Achieving differentiation in the hotel industry is a key element for offering clients a memorable and quality experience. With the help of Charles De Foucault, General Manager of One&Only Le Saint Géran, I sought out to understand the key elements in the differentiation of a hotel.
Numerous international luxury brands have opened establishments in Mauritius. What do you do to differentiate yourself and keep ahead of the competition?
I arrived here in 2012. For me, the most important thing was the service staff of the hotel. We had to revive the dynamism of the service staff. Where logistics were concerned, we needed funds and authorizations that I did not have in the beginning. I was chosen to make do with the means of the board. Like an orchestra conductor, I had to play with an ensemble of instruments. I could sense the extremely strong potential within the service staff we had. We had to rework all the details and set in place small attentions while being mindful of the minute processes involved in the hotel’s operation. It’s important to maintain a respect toward traditional hotel-keeping while also keeping a forward-looking perspective at the same time. There are some hotels that remain too static. The most important thing is to respect the client and his wishes. We cannot afford to bother him at any point or to make him wait for longer than he has to. You need high energy if you’re going to work in the hotel industry, and it is my role as a general manager to draw out the talents in my teams.
Given all these latest openings and renovations of 5-star hotels, are you thinking of renovating to keep your status as one of the most iconic hotels in Mauritius?
We are actually looking forward to a renovation of One&Only Le Saint Géran very soon. It will be a very challenging task because we cannot afford to disappoint our current clients in the process of welcoming new clients in this new renovation project. We cannot simply do away with all the memories left by our clients. In short, we have to avoid losing sight of the client of yesterday while we are thinking of the client of tomorrow. Here, our structure cannot afford to change. For instance, these days, there are too many children among our clients, and unfortunately, the hotel was not designed to accommodate them. This means we’ll have to change the common areas and in doing so, with each step, we engage with the heritage of each client. It’s important that families feel comfortable that they enjoy it. It’s important that the change brings a supplementary comfort and a new refinement.
I would love to involve clients in the renovation project, but in practice, it’s almost impossible to do so. It’s already hard enough to arrive at an agreement with the proprietor, so trying to involve each client and make the final product correspond to each individual’s taste would become complicated. And after all, to each his career; it’s the hotelier’s job to define the by drawing from his experience of the expectations of his clientele. His job is not to reflect and choose; what he wants is ultimately what would please him as well.
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.