I recently encountered Dominique Desseigne at Fouquet’s in Paris. I was delighted to run into him and learn about his vision of the art of welcoming. We also touched on the renovations in progress in Barrière Hotels.
What is the French Art of Welcoming for you and for Barrière Hotels?
It is to give one’s heart to the clients, to see to it that the client feels as comfortable in your establishment as if they were in their own home. But it is also about lavishing them with attention in a service that remains delicate, never overbearing or intrusive. Ultimately, it is to be close to the clients, all while remaining in one’s place.
All this forms the frame of mind with which we welcome our clients, whether in our restaurants, in our hotels, or in our casinos. This is particularly true abroad, where our art of welcoming expresses itself in places like Hotel & Ryads Naoura Barrière in Marrakech. It remains our signature and our distinguishing feature.
What is the common factor in all Barrière Hotels?
Barrière hotels are not subject to a norm, in the sense that there is no rigid cohesion even within the establishments in our group; each hotel has its own character, its own heritage, its own atmosphere. We are artisans of tailoring, unlike those large uniform hotel chains that are trapped by their own standards, which is actually normal because it forms a part of their culture. In our group, the establishments are smaller, more intimate, more personalized. We want our establishment’s director to be considered the owner of the household—this is what we seek to express in our Barrière hotels.
I chose not to classify my hotels under the Palace label for economic reasons. In some of our hotels, 40% of our sales come from business conventions. Within the context of the current economic crisis, it is simply not conceivable for many businesses to hold events in establishments listed as Palaces. I cannot request the Palace label for Hotel Fouquet’s Barrière in Paris and not request it for the others; it’s a logic that we have to see through to the end. In Cannes, I took over leadership on the Croisette, and if the Hotel Majestic Barrière became a Palace, I would risk losing clients.
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.