…and what it means to be a palace in 2020
A true Palace is one that brings together under one roof the best talents. Everything must be in place on site in order to deliver the best products and services. For instance, when it comes to food, it must have a bakery, a pastry chef, etc. This is not always the case, and certain palaces get their pastries and bread delivered. Luxury exists in the details, but once on site, you can tell the difference quickly. It is important to have talents at all levels, and this is probably the most difficult thing to achieve.
Will the war of the Palaces in Paris ever take place? The question surrounding the war of the Palaces should not be framed as such. The more important question is knowing how they can collectively attract the largest number of clients to spend their stay in different hotels. This indeed is one of the strengths of the Palace label, as Atout France organizes communication campaigns and events to promote Palaces in France that are located next to each other in a collective effort to promote both their hotel as well as France as a destination in general.
The goal of the war of the Palaces is not to steal the guests from their neighbors. The clientele of these prestigious establishments are not truly volatile. Being known and recognized in a hotel is a fundamental element in the client experience. Changing hotels requires getting to know the staff team, sharing one’s likes and dislikes all over again, etc. When you are a regular client, a Palace knows your entire personality and knows how to best personalize your welcome. The majority of clients will not want to change Palaces.
The competition between palaces must result in a healthy spirit to render this sector dynamic and ever more innovative. The establishments that obtain the Palace label are chosen because they fulfill a number of well-defined criteria. There is thus, on an underlying basis, a certain norm that everyone must respect. They must also be capable of differentiating themselves and featuring different offers. Each establishment must offer an experience that is unique and different from those of its clients. What would be the fun for the client in uniformity?
The exceptional must be found at all levels. Offering a pool today in a Palace no longer signifies anything exceptional. The question is knowing what makes something unique, what service it offers that cannot be found anywhere else, and if not, the hotel must develop other services that are likewise exceptional. Today, the clients of these Palaces have developed a habit of seeing very fine hotels. Luxury is synonymous with excellence, exclusivity, and Palaces must deliver at all levels what they do best. Over time, it becomes difficult to surprise clients of these great establishments. Above all, it is important to differentiate itself from other hotels by developing its own clientele and attracting further clients.
Training is another challenge for luxury hotels.
When a Palace opens its doors, it must bring together the best talents at the hotel within a few months and train them as best as it can to give them all the keys for delivering the best possible experience. For this, the teams must know how to work together. Several years are necessary for a new team of over 300 employees to excel in their service and coordinate between different departments. Simply said, it is difficult to recruit 300 luxury artisans in a few months and train them to attain the level of excellence in time for the opening. There, too, the traditional Palaces enjoy the advantage of better service thanks to teams that know how to work together and have come to know their regular clients over time.
Sustainable development is essential for luxury hotels. A hotel with plans to open today in Paris that is renovating itself completely has no excuse for not reducing its energy consumption, bringing natural materials to all floors, and preserving resources that are rare or disappearing. It must also have in place a strong RSE policy for its employees to make their work easier and further bring them greater motivation day by day.
Artificial intelligence is developing and taking a larger role in our daily life. It is everywhere and must take its place in luxury hotels. This will change the consumption habits and lifestyles of its clients. Palaces must anticipate the world of the future to respond to the needs of its 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.