I have a wonderful conversation to share with you all today. Sylvia Harrault is a well-known personality in the hotel industry. She is very involved in the association AICR, as well as in her hotel. She is always coming up with fantastic ideas for her clients. I recommend staying at her hotel if you are looking for a memorable stay near the French Senate in Paris.
Hotel Baume Paris
Opened on July 2014, Hotel Baume Paris is a hotel featuring 25 rooms and 10 Suites and Junior Suites in a chic, contemporary Art Deco style based in the heart of the Left Bank.
It thus replaced Jardin de l’Odéon Hotel, which closed its doors in late 2013 to undergo renovation and become repositioned as a 4-star hotel. This meant that all-new products, all-new services, and all-new procedures were put in place. This period of change was also accompanied, of course, with the arrival of new clients.
Well ahead of the closing for the existing staff and the time of recruitment for the newer staff, then at the opening for all. The hotel manager explained to us that “the team organized meetings and training sessions with the managers. Everyone took part in the opening in their own way through their position, but they also helped by acting as client and testing out the hotel’s various services. They took on their own reins. It’s up to them to find out how they should achieve this result. I guide them, of course, so that they succeed in finding a method that works.” They’re all experienced in their profession; I just presented them the level of quality that I was expecting for our new clientele.
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How did you convey the importance of this change to the hotel staff, and how did you orient them to the summer repositioning? What was the level of involvement demanded from the staff members? What kinds of responsibilities did you entrust them?
Even before we could think about welcoming new clients, the hotel staff worked on getting to know each another and cooperating together. In fact, of the original team of 12 who worked at Jardin de l’Odéon Hotel, there were only 4 people (including me) who stayed through to the opening of Hotel Baume. Over the course of 3 training sessions, which brought together all the employees, they worked with their service manager on what they wanted to offer in the way of services to the clients.
From July 1 to August 31, 2014, we were in a training stage. In fact, we took advantage of this relatively calm period to put the finishing touches on the newest procedures, test out the rooms…and get to know one another so that we could communicate more efficiently!
The level of involvement from the entire team was essential for this project. It was important that everyone feel responsible for the role they would take on in the hotel. From the very beginning of the adventure, the teams were regularly informed about the evolution of the project, and we consulted them throughout the entire way.
We began by entrusting responsibilities to the service managers, who formed their teams and worked with them before the opening.
What were the major steps involved in the process?
The project began two years ago when the owner moved forward with the decision to undergo a complete renovation at Jardin de l’Odéon Hotel, and for that, it became necessary to close the hotel.
Following a conference at Hotel Crillon, I realized that it was important to seek out guidance in order to succeed with such a drastic transformation. That’s why I decided to work with the consulting firm Perlezenn Conseil.
The steps involved the following:
1) We presented our plans to close the hotel and reopen it as a 4* establishment.
2) A consultant met with each of our staff members to discuss their ideas on the project, identify roadblocks, and, most importantly, express their motivations so that the project could be successful.
3) We launched a training plan designed to help the managers with the change.
4) Each staff member held an interview with the managers to discuss their skills and their preferences for the future project. The result was a training plan designed to help staff members improve the skills they needed to work on, so that the training took place while the hotel was closed.
5) The closing of the hotel.
6) Training, reassignment in 4* and 5* hotels and partial unemployment.
7) The early arrival of managers to define and establish the future organization. This entailed training sessions for the opening, as well as the creation of standard protocols.
8) Recruitment, arrival, and training for staff members.
9) We are constantly reexamining our methods to guarantee that our services live up to the impeccable quality that our clients—old or new—are expecting.
How did you finance this advising process?
The advising on the changes was financed by DIRECCTE, FAFIH and the owner.
What would you recommend to other hotels in the same situation that you went through? What would you do differently if you had to redo it?
It’s difficult for me to give a firm recommendation, but I think what’s important is being able to take a large step back from a project that you’re about to undertake and choose the solution that best corresponds to your needs. When you get caught up in all the enthusiasm around a new project, it’s easy to neglect the staff members and get lulled into thinking that they will follow the project as it’s being developed. Except that’s not at all the case; the staff members are the true cornerstone of the business, which means they have to be present throughout the project.
I would encourage all my colleagues to do what I did because it was a tremendous learning experience for me.
If I were to do it all over again, I would hire my service managers this time prior to the closing of the hotel so that, by the time the hotel reopens, they are 100% autonomous.
About Hotel Baume:
Located in the heart of the 6th arrondissement in Paris, only a stone’s throw from Place de l’Odéon, the Baume is a 4-star hotel featuring 35 comfortable and elegant rooms, with an easy refinement entrenched in an ambiance evoking the 1930s. Here one can find elements strongly reminiscent of the decoration characteristic to this era: wooden veneer in Macassar Ebony, shagreen, satin, and moire fabric.
Working through the story of 6 characters and, as a result, 6 decorative themes, the rooms develop unique ambiances with materials of high-quality and contrasting styles. A group of friends and parallel lives weave in and out among each other. Each one in his or her way embodies the spirit of the era: the 1930s. It’s the time of the expansion of the art of living, of high-end aesthetics, and high-end pleasure in a France lodged between two wars. Jewelry, fashion, perfumes, design, clubs and films expand to ever-new heights.
Hotel Baume pays beautiful homage to 6 different ambiances, each resolutely anchored in the Art Deco period.
The level of detail, refinement, and the quality of the décor elements echo the modernity, flow, and positivism of this time period.
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.