Every day this week I will be sharing with you an interview with Alejandro Bernabé, the new CEO of Kempinksi. Previously General Manager and Vice President of the, Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok, Alejandro will share his insights on what it takes to run international luxury.
The Art of Welcoming : ALEJANDRO BERNABE, CEO Kempinski Worldwide
What is your business approach of French “art de recevoir”? Do you think that French “art de recevoir” is a differentiating factor for luxury hotels? What are the values that you emphasize when welcoming your customers?
Guest satisfaction is definitely of the utmost importance for us to become a leader or to differentiate ourselves from the other hotel operators in this highly competitive market. Our business approach is to ensure that the satisfaction of our guests is completely fulfilled and that when they leave, they take with them many happy memories from their stay. It is the attention to the small details make a big difference in creating these unforgetable moments – going beyond what the customer would expect of the services of a luxury hotel. The French « art de recevoir » is a life philosophy as it can be applied to everything and for everyone in order to create a sense of happiness. In some ways, the « art de recevoir » standardizes (what ?) the customer experience (?) in a luxury hotel. However, to differentiate or to position yourself above competitors, it is more important to place a focus on how, we implement it in our daily tasks.
The first impression is equally important along with the last impression. You need to ‘know’ your guests prior to their arrival and by this I mean, going beyond the logistical details to knowing who they are, their personal preferences. Of course, check-in, check-out, room orientation, as well as luggage delivery need to be done in a timely manner. But tailor the service to individual needs as well as create a personalized experience for the guests whether they are a new or returning client. Ensure that their requirements are promptly responded to and the facts (what do you mean by the ‘facts’ ?) are not overlooked. Get them right while they are staying and remember your guest – not only acknowledging them by name / preferred name but also remember what their likes and dislikes are.
In Kempinski Hotels, we have introduced a personalized service orchestrated through our Kempinski ambassadors known as the « Lady in Red ». Each « Lady in Red » has a charming and professional character. These employees are a first impression of the hotel and are very carefully selected as they are allow us to really differentiate Kempinski Hotels from other luxury hotels in the city.
They provide a single « one-stop » service for VIP guests who are in need of special attention as well as professionally developping a personal relationship with them. It is important for them to know as much as possible about these guests, to anticipate their wishes, and to communicate with the team in order to make the stay a memorable one. Coordination between the different functions of the hotel is a key part in the role of these « Ladies in Red » in ensuring a standard of excellence at all times during the guest’s stay.. And, as all of us know, Thai hospitality is renowned as being outstanding. Through their kindness and gentleness, they deliver a genuine service « from the heart » which could defined as the art of Thai hospitality..
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.