Edith Keller – CEO of Carlin International Group: Hello Clémence Mourouvin, I had the pleasure to meet you during the Hotel & Lodge Meetings & Awards, your enthusiastic intervention made me want to know more. Can you introduce Club Faune Voyages?
Clémence Mourouvin – Marketing and Development Director at Club Faune Voyages: We are a tour operator that has been organizing high-end customized trips around the world since 1985. Our objective: to understand perfectly the expectations of our customers, and to offer them programs totally adapted to their values and desires on one of our 120 destinations. In order to do so, we guarantee our travelers: a dedicated advisor, an expert in the chosen destination; confidential addresses, authentic encounters and unique experiences with committed partners; a French-speaking concierge service and a 24-hour assistance at the destination.
Clémence Mourouvin – Marketing and Development Director at Club Faune Voyages
E.K: Who created the Club?
C.M: Sylvie Bernon, my mother-in-law and her brother. Passionate about nature and Africa, they have lived on the continent and developed camps in close collaboration with local communities. Back in Paris, they decided to set up their agency to share their passion for travel. Over the years, Sylvie has expanded her team, while striving to keep the company on a human scale. She surrounds herself with travel enthusiasts, having a great expertise in the field and enriches her production to offer handmade trips around the world.
E.K: What are your specificities?
C.M: We wish to allow our travelers to travel far away, as close as possible to their emotions. Therefore, a large part of our work consists in finding what will make our client’s trip an unforgettable moment and truly unique. We try to get off the beaten track, and have a real strength of exclusive proposals, sometimes unexpected, always striking.
Nour El Nil
E.K: How do you ensure this exclusivity?
C.M: By spending a large part of our time in the field meeting our partners and guides. Only a long-term relationship based on trust with our partners, who are committed to promoting their country, their passion and their culture, allows us to guarantee our travelers exclusive and unique experiences. These trips allow us to strengthen our ties with our partners, to develop our network at destination and to refine our production by creating, together, a customized offer matching the expectations of our customers. The discovery of inspired places, confidential addresses, as well as the implementation of authentic and original experiences are an integral part of the work of our 8 travel consultants. These field trips are also an opportunity to remind our partners of our requirements, to ensure that our travelers receive a high-quality service on site. In addition, we spend several hours with our clients to define well their interests, before making a proposal that can be adapted at any time.
E.K: What are the evolutions in your customers’ requests ?
C.M: We have a loyal clientele, and what we have noticed in those recent years is a growing interest in culture in the broadest sense of the word: an in-depth understanding of the history of a place, the rites of a tribe, the behavior of animals, etc. Our high-end clientele is more interested in the experiencing than in the having. More generally, we are seeing the emergence of strong new trends in the luxury tourism market:
- The respect of the environment and local traditions is more than ever guiding the choice of the luxury tourist, who is particularly interested in ecology;
- The “return to the roots”, that is to say to what is first, authentic, natural, is at the center of the demand;
- The need for calm, intimacy and resourcing is particularly noticeable.
To meet these expectations, we introduce our clients to historians, curators and ecologists who share their knowledge.
Exclusivity and a privileged human relationship are also rising values: a meeting with a chef to visit a market and then cook local dishes with him or her, or a dinner with the family that welcomes you and tells you its history, or the discovery of an exceptional craft thanks to a craftsman. In addition to that, we offer exceptional accommodations, of small capacity, perfectly integrated into the environment and skillfully blending luxury and nature: private canvas camp in the middle of the African bush, finca at the end of the world in the heart of Patagonia, colonial farm on the forgotten island of Principe…
To give you two concrete examples…
Our travelers will be able to discover archaeological excavations conducted by archaeologists from the French School of the Far East on the site of Angkor.
Temple d’Angkor Wat au Cambodge – James Wheeler (Unsplash)
They will discover the African bush from a privatized camp and will participate in an operation to save the white rhinoceros in the Kifaru reserve: dehorning operation.
E.K: Is the notion of eco-tourism more prevalent than before covid?
C.M: We have always worked with “conservation project” partners, who promote responsible tourism and are committed to protecting the environment in close collaboration with local communities. This approach allows our travelers to be actors of change. By offering our clients customized and exclusive trips (low volume, small capacity structure…) our footprint is necessarily small. Moreover, our clients prefer few but unforgettable trips.
E.K: What is the profile of your customers?
C.M: Mostly French-speaking people over 50 years old. We also have a younger clientele for whom we organize wedding trips and who come back to us for “exploration trips”.
E.K: What kind of trips do they ask you for this exceptional event?
C.M: It’s very often a first week of discovery, even of surpassing oneself, hikes, trekking… then a week of total relaxation. The “Bush & Beach” format is very popular: a safari close to nature in the heart of a private reserve for exclusive experiences off the beaten track, followed by a week of relaxation with your feet in the water in an idyllic setting.
E.K: What type of trip is the most exciting but the most difficult to organize and satisfy?
C.M: Multi-generational trips, in family, it is necessary to satisfy each generation and to study well the rhythms and the capacities of each one. But it is a demand that is becoming more and more frequent, because Covid has reinforced the desire to share and exchange as a family.
E.K: Is there currently an infatuation for a geographical area?
C.M: Not particularly, but we have developed a French offer during the Covid which continues to be successful, and Europe is also quite popular. We also note an ever-growing interest in boat cruises, mainly private or on small capacity boats.
Nour El Nil
E.K: Has the covid had any other impact on your business?
C.M: Of course, some of our partners have had to give up their activity because they received less assistance than in France. As a result, we must remain vigilant to ensure that the skills are there and that the service follows. The notion of service is an essential factor to satisfy our customers and it is not innate, it often takes a long experience to make it perfect.
E.K: In the future, do you plan to calculate the carbon footprint of your trips?
C.M: We are a human-sized company and we want to be associated with sustainable projects, where we can measure the results and our impact. In the medium term, we want to reinforce our commitment to the planet by limiting the CO2 emissions linked to our travels. In that purpose, we would like to participate in reforestation projects that would allow us to compensate for these negative emissions. We are currently looking for the ideal partner.
E.K: And you Clémence, what is your dream trip?
C.M:Dreams are changing… I tend to say that the trip which matches with you today, will be different tomorrow. But I must admit that my personal history links me to Africa, its wide open spaces, its people and their traditions, its unique wildlife. If I had to fly tomorrow, it would surely be to Africa. To Botswana more precisely, for a horseback safari in the heart of the Okavango Delta, to be experienced from a tented camp nestled on the banks. The best way to get closer to giraffes, elephants and antelopes!
E.K: Thank you Clémence for your inspirational sharing which makes us want to go on an adventure!
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