Edith Keller – CEO of Carlin International Group: Hello Françoise Houdebine, you are Vice-President Sales & Marketing at Louvre Hotels Group, a major player in the global hotel industry with more than 1,600 hotels in 54 countries, with a very complete range of establishments from 1 to 5 stars. Can you explain the main consequences of the pandemic in your sector?
Françoise Houdebine – Vice-President Sales & Marketing at Louvre Hotels Group: We have obviously experienced some difficult moments. However, we were lucky, as our French hotel portfolio is mainly made up of accessible medium-sized establishments in urban or peri-urban areas. We have been able to attract a family clientele, for extended weekends or longer stays.
Françoise Houdebine – Vice-President Sales & Marketing at Louvre Hotels Group
E.K: What about the business clientele?
F.H: With the cancellation of major trade shows and fairs, we have of course seen a drop in attendance from this target. However, since the last quarter of 2021, we have seen an increase in bookings, especially in the middle of the week, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
E.K: Which brand best meets current expectations?
F.H: Without hesitation I would say Campanile, it’s the revenge of the Motel spirit, which is a fast-growing trend in the USA. People are rediscovering the freedom of usage in a facilitating environment. Easy to get to, easy to park, easy to recharge your car with electricity… Campanile was already making an eco-friendly promise before the covid, and we had developed a very “green” customer experience, with solar panels and a focus on all our recycling solutions. We also have completely redesigned the Campanile room to make it totally adaptable to a family and multigenerational clientele. A cosy and natural atmosphere for a maximum efficiency. In addition, most of these hotels have a vegetable garden, and our restaurants increasingly feature local products.
Redesigned Campanile room – Louvre Hotels Group
E.K: What were the challenges for the Group’s restaurants?
F.H: There were many. To help our chefs, from kitchen to bar staff to meet these new challenges, we have created the Louvres Group’s Culinary University – Chaud Devant – in the heart of the Rungis market. There, we are training our new recruits, and we allow all our staff to progress thanks to :
- CSR modules (how to cook locally, maintain an organic vegetable garden, introduce zero waste …)
- A better control of costs (raw materials, energy…)
- A new concept of service (more advices …)
The Culinary University “Chaud Devant” – Louvre Hotels Group
E.K: Can you tell me about the HOSHO concept at Porte d’Italie?
F.H: It’s a low-cost, new generation hotel concept, in short a sort of “Auberge espagnole”, everything is done to facilitate, simplify, and, above all, correspond to all approaches, whether they are budgetary, functional, or generational. I can share a room as in a flat-share but also have my own private space thanks to my secure locker. My bed becomes my living and working space. I can rent a room with 8 beds for all my sports friends, or my blended family. Services such as laundry are shared.
Hosho Concept – Louvre Hotels Group
E.K: What did you focus on during the pandemic throughout the group?
F.H: Access to information on safety and hygiene. Flexibility in reservations, payments and cancellations. The physical health of our customers by developing Fit Up offers in our Kyriad hotels. Everyone can work out in their room, whenever they want to, at their own pace, thanks to our coaches’ programs and the equipment provided.
Fit Up offers – Louvre Hotels Group
E.K: Internationally, have you developed new concepts?
F.H: In China, we have launched several hotels based on the slow life concept, with all the variations that go with it. We have had a very good response to these new offers for both business and leisure customers.