WHAT DO YOU STRIVE TO BRING TO THE TABLE AT LE MEURICE AS GENERAL MANAGER?
I am naturally the conductor who sets up the pace and coordinates everything. I need to constantly keep a helicopter view to distinguish between what is important and what is urgent. From my extensive experience of 40 years in the hospitality industry, I know one thing: you have to adapt yourself to constant changes and keep your staff motivated. To get there, you have to make people understand that changes should be taken as opportunities rather than obstacles. This is the way to challenge them and make them feel competitive so they can get out of their comfort zone and go the extra mile.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE THINGS YOU’VE LEARNED ALONG THE WAY IN YOUR CAREER?
You always have a different perception of yourself than others have; therefore, it is key to adapt your style of communication depending on the people you have in front of you.
With time, the relationship of authority has changed, and the best management methods are support and compliance. This means it is necessary to involve your people in the projects.
You can delegate when you are a leader, but you need control: delegation requires time because it goes with trust. It is vital in big companies, but you have to take the time to control if you want to be assured of efficiency and productivity.
LE MEURICE IS KNOWN FOR ITS EXCEPTIONAL HOSPITALITY — HOW DO YOU KEEP THESE SERVICE STANDARDS CONSISTENT?
Being part of Dorchester Collection, which has an extensive programme to develop service excellence, Le Meurice gets involved in every project and has to be competitive. Dorchester Collection has initiated a scorecard that sets clear objectives for each hotel and monitors our results in terms of quality. To ensure consistency at all times, it is necessary to lead a true reflection so the staff can understand the goals and are able to stick to them. Sense of service has to become a reflex.
What sets us apart from the competition is that Dorchester Collection has built a unique programme focusing on quality, which results in concrete objectives we are evaluated on. The level of quality is a goal we have to maintain or improve. This requires much training throughout the collection, some of which is led in English, to facilitate thought and ensure sustainability.
This is a long-term goal, where consistency is most important. I always say that I prefer when we get better, even little by little, than ups and downs like a roller coaster.
WHAT DO YOU THINK GUESTS LOOK FOR IN THEIR STAY, AND HOW DOES LE MEURICE DELIVER THIS?
Guests want to be unique and look for bespoke service. If you want to provide seamless experiences and go beyond their expectations, the first thing is to know why they come to your hotel. It could be for business, a birthday, an anniversary, a honeymoon or a family trip.
The purpose of the trip is key to delivering the best appropriate service. To me, active listening is crucial if you want to get to know your guests, and guest profiles are such a popular source of information.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES YOU FACE AS A GENERAL MANAGER IN THIS INDUSTRY?
We are actually facing a big challenge to find staff in our industry. Many of our people worked late at night or during weekends, and suddenly the pandemic highlighted these aspects of the job. Hospitality never stops when you are open 24/7. If we want to regain good elements and keep our talents, we have to change our own mindset and think about how we can attract them again. We have to rethink the whole scheme so they can have a more balanced life.
WHAT IS IT YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR ROLE?
What I like the most is definitely the diversity of the job! On one day, I can go from a meeting with a lawyer to meeting with an architect, communications agency or journalist to making a speech for a business school on another. When I leave the hotel in the evening, I always have the impression that I have learnt something and met interesting people. I have no routine, which can sometimes put on a certain pressure, but this is what makes me thrive. Above all, I love my people, and the teams are my most important wealth. We develop better energy when we are together, as we complement each other.