Many Palace ranked hotels in Paris re-opened late and even remained closed for a long time. How important is timing when it comes to re-opening?
Throughout this pandemic so far all of the Dorchester Collection hotels, including the two in Paris, remained open in order to accommodate long-stay guests and conditions set by local governments whilst complying with safety guidelines.
We are delighted that the French government recently lifted the travel restrictions for international travellers visiting France with the reopening of cafés and restaurants, as well as fairs, exhibitions, sports and cultural venues.
What has been your approach to staying in touch with guests during the closure of the hotel?
All our managers are individually responsible for maintaining contact throughout the year with the guests they are best acquainted with, in order to build meaningful relationships. We celebrate with our guests their birthdays, seasonal events and national days, and communicate with them on news that is relevant to them.
Some hotels were posting more content on social media for ‘fear of not being forgotten’?
Social media has played an integral role in how we keep in touch with our guests as it reminded our guests of what many were missing including our employees. We are delighted that a third of our employees have been with Dorchester Collection for over 25 years, so familiar faces will be greeting our guests when they return.
How important is transparency when it comes to reopening? Because of limited demand some hotels still apply the same rate but propose smaller dining menus?
Terraces have only recently been allowed to reopen but we maintained our usual room service dining menu throughout the pandemic.
Have you felt that in a way you had to regain the trust of your guests?
The regular communication with our guests with many handwritten notes and personal calls during the pandemic kept the relationships alive and open.
Trust is such a fundamental part of our business and having the same people in place at our hotels continues this long-term transparency and trust. We are truly fortunate to have one of the lowest turnover rates in hospitality at Dorchester Collection.
All surveys and research are showing that wealthy travellers in particular are concerned that because of the huge financial constraints during pandemic, service will now be negatively impacted ?
We protected all jobs at Dorchester Collection during the pandemic and training continued. Investment in our people is an essential part of our ‘We Care’ company culture.
How important is it that Covid safety and hygiene measures remain firmly implemented and ideally in an effortless way, so guests do not feel it
Every Dorchester Collection hotel follows safety measures as directed by local governments, the WHO and our company protocols. This is especially important not just for our guests, but for our employees. We wanted our service to remain seamless and engaging at all times whilst putting safety and health at the heart of our operation.
Which challenges do you envisage for the rest of the year? What about opportunities?
The main challenge is the reopening of borders throughout the world. There are plenty of opportunities in creating new meaningful experiences in the hotel destinations, especially for us as our hotels have helped to shape the history of their respective locations. Each with a unique story to tell, they represent their cities’ past and present. Our brand represents not just a collection of hotels, but a family of legends, steeped and ingrained in cultural history from London to Beverly Hills, from Paris to Rome.
Which are the most common mistakes luxury hoteliers do presently?
The most important focus should be guest centricity and acting with agility and flexibility given the ongoing changes due to the pandemic.
Are you targeting a wider consumer base? How have you adapted your sales strategy?
As we kept all of our loyal employees despite the pandemic, we are able to continue delivering all of our services to our loyal guests. We are maintaining rates even as borders remain closed.
What novelties shall we be expecting at Hôtel Plaza Athénée?
With the departure of Chef Alain Ducasse from the Plaza Athénée, a new exciting food & beverage offer is being created, which we will be able to share very soon.
Dorchester Collection owns and operates nine luxury hotels The Dorchester, London; The Beverly Hills Hotel, Beverly Hills; Le Meurice, Paris; Hôtel Plaza Athénée, Paris; Hotel Principe di Savoia, Milan; Hotel Bel-Air, Los Angeles; Coworth Park, Ascot, UK; 45 Park Lane, London and Hotel Eden, Rome. The company also manages The Mayfair Park Residences in London
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