Many hotels around the world have the name “Beau-Rivage”, but this hotel has remained independent since its creation and is still a family-owned business. What are the advantages and disadvantages of an independent hotel?
We live in a world today where large hotel brands are taking over and swallowing small and independent hotels but also chain hotels. It has become more and more difficult to operate as a stand-alone hotel. Today chain hotels are very cost driven and the purchasing power of chain hotels is a tremendous advantage. A family hotel can not negotiate a favorable Expedia Commission compared to a chain hotel of 100 hotels. The same applies to the purchase of TVs, computers, Gym equipment etc.
On the other side the greatest advantage of an independent hotel is speed of decision making and moving swiftly forward with projects and approvals. No electronic signatures of various corporate entities around the world are necessary to advance a project. This process in an independent unit can be done within a week when and if an owner wishes to accelerate a project.
As we know chain hotels are extremely structured and driven by policies and procedures. This may take away at times our emotions. The feeling of belonging together in a family business is an invaluable asset and a wonderful experience for its employees.
Are any of the heirs of the hotel founders still actively involved in the operations of the hotel?
The heirs of the founders always have an eye on what is happening at Beau-Rivage Genève and are involved in the strategy and final decision-making of large investments. There is always a member of the Mayer family present in the hotel. Mr. Jacques Mayer and Mr. Alexandre Nickbarte-Mayer have a strong sense of architecture, design and decor, and were fully involved in the 5th and 6th floor suite renovation.
The heirs of the founders of Beau-Rivage Genève are: Mr. Jacques Mayer – President of the Board of Directors (Conseil d’Administration), Mrs Catherine Nickbarte-Mayer (sister of Jacques Mayer) – Administrator of the Board of Directors, Mr. Alexandre Nickbarte-Mayer (son of Catherine, nephew of Jacques) – Delegate Administrator of the Board of Directors.
In the past two years, the hotel has undergone exquisitely luxurious renovations of its rooms and suites including the themed ones. However, the hotel has maintained a subdued and discreet PR plans to communicate this important development. What will be your approach?
During the renovation phase from 2016 to 2018 the hotel has kept a low profile. Moving forward the approach is to make Beau-Rivage Genève more visible in today’s fast moving digital world, where technology and social media have taken over our daily lives. A hotel belongs to the local community and we will reinforce our positioning to open our doors to them.
The hotel boasts a Michelin starred fine dining restaurant which first opened in 1967. Do you have plans to introduce a more informal dining experience?
Beau-Rivage Genève has two very distinct dining options and we are proud to have a Michelin star since many years with our international acclaimed Chef Dominique Gauthier who only recently celebrated his 25th anniversary with our hotel.
The 2 dining experiences complement each other wonderfully, one being a Thai restaurant and the second one being le Chat-Botté, our gastronomic experience.
This summer, there are plans to introduce a more informal dining experience on our beautiful terrace on the 1st floor overlooking Lake Geneva with unobstructed views of the Mont-Blanc. We are working on a new informal concept with a different price point to attract more local Genevans to this unique setting.
To what extent, local patrons are regulars at your F&B outlets? How important are these local patrons for the ‘validation’ of the hotel as a prestigious gathering place?
Local patrons are essential to F&B outlets in any hotel. In my view, great restaurants attract rooms business. We have many regular customers who have developed strong relationships with the restaurant teams and have become true Beau-Rivage Genève ambassadors. We are proud and grateful for our elegant and discreet clientele as well as families that have been coming to Beau-Rivage Genève generation after generation.
Our outside catering service has been used since many years by many local families to give an extra touch in their private homes. This is thanks to Dominique Gauthier’s strong reputation through our Michelin star restaurant, allowing the local community to taste Michelin starred quality food at home.
Weddings seem to be an important event type for the Beau Rivage Genève, however, you have relatively small events spaces?
In Beau-Rivage Genève event spaces, we can host up to 250 guests seated, and we can host cocktail events in the hotel for up to 600 guests. For larger events where our banquets space is not sufficient we offer our external catering service by Chef Dominique Gauthier.
What are the competitive advantages of Beau-Rivage Genève in the city’s highly competitive luxury market?
Beau-Rivage Genève is situated in a prime location with amazing views over the lake, offering service from the heart and fantastic restaurants, including Michelin starred restaurant Le Chat-Botté and gastronomic Thai restaurant Patara. Beau-Rivage Genève is part of Geneva’s DNA – a secret gem for Geneva locals, and known to the local community since generations.
Among the many chain hotels in town we pride ourselves as the only independent family hotel in Geneva, giving our customers a sense of family spirit.
Besides an impeccable product, achieving and maintaining the highest standards of service is essential. What will be your approach to HR?
Since many generations the family has always put the human element first, which is close to my heart. Our job depends above all on human empathy and interactions. In the eyes of our customers, this is where we create the difference. The family has put in place a very approachable and open leadership style allowing the teams to perform at their best levels.
Staff recognition as well as a transparent and visible leadership approach is the future of our industry.
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