How is the Mandarin Oriental Paris positioned in Paris’ luxury hotels sector? Which are the competitive advantages of the hotel? What is your comp set?
Mandarin Oriental, Paris is Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group‘s only address in France, in the heart of this fashion capital on rue Saint-Honoré. We like to describe our palace as one of the city’s most vibrant hotels, where contemporary Parisian elegance blends with Oriental refinement.
Mandarin Oriental is renowned for its legendary service. Our team is extraordinary – trained to the highest standards, fresh, cosmopolitan, dynamic and passionate about hospitality. Another fantastic asset for Mandarin Oriental, Paris is its location. We’re immersed in the heart of rue Saint-Honoré – the Capital’s fashion district. And being in le premier arrondissement, the hotel is close to all of Paris’s cultural icons. Moreover, the contemporary Parisian elegance of our design and facilities makes us unique in the city. Our guests feel at home with us because of our relaxed luxury environment.
Another fantastic asset is our stunning, lush interior garden which provides our guests with a sanctuary from the bustling city along with a unique dining environment. We also are thrilled to have the award-winning Chef Thierry Marx overseeing all of our dining including our two Michelin star restaurant, the Sur Mesure, Camélia, L’Honoré, Bar 8 and our Cake Shop. With a focus on wellness and oriental-inspired treatments, our award-winning Spa at Mandarin Oriental is the perfect place to relax. Last but not least, we are very proud of being the only luxury hotel in Paris with the High Quality Environment certification (HQE). Our team currently work hard to eliminate single-use plastic by the end of 2021.
Speaking of competitors, it is difficult to mention one specific hotel as all Palace hotels are unique in their style and the client’s choice may depend on his desires which may be different from one trip to another.
Is Paris’s luxury hotel sector over-saturated or there is also a confusion between far too many ‘’five star’’ hotels and luxury hotels?
I believe that competition is always a positive thing as it strengthens the image of Paris and thus benefits all the city’s luxury hotels. The competition makes the destination even more attractive. Guests choose to stay in a palace as they want to experience all the services a top luxury hotel has to offer.
Paris has always been one of the most desirable tourist destinations in the world, and I am convinced that Mandarin Oriental, Paris will be able to build on its unique strengths to continue to win market share and attract new clients.
To what extent you are targeting non-hotel guests?
With worldwide travel restrictions in place for months, our domestic market has been a primary focus. We have succeeded to attract new guests who, for most of them, used to be loyal clients in our restaurants and spa before the pandemic.
It is of paramount importance to keep communicating to these very important guests.
A great way to target them is our unique global guest recognition programme, Fans of M.O. launched in March 2018.
This programme is available for hotel and non-hotel guests and allow us to proactively engage with them. In April 2021, MO launched Fans of M.O. dining benefits providing exclusive advantages to restaurants clients.
Which of the challenges of the pandemic you see remaining in the short / mid term? What about the opportunities the pandemic has brought?
We have worked hard to keep our team engaged and motivated during the lockdown (for instance with the launch of MyMO mobile App for the employees). However, luxury hotels – and more globally the hotel and restaurant industry – are facing today many challenges in recruitment. Some colleagues decided to follow a different path when the hotel and restaurants reopened. However we are fortunate that the majority of our colleagues were on site with us as we prepared to welcome back our guests, We are confident that MOHG gives our team members many options to grow via training and also within the company thanks to our international hotels opening growth. We see that this is also very attractive to candidates as we continue to recruit and onboard new colleagues.
The pandemic brought great opportunities to luxury hotels as they are now aware that they need to adopt technology solutions to improve service delivery and guest experience. We are working on leveraging existing technology solutions throughout client’s journey and integrating technology solutions to allow clients to have access to “phygital” experiences. A great example is HelloMo, a new communication system which allows guests and the hotel team to be in direct and efficient contact via their mobile phone to help reduce the physical interactions if a guest prefers to do so. Our guests can use this system for everything from checking-in to being updated when the housekeeping team has completed servicing the room.
Hotels will need to re-align client experience with evolving consumer preferences, for example new sustainability experiences. At Mandarin Oriental, Paris, we are launching soon visits of our new herbs garden with a Chef. We have also created a new menu in Camélia, inspired by produce sourced from local suppliers and Parisian markets.
Besides an impeccable product, a consistent high service standard is a must. What is your approach to discovering, nurturing and motivating talent?
I believe in close and regular communication with all the hotel colleagues. I like to say that I am “on the floor” everyday so I know my team very well. Like what we do for our guests, we must personalize our relationships and interactions with our colleagues. I also work on creating “internal events” to generate more opportunities to interact with my teams, for instance regular breakfast with the night team, round table discussions over lunch with team members from various departments . Showing them that they can succeed whatever the situation is a great way to motivate them. We have training programs in place at Mandarin Oriental, Paris to guide our colleagues through their carrier and help them to achieve their goals.
We have successful relationships with hospitality schools in France and Europe, which is a great advantage to discover great talents.
Has the guest profile changed with the pandemic? Do you intended to specifically target different markets?
We have been delighted to see our loyal guests return as soon as the travel restrictions in their country were lifted. We will keep monitoring closely the global travel situation and adapt our Sales & Marketing actions accordingly. We will maintain a focus on the domestic market which has become increasingly important to us.
Do you think luxury consumers have different expectations nowadays? How has the perception of luxury changed, if in any way?
I notice some new trends in luxury consumers behaviour. For instance, they show a stronger concern for sustainability, ask questions about the sourcing of the products at the restaurant and are very keen in knowing more about the sustainable actions in place at Mandarin Oriental, Paris. Guests seek a “luxury my way” service, taking full control of their hotel journey and how they want to interact with the staff…. They seek human and bespoke connections and tend to combine physical and digital experiences during their stay.
Are guests still concerned about the implementation of Covid-19 safety and hygiene measures?
COVID-19 continues to be front of mind for all, and everyone hopes for a swift resolution.
The safety and security of our guests and colleagues is of paramount importance at Mandarin Oriental, Paris.
In response to the current COVID-19 pandemic, Mandarin Oriental implemented an additional ‘We Care’ programme of stringent protocols to further safeguard the comfort, health and safety of guests and employees. The Group’s existing high standards of health and hygiene have been enhanced at every hotel around the world, and each property remains alert to local advice from health experts and government authorities, adapting best practices accordingly. As part of ‘We Care’, Lloyds Register, the internationally recognized independent assessor, audits our Group’s FHLSS standards and has verified the new additional methods in place due to the pandemic.
In every department, there are detailed operating procedures and training programmes in place that are adapted and implemented according to the French Government’s announcements.
What novelties shall be we expecting this year?
The team and I are very excited to now be fully reopened, with the exception of the 2 Michelin Stars restaurant Sur Mesure par Thierry Marx which will reopen on September 1st.
The Spa just launched a collaboration with the brand HydraFacial (the ultimate, non-invasive treatment for skin to provide deep, lasting hydration).
These treatments cannot be found in other Parisian hotel spas.
Belvedere Vodka Pop-up Terrace: we have unveiled a new Belvedere Vodka terrace pops up at Bar 8 for the summer. This is the best spot to enjoy original signature cocktails alongside special tapas by Chef Thierry Marx.
Camélia by Thierry Marx : Camélia reopened on 9 June with Chef Thierry Marx’s new menu inspired by Parisian food markets and showcasing ingredients from local producers and our own new herbs garden.
The Festive Season is one of the highlights of the year for Mandarin Oriental, Paris and we will offer a unique winter terrasse, a Christmas shopping pop up store and special happenings for our guests.
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