HOTELS THAT MAKE EUROPEAN CLIENTS FEEL AT HOME

Spotlight on the French guest: the dos and don’ts according to an industry expert

Welcoming guests from France around the world takes more than a little “je ne sais quoi” if you really want to shine. French-born Franck Savoy is operations director of Santa Monica’s famed Casa Del Mar, member of Leading Hotels of the World and gives us the following interesting pointers.

The French clientele is far from Europe, so it’s important to make them feel at home. There are not only language barriers but there’s also a different culture to respect, right down to the little things, such as the morning routines, or the way to talk to them, but also the suggestion of any attractions around the hotel. This clientele wants us to speak their language. So it is very important to have employees speaking different languages. It is very common that if guests don’t speak English that the front of ce agent will call me (if guests are French) to talk to them about the hotel, the city or some “cool” or different attractions. In this case, the client is put at his or her ease. Here, for example, I would never send a French couple to a French restaurant for instance but would ask them what they really want to experience and send them to a restaurant with amazing food and decor related to this country.

IN RECENT TIMES, WE HAVE BEEN WORKING ON CREATING A DIGITAL ROOM SERVICE MENU WHERE GUESTS CAN PLACE THE ORDER DIRECTLY IN THEIR OWN LANGUAGE

I am very happy that we have implemented digital newspapers and magazines at my hotel. Guests can nd thousands of different titles for free from all over the world. The European clientele loves it. The TV is also a very important tool to make them feel comfortable, by including TV5 – the French language channel. In recent times, we have been working on creating a digital room service menu where guests can place the order directly in their own language.

French guests do not want to be treated like tourists. They are very outgoing and have particular needs. For instance, in Food and Beverage, they need to recognise products. Therefore, you need to cater to: great croissants, a few French wines but you also need to provide an exceptional espresso: le “jus de chaussette” (eds: sock juice) coffee of the USA is something they detest.

But the most important thing in order to take care of those customers is always checking on them during their stay and who knows, becoming friends. As I always say: if you take care of your guests and provide for their needs, then your business will grow.