Interview : Françoise Houdebine, Vice President Sales & Marketing - Louvre Hotels Group

September 2022

Edith Keller - CEO of Carlin International Group: Hello Françoise Houdebine, you are Vice President Sales & Marketing at Louvre Hotels Group, a major player in the global hotel industry with more than 1,600 hotels in 54 countries and a very complete range of establishments from 1 to 5 stars. Can you explain the main consequences of the pandemic in your world?

Françoise Houdebine - Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Louvre Hotels Group: We've obviously had a difficult time. However, we have been lucky, because our French hotel portfolio is made up mainly of medium-sized, accessible establishments in urban and suburban areas. We have been able to attract a family clientele, for extended weekends or longer stays.

Françoise Houdebine - Vice President Sales & Marketing, Louvre Hotels Group

E.K: And what about business customers?

F.H: With the cancellation of major trade shows and fairs, we have of course experienced a drop in attendance for this target. However, since the last quarter of 2021, we have seen an increase in bookings, particularly in the middle of the week, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

E.K: Which brand best meets today's expectations?

F.H.: Without a doubt, Campanile is the revenge of the motel spirit, which is a fast-growing trend in the United States. We are rediscovering the freedom of use in a facilitating environment. Easy to get to, easy to park, easy to recharge your car with electricity. Even before Covid, Campanile had already made an eco-friendly promise. We had developed a very "green" customer experience, with solar panels and a focus on all our recycling solutions. We also completely redesigned the Campanile room to make it totally adaptable to a family and multi-generational clientele. A cosy and natural atmosphere for maximum efficiency. In addition, most of these hotels have a vegetable garden, and our restaurants are increasingly featuring local products.  

Campanile room redesigned - Louvre Hotels Group

E.K: What were the difficulties to overcome for the Group's restaurants?

F.H: There are many! To help our chefs and kitchen and bar staff meet all these new challenges, we have created the Louvres Group's Culinary University - Chaud Devant - in the heart of Rungis Market.

We train our new recruits, and we allow all our staff to progress through :

  • R.S.E. modules (how to cook locally, maintain an organic vegetable garden, introduce zero waste ...)
  • A better control of costs (raw materials, energy ...)
  • A new concept of service (more advice ...)

The Culinary University "Chaud Devant" - Louvre Hotels Group

E.K: Can you tell me about the HOSHO concept, Porte d'Italie?

F.H: This is a low-cost, new generation hotel concept. In short, a sort of "Spanish inn" where everything is done to facilitate, simplify, and above all, correspond to all approaches, whether they are budgetary, functional, or generational. I can, as in a roommate, share a room but have my own private space thanks to my secure locker. My bed becomes my living and working space. I can rent a room with 8 beds for all my sports friends, or my blended family. Services like laundry are shared.

Hosho Concept - Louvre Hotels Group

E.K: What did you focus on during the pandemic throughout the group?

F.H: First of all, access to information on safety and hygiene. We have also taken care of the flexibility of reservations, payments and cancellations, as well as the physical health of our customers by developing Fit Up offers in our Kyriad hotels, where everyone can work out in their own room, when they want to and at their own pace, thanks to the programs of our coaches and the equipment allocated.

Fit Up Offer - Louvre Hotels Group

E.K: Have you developed any new concepts internationally?

F.H.: In China, we have launched several hotels based on the slow life concept, with all the variations that go with it. These new offers have been very well received by both business and leisure customers.

E.K: Thank you very much Françoise for this exchange, as always you are full of enthusiasm. You maintain your dynamic of innovation, by answering the new expectations of your customers, what a pleasure to collaborate with you!

Edith Keller

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