In 2010, Elsa Morichau-Beauchant started working with the La Villa Madame Hotel team in the Parisian Latin Quarter, that had opened two years before. A new hotel, which, at that time, did not have enough visibility for its potential customers. Elsa took advantage of her internship to outline the job she herself created and still holds today: Sales and Marketing Manager.
Hello Elsa, can you please tell us more about the promotion and communication strategies you put in place for La Villa Madame?
For a hotel that only has 28 rooms, like La Villa Madame, the biggest sales challenge is not to be completely eaten up by distribution sites that take a 12 to 25% commission.
So your strategy has to take this into account by paying special attention to customer loyalty. There are many supports and e-reputation digital strategies that you can use. That means that I’m working hard on developing our online reputation:
- managing traveler's comments on sites like TripAdvisor,
- posting content on social utilities and networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google Ad,
- managing AdWords advertising campaigns,
- redesigning our Internet site (for next February).
The second part of my jobs consists in drawing up our night-room strategy and communication to our target guests: creating of a pre-stay and post-stay marketing email. I work with a Yield Manager who updates all our prices on a daily basis. Like most hotels in Paris, we have to anticipate low season months like January/February and August and try to optimize our RevPar.*
And of course, for an independent hotel, being well-known is a huge challenge. So one of my missions is to increase this:
- on one hand, with our international targets using Public Relations with journalists, bloggers or partnerships with foreign distribution agents,
- and on the other hand, on our Parisian customers using Public Relations.
To conclude, my job is really diversified and allows me to have a true global overview of what a hotel product is made up of.
Can you give us some information about La Villa Madame?
La Villa Madame is a four-star family-owned hotel. Medias would classify it as a boutique hotel. This 28 room hotel, which is about the average in Paris, mirrors the district where it is located: our guests appreciate the French and Parisian way of life, its elegance, what goes on in the Latin Quarter, the culture, fashion and refined decoration.
La Villa Madame is a confidential venue. On the facade, there is nothing that says it’s a hotel. An intimate venue meaning that we welcome our guests and know how they want to be treated, without ostentation. Just like our closely-knit team of 13, some of whom have worked here for 25 years! And if you’d like an anecdote: Maria, who’s in charge of breakfasts, remembers year after year what our guests enjoyed for breakfast! Our service is really tailor-made.
An independent hotel offer that is still the majority in Paris, and which, in my opinion, responds to something that both French and international customers are looking for.
What are you short, mid and long-term projects?
La Villa Madame is almost a mature hotel now, but I’m not going to leave it before it is completely so. I’d like to learn more about issues concerning only hotel management, and in the mid-term, apply for a job as the General Manager in a small hotel or in the Sales and Marketing department for a group of independent hotels! We’ll see what the future holds!
You seem to be confident for the future of independent hotels, don’t you?
The hospitality sector is still thriving and still has new and exciting challenges, in particular in Marketing. Distribution wars, the boom in social networking sites and this new way of public consumption, multi-concepts, etc. It’s true that the world of independent hotels and that of large international chains or palaces is really different. I’m the spokesperson promoting independent hotels, and I find out new things every day in my job!
What made you want to attend Vatel after having studied philosophy and literature?
The School’s reputation of course, but also its curriculum: the right balance between theory and practical application. I was also attracted by the different profiles students who did the Foundation Year had, as Vatel allows students like me, with a Bachelor’s degree in other fields to enroll. We had a whole melting pot of students in my class: finance, literature, sales, languages, etc.
* RevPar (Revenue per available room): a performance metric obtained by multiplying a hotel's average daily room rate by its occupancy percentage. A key ratio in the hospitality sector, the RevPar reflects the hotel’s performance both in terms of guest room revenue and average room sales.