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The luxury Interview of...

Vincent BILLIARD
General Manager - Hotel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel

Luxury hotels promote France’s image

General Manager of Hotel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel since the beginning of the year, Vincent Billiard has evolved for 13 years within the Ritz-Carlton group. From New York to the Cayman Islands, via Japan (Tokyo) and China (Tianjin), he held strategic positions (Hotel Manager, General Manager) before joining, in 2016, the Bulgari group for the opening of the first Bulgari Hotel & Residences in Shanghai. At the end of 2019, he left his post as Managing Director of the St. Regis Hotel in Singapore to join the Palace of the Place de la Concorde in Paris.

A Palace that requested the expertise of Bureau d’Image to provide grooming and grooming management training to Food & Beverage teams. Tailor-made modules, in accordance with Crillon standards, so that each employee can embody service excellence with a flawless attitude and image.


Bureau d’Image: How would you define luxury?
Vincent Billiard:
Luxury is founded on a savoir-faire that offers a unique product, service, or experience. For me, “luxury” is synonymous with:
- Rarity: when we think of a luxury good, we think of something exceptional, almost inaccessible;
- Authenticity: a luxury product is remarkable for its originality or its relationship to its reality, culture, and truth;
- Exclusivity: luxury hinges on quality and the ability to offer personalised services and experiences;
- Experiences: luxury creates unique moments and memories and stirs up emotions;
- Time management: our services allow us to better address the needs and desires of our customers given that time is a luxury nowadays.

BI: Is there such a thing as French luxury, and what would that look like?
VB:
Luxury hotels promote France’s image and appeal to many customers looking for experiences founded on excellence. I believe that the characteristics of “French luxury” are:
- Artisanal savoir-faire;
- A tradition of excellence and attention to detail;
- Elegance and refinement;
- Heritage, culture.

BI: What major changes in the luxury hotel industry have you noticed in the past few decades?
VB:
Changes in the luxury market have led to new customer categories. Today’s customers want an emotion-rich experience thanks to original and creative services offered by flawless professional staff. Rapid access to information and new technologies has strongly influenced changes to the services we have offered in the past few decades. Now the priority is to personalise customer experiences and offer exclusive services. I’ve also noticed that the luxury clientele is getting younger and challenging traditional codes. The new luxury trend is more lifestyle-focused. The luxury hotel industry is also trying to forge closer connections to its guests, get to know them better, create links, and build relationships.

BI: How do the Palaces stand out?
VB:
The palaces stand out from their competitors mainly via:
- Their history, the site’s very DNA, and the values conveyed by the hotel. For example, Hôtel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel offers a careful balance between transformation and conservation. Inspired by the glorious history of the monument, the hotel underwent a significant modernisation that involved contemporary architects and interior designers.
- Their culture: each Rosewood Hotel adopts the “A Sense of Place” philosophy that reflects the history, culture, and originality of each site, each hotel, to highlight its uniqueness.
- Attention to detail and excellent service.
- Exclusive services: for example, Hôtel de Crillon has a complete butler service that is accessible to all our guests, whether they are in one of our suites or rooms. The Rose Buds® programme also offers a service that is adapted to children.

BI: What kind of leader are you? What principle(s) guide(s) your professional life?
VB:
I am passionate and determined. I have a competitive spirit and I like taking on challenges. I want to be a leader who is accessible, close to my staff, honest, and empathetic. I always prioritise communication and I try to remain available to everyone.

BI: What is required to manage a luxury hotel?
VB:
Running a luxury hotel like Hôtel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel requires passion and integrity above all. Other essential qualities include rigour and attention to detail, patience, clear-sightedness, hospitality, and generosity, with a constant desire to please and welcome our guests in the best possible conditions. You must also be honest, remain true to yourself, and keep the well-being of your employees in mind.

BI: What is the main quality you expect from your employees?
VB:
I expect my employees to be proactive, to help and support each other, to remain humble, accessible, and always committed to communication. I also want them to be creative and innovative in their daily work. Lastly, all our employees need to be honest and loyal to the hotel and the Rosewood Hotels & Resorts group.

BI: What mistakes do you forgive most easily?
VB:
I forgive missteps due to inexperience because I think we can always learn from our mistakes. I’m also easy on employees who make a mistake because they wanted to make someone happy.

BI: How critical is it to train your staff to provide excellent service?
VB:
It’s critical to train our staff to provide excellent service because there is so much competition we must ensure we meet all of our customers’ expectations and do not disappoint. And with the development of social media, our services, including our mistakes, can quickly be publicised and shared on various platforms.

BI: Even as Managing Director, can you still learn a little more every day about the luxury industry, its codes, and the multiple ways to embody it?
VB:
Yes, of course. I keep learning every day about trends in the luxury industry and our customers’ expectations. We face a range of different situations every day, with varying degrees of complexity. We must also learn to adapt to different expectations to better understand and meet our customers’ needs.

BI: What advice would you give to young professionals?
VB:
My advice would be to have a vision, to go beyond your comfort zone, to keep trying to learn more, and be as curious as possible. Don’t settle into a routine, always have an impeccable attitude, and treat everyone equally.

BI: What would you recommend for men: a neat beard or a close shave?
VB:
It doesn’t matter, as long as you remain yourself.

BI: For women: are you for or against red nail polish?
VB:
For red nail polish, the most important thing is to be yourself.

BI: If the luxury hotel industry were a colour, what would it be?
VB:
It would be the colour white, because it represents simplicity, elegance, and offers freedom for creativity and interpretation.

BI: An adjective?
VB:
Passionate.

BI: An emotion?
VB:
Enthusiasm.

BI: An object ?
VB:
A “key” because it allows us to literally open doors (of the hotel, rooms), but also in the figurative sense to resolve problems, etc.

BI: A motto?
VB:
“When your values are clear, your decisions are easy to make”.

BI: A virtue?
VB:
Honesty.