Emmanuel Sauvage is a businessman of many hats. CEO of the Evok Collection group, which he co-founded in 2014, he was recently appointed head of the Prestige Tourisme et Promotion technical commission of the GHR (Groupement des Hôtellerie et Restauration de France).
He is also vice-president of the Office de tourisme de Paris. He talks to Luxus Plus about his missions and the future of the luxury hotel industry.
Claire Domergue: Can you tell us about your role as head of the Prestige Tourisme et Promotion technical commission of the GHR (Groupement des Hôtellerie et Restauration de France)?
Emmanuel Sauvage: It’s new for me too, so I’m discovering a bit! The GHR is a new organization that brings together the GNI (Groupement National des Indépendants Hôtellerie & Restauration), the SNRTC (Syndicat National de la Restauration Thématique et Commerciale) and the SNRPO (Syndicat National de la Restauration Publique Organisée). These last two professional organizations are mainly active in the foodservice sector. GNI Paris will soon be transformed into GHR Paris Île-de-France, at a forthcoming general meeting. This will mark a transition towards greater coordination of professional organizations.
For my part, I’m aiming to federate tourism players who are members of the GHR, but also outside it, in the luxury goods or distribution sectors. I’m thinking of bringing in people from outside the hotel and restaurant industry, to open up and see how we perceive the luxury of tomorrow. Let’s not forget that the fashion industry boosts tourism in France. The aim of the Prestige Technical Committee is to meet regularly and discuss the future of tourism. For example, how to integrate responsibility and the environment into tourism without impacting destination France, or how to promote a different kind of tourism. We’ll also be liaising with the Ministry of Tourism to discuss policies for this sector in France. I’d also like to include people from the regions, so that the team is fairly eclectic and has different profiles.
What are your major projects for this Commission?
Emmanuel Sauvage: The idea is to promote tourism and work on the tourism of today and tomorrow by bringing together all the professionals, including those involved in luxury and gastronomy, to move in the same direction. For me, what’s important is to live with the future and not rest on our laurels. The other crucial point is to have discussions with each other that open our minds.
What is the strength of the French hotel market?
Emmanuel Sauvage: The hotel market is highly diversified, both in Paris and across France: large chains, but also independent profiles and investors who have helped transform the hotel industry. Thanks to them, we now have more variety and more investment in the independent hotel sector. There are also many small groups in France who buy a first establishment, then another and so on. They have helped to raise the standard of the hotel industry in recent years. There are also new players, who were not part of this sector, and who have decided to diversify their assets. And this has completely changed the situation, whether in Paris or in the provinces. I think all these new players are investing a lot. And it’s not about financial resources. It’s about going the extra mile, paying attention to detail, coming up with ideas and bringing life to their establishments. For me, it’s a real pleasure, because emotion is important in the hotel business. Our mission is just to make people happy.
What makes the Evok Group so successful and special?
Emmanuel Sauvage: Evok Collection brings together different brands. For me, it’s very important to adapt to each of our customers. We strive to meet the expectations, tastes and desires of our customers, who tend to be very high-end with their own specific expectations. And thanks to its different brands, Evok caters for all types of luxury hotel customer: classic, less classic, discreet, expansive. We have a specific target for each of our addresses. Depending on the day and the mood, the customer’s characteristics change; they never fit into one mold. Depending on the moment, they can move from one category to another. And it’s the same for fashion. We’re no longer in a straitjacket or a fixed attitude. Today, the Evok group offers a real diversity of locations and hotels, making it easy to move from one to another. On the other hand, you also need to have a strong guideline within each hotel, with a very strong identity.
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Where do your customers come from?
Emmanuel Sauvage: 25% of our customers come from the United States, 25% from France, 25% from Europe and the rest from the Middle East. However, our hotel and restaurant customers have different profiles, the former being more traditional. Each establishment has its own customer typology, with a very important mix of nationalities. We work very regularly on the origin of this flow, so as not to depend on one market or another.
How do you feel about the arrival of the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris?
Emmanuel Sauvage: I’m delighted that Paris has won the 2024 Olympics. The tourism commission is preparing for it, even if it’s still very abstract. What I’d like is for Paris to be a party, for Paris to be positively highlighted. But I’m a bit worried, because it depends on a lot of factors, and there’s even a slight problem of governance. It’s also still very vague in terms of communication. I’m in two minds about it. There’s both concern and joy, because there’s nothing more beautiful than seeing the Olympic Games in the center of Paris. In terms of occupancy, I don’t know what to say yet. There’s a mix: we’re going to lose some customers, and others will come back. For the moment, it’s difficult to know in advance. It’s going to come down to the long term. But all the same, I think it’s a fantastic opportunity to showcase our beautiful heritage. We must all be positive and move forward to make these games a great success for everyone!
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