A: So Manuel, tell me about your career in hospitality and why you have chosen exactly this field?
M: I’m originally from France, a small town close to Nice on the French Riviera. I have studied hospitality management in Nîmes at the Vatel Institute. I graduated in 2006 with my master I decided to travel and was part of the opening team at the St Regis Resort in Bora Bora. Since the beginning of my career I always held f&b managerial positions in the different 5*• stars hotels, fine dining restaurant or iconic establishments I worked for in San Francisco, Hawaii or New-York where I spent the majority of my career working for The Palace hotel, Mandarin Oriental, David Bouley or the Rainbow Room. I have choosen this field because I have this passion for hospitality, my goal is to deliver exceptional service and create indelible memories for my guests. I have been fortunate enough to work for and with professional who communicated me their knowledges and their “savoir faire and savoir etre” as we say in French and this heritage is the most valuable skill I have.
A: As F&B Director of such a historical hotel as Negresco you must definitely have a specific work routine making sure that everything runs smooth. Describe your normal day at work, please.
M: After several years working in the US I returned home and joined this historical property in Nice. At the Negresco I run the food and beverage department which consists of several f&b outlets. I don’t necessarily have a routine because my days are always different and this is what makes my job so fabulous. I focus on growing my team knowledges and passion for hospitality. As their director I’m very involved in the day to day operation and ensure our department remains performant and profitable. For that I keep looking for new concepts and ideas as our work environment keeps changing and evolving daily. It is fundamental for me to be aware of what are the new trends and what are our guests expectations in order to provide them with what they want and needs when they decide to choose our property for their business or leisure.
A: Considering the current situation and the sector we are both working in, I have to ask you this question. How do you think tourism will change after we finish the quarantine?
M: The actual crisis we are going through is one of a kind and we have to completely rethink our way to deliver hospitality in our establishments. At this point our economy and business model must change regarding cleanliness standards and hospitality norms. We must adopt new behaviors to meet the new health and safety challenges presented by the current pandemic environment. We want our guests to know that we are doing everything we can to welcome them back to a safe and clean hotel environment when they start traveling again. To conclude I foresee travelers will be wary of public transportation and plane travel, choosing to drive via their own cars to explore nearby destinations.
I also predict there will be a larger emphasis on outdoor, open-air attractions and destinations as social distancing phases out slowly. It is evident that the trend that has already started for travelling in rural and out of the path destinations in smaller scale lodging like boutique hotels or individual type of accommodations will grow tremendously and will become a much bigger actor in the tourism industry.