The Future Of Augmented Hospitality - Damien Perrot - Defining Hospitality - Episode # 137

Dan Ryan: Today's guest is someone who believes that hotels are more than just a place to sleep and eat. He designs to challenge the status quo while creating modern, vibrant spaces. As a designer, he seamlessly blends guest experience with investor needs. He's the global chief design, technical services, and innovation officer for premium, mid scale, and economy brands at a core.

Ladies and gentlemen, Damien Perreault. Welcome, Damien.

Damien Perrot: Well, thank you for having me. I'm so happy being with you. I'm always impressed with your, with your voice. I mean, I'm like talking to, to, to, to,

a real American crooner. I'm super impressed.

Dan Ryan: wonderful. Maybe we can do some voice coaching skills and I'm happy to teach and,

Damien Perrot: I'd love to do that.

Dan Ryan: give you my nice baritone after a, uh, a nice holiday party voice. It's

Damien Perrot: I think to, to, to get your voice, I need to probably go out, uh, drink a lot, smoke a lot, and maybe the day after I could, I could sound a bit the same.

Dan Ryan: Although smoking is not good for your health. I

Damien Perrot: It's not good. It's not good. And drinking as well.

Dan Ryan: well, drinking is fun, but we can talk about that later. Um, so I first met you up on the roof of the New Museums, for those of you who don't know, um, at the Radical Innovation event. And I was very excited to meet you because from my, in my worldview, I know a lot of people at the other big brands.

So Marriott, Hilton, IHG, but I was very excited to meet you because I actually on in my life and also on this podcast, I haven't actually had the opportunity to hear what a core And what your plans are. And I know you've been on such an amazing, um, growth trajectory, which we did speak about, and I'm just super excited to have you here so you can share your experience and your vision with our listeners.

Um, as you guys continue to grow at a very steep pace. So I just want to first thank you. Uh, it's so nice to get to know you and for you to be open to this. So thank you. thank you. Thank you.

Damien Perrot: Oh, Thank you.

Dan Ryan: Um, before we get into it. As this is called Defining Hospitality, I would just love to hear what your ideas of hospitality are and Like, what does hospitality mean to you?

And like, why are you in this world?

Damien Perrot: I'm in this world?

because hospitality, first of all, it's about people. It's about connecting with people, be it to work, to enjoy, or whatever. I always, you know, fall in love all the time with all the people I meet. And, uh, and, and it's, it's very important to me, you know, surprising, to, to be surprised, to, to leave something, uh, and, um, and, and, and that's very key.

And so hospitality, it's, it's all about that. It's all about really. Uh, uh, welcoming people who are not yet your friends, but, but, but could become your friends maybe just for a night, just for a day, just for a couple of hours. But that's all about that.

Dan Ryan: I completely agree with you. It's really about the people. And in my life, I just get so much energy from people. And one of the interesting things that I've noticed with Accor is you've had all of these brands kind of, let's call them legacy brands. Um, That have put you on the map and made you who you are, but you've also been pursuing this really interesting acquisition strategy.

And I remember speaking with you up on the roof of the new museum, asking from these acquisitions, because you're looking at all these different companies that are much smaller, which ones. Have you learned the most from and how has it helped kind of change your path towards designing and delivering hospitality to those people that we all know and love?

Damien Perrot: So, you know, acquisition, it's, uh, it's something very key when you would like to grow and when you would like to learn from others. And I think that, that, that's what's make, um, uh, the, the, the richness of, uh, of everything it's about learning, learning and how you can learn from it and evolve and, and, and, and propose something different.

So one of the acquisition that, uh, we've made, and, uh, it's one of the, let's say the first important acquisition to me, it was Mama Shelter. Uh, Mama Shelter, it was only one hotel in Paris. Uh, and I was so impressed, uh, the way they have created that new property. You know, they have, they've developed a hotel in a place where nobody wants to develop hospitality.

It was in the north of Paris. Nobody goes there. It's not, um, really a place for, for tourism as well. And, um, but they create a destination. And they really rethink the hospitality completely. Taking into consideration the way people want to experience hospitality. They are creating a hotel dedicated not for the travelers, but for the people who live around the hotel.

People who live in Paris, they want to propose something different. What we, what they were saying, the saying, the founders is that it's not an hotel, it's a restaurant with room on top of it. And that's make the big difference. So finally, the entire focus is on how to make this place. A place to live, to experience, and to attract people living around.

And this is really magic. And they've done it with an excellent designer called Philip Starck. I think he's well known everywhere. And Philip Starck was a co founder at the time when they created the first one. And you know, Philip has got that

eyes on the evolution of the society. He's got that strong vision. And, and he likes to bring a lot of fun into the design. You know, most of the time, Intel design, it's super serious. And he brings that, that type of, uh, fun, uh, into, into the design in order to create something different. And so, um, I've, I've learned a lot, uh, and, and this inspired me a lot.

And, um, and so having. That new brand, that acquisition, help us to learn faster and being able to understand, okay, how can we, how can we use a bit of what they've done here in all the brands that we, that we have today. And

Dan Ryan: that's really interesting because if I go back to like Philippe's, at least from my experience in the United States, birthing hotels, so to speak, he would always create I don't know if it was he or the developers. It was like, we want to do this great nightclub, great bar, but it was also in a great location, right?

So it was on the Sunset Strip or down in South Beach or, you know, somewhere out in San Francisco. Like there were all these marquee, really great places that were really cool places. So it's interesting to hear how the evolution to go to a place that might be off the beaten path and then really create a place where, again, he's leading with like the F& B part of it.

Maybe the B, maybe the F. I don't know which one because I haven't been there. I'd like to go at some point, but, um, it's interesting to hear that. It also reminds me of how smaller, more boutique or independent hotels, if they really commit to the F and B, it can really drive what's going on upstairs. And the rooms are almost secondary, but there's a, there's a property out in Denver.

I think it was called the Ramble and they put this great bar that you actually had to walk through to check in. And they were challenging rates of the four seasons in Denver as well for a little hundred room property. But they really committed to it. And I think that's actually an interesting conversation because if you talk to some general managers at many hotels, not all, they said, if you want to make a hotel more profitable, get rid of the F& B and just focus on, on the rooms.

How do you kind of square that circle? So to speak, as far as finding that balance between what you're offering F& B, because that can really be accretive and add to the overall value and experience of the hotel.

Damien Perrot: it's more than F& B, uh, it's, it's, it's F& B and E, uh, meaning food, beverage, and events. Meaning, what do you put on top of what you drink and what you eat? to create something memorable, to create the experience. You know, sometimes it's not the best food, but the ambiance, the stuff around it, that creates what makes it different.

And that's, that's also very key. And that's what needs to be, to be, to be really considered. If I take another example of another brand that, that, that we have, it's Faina. And Faina, I'm sure you know Faina. Faina in Miami, they create. a destination in Miami and finally where they've developed that property become a very good property.

And that's the first plot. And I'm saying that it is not finally something new because if you take Fairmont, Which is another acquisition that we did, but Fairmont, when they start with the first Fairmont, uh, uh, or the one in, in, in Toronto, they create the destination as well. So that's also, finally, the, the rule of what the hotel or the hospitality need to play, uh, uh, in, in today's world.

It's not only Uh, as we said in development, location, location, location, location is key, true. But sometimes there is an opportunity to create a new location. And that's where, when you have that, that philosophy and we have, when you have good developer, that creates really, uh, the difference. You know what I love in, with, with American people most of the time is You are daring, you are, you know, in, in France, in Europe, most of the time, when you, when you try to innovate and you look to finance your innovation, they're, they're asking you, okay, could you prove that it's going to work?

And you say, but it's new. I mean, I have no data to prove that it's going to work, but, but I strongly believe that it's going to work because ABC, and that's super difficult when you go to America. And, and, and that's the way you, you, you think and the way you behave, you say, okay, I've got that innovation because ABC, I do not have true fact to tell you that is going to work.

But, and then you, and then they will invest, they will invest because they knows that when you are daring. It's where you take risks, but when you take risks, it's when you're going to make a real performance and real profitability. The other things that I'm jumping on what you are, you are saying, which is very important about FNB is that when you travel.

You want to, to experience, uh, where you, where you go a bit for business or, or, or leisure or whatever. But when I'm going in New York, do I want to be in a hotel with lots of French people? No. I want to live the, the New York City life will, I found it through interior design with a, a strong local inspiration.

Maybe, not sure, it could be very gimmickal. I will live the American experience in New York if I'm with you in, in the restaurant. If I go in the bar and there is lots of New Yorkers there enjoying, having, having fun. And then I, I feel living, living my American dream, you know, of the American life during those two or three days.

And that's very important. So finally, when you design a hotel, And you create a destination for locals. Finally, you create that connection. You create also that, uh, what people are looking for, leaving the experience where you are going. When you go in, in China, do you want to go in a Chinese restaurant with lots of French people?

It's not a Chinese restaurant. That's people, that's a restaurant for tourists. If you go to the Chinese restaurant with only Chinese people and you are the only American or French guy in the middle of You are living the Chinese, and you are living the experience. And that's, that's, that's super key. So finally, this works for guest experience.

This attracts locals, so it works also very well. And, and it's also very performant for, for, for the hotel owners. So, so everyone are happy with that type of, um, of approach.

Dan Ryan: As you were speaking and talking about the ability or the affinity of Americans to take risk, um, I was brought back to, I studied literature from, I guess it was like American literature, 1860 to 1920, and Tocqueville, who was like this famous French writer, historian, experiencer of cultures, he would, he, and I guess in the mid 19th century would write about American sensibility and this taking risk and what democracy is and blah, blah, blah.

But it was so cool to see or hear that appreciation from someone who is French coming out here, almost like landing on a moon and experiencing, experiencing and seeing the good and the bad. But, um, it's just nice to get fresh eyes on it. So thank you for helping me transport back to my college. So from a, from an innovation perspective, and also going back to your idea of, of people being around people, connecting with people, what innovations are you guys at a core pushing forward right now for our industry that much in the same way that others.

Kind of help you compete for ideas. How are you, how is your innovation driving a new path within our industry as well?

Damien Perrot: well?

that's a, that's a, that's a very interesting question and, and, and, and I think we can discuss during hours about, uh, about that first, first of all, um, there is. different way of, uh, of describing what is innovation. You know, there is, um, innovation for me, there is two different directions. There is one, how you can innovate in your core business in order to make it more attractive, in order to make it more performance, uh, globally.

So that's, that's one thing. And this part, I call it more inovolution. It's more an evolution of an existing business model. And that's a, that's a very important, uh, important need. And so we are using a lot innovation in order being able to do that, but it's not inventing something completely new. It's, it's really plugging little innovation that make really the difference.

You know, when you are saying to an atelier. Okay, your role is to welcome guests in order them being able to sleep. Okay, that's, that's the core business of the hospitality. But now, we are saying you need to animate the, the, the, the, your hotel. You need to animate the people, you need to welcome the local people.

They won't sleep into your hotel. But you need to make that place welcoming. At night for party, uh, during the day to work, etc, etc. For many people, okay, you know how to welcome people to sleep. So it's still welcome people to eat, to enjoy, to work. It's the same thing. It is the same thing, but not really the same thing.

You need to bring lots of innovation in order to be able to do that. You need to use technology. You need to, you need to train those people. You know, I remember when I, I've changed the design strategy of IBIS, which is one of the legacy brands. I've completely changed the design of the public spaces, but not, not only the decor, the style or whatever, but really the way you organize the space.

And when I, I, I did the first, the first, uh, hotel in, it was in Barcelona and, uh, I came into the hotel and, and, and, and nothing was there. The design was there, but the experience was not there. And I talked to the GM and I said, why you do not put the music on, why you do not dim the lights, why, et cetera, et cetera.

And he said, but I understand why you want to achieve Damien, but I don't know how to do it.

Dan Ryan: Yeah,

Damien Perrot: I don't know how to do it. You know, it's a skill set. It's, it's, it's, it's, it's, it's a new way of, it's a new approach. And so we need to bring innovation into the, being able to, to, to, to work into the direction. And that's very, very, very important.

Dan Ryan: but I also appreciate that general manager's vulnerability to say, I don't know how, like teach me, but that's, that's an openness and a curiosity to go on that idea of in evolution, cause it's not just the spaces and the structure it's once you start doing that and looking at just to throw back what I heard you say earlier, that F, B, and E.

You have to be able to coach, train, inspire, and open up people's minds to how to live in that ease. So that's on the, on the in, on the evolution side. And what was the other side?

Damien Perrot: the other side?

is, is more of what I call the, the, the descriptive innovation, meaning innovate. in the hospitality space, or we call it augmented hospitality. So not only what's happened inside your four, the four walls of the hotel, but outside of the four walls of the hotel. And that's where innovation is also very key.

Because if I take the example, if you are coming in New York or Paris or whatever, And your experience between the arrival at the airport to the hotel is terrible. Then I'm starting having you coming in my hotel with bad mood and that's not good. I want you to come and feel already happy. So for me, the travel experience is also very key.

I want to remove all the pain points that the guests have and in order to better do my job. You know, and so that's, that's another, that's another way also to address other topics that we need to address, uh, and face all The challenges that we need to face. I'm talking about sustainability, for example.

How can I innovate in order to, to, to, to, to achieve the ambition that we have in terms of sustainability? Um, how can I innovate? In order to, to attract, uh, the people, uh, I need to work in my hotels. And that's, that's what I call the, the, the future of work. You know, hospitality, it's a, it's a very old, uh, uh, type of business.


Dan Ryan: The oldest you could say,

Damien Perrot: we are one of the oldest. So the, the, the management structure of a hotel exists for centuries. We need to change that. You know, if I take the example, I have a young guy, super talented guy, always smiling. He knows how to energize the space. He knows how to welcome people. He's a good guy. I want him to work in my hotel, but, uh, but, uh, I need to make sure that, uh, he's proud of the hotel he's working on.

That's first. Then after, maybe the guy is mad with, with key. you know, he loves to ski. So, okay. And what if I propose him to work for me

uh, five months in the Alps and during summer, he will go to, to, to Chile, uh, to work or so in another hotel and

Dan Ryan: you can hire me

Damien Perrot: but, and I need you.

Dan Ryan: right here. Let's go skiing all year. That's a dream.

Damien Perrot: that's, that's, that's not an easy thing to do, but that's where we need also to bring, to bring innovation.

Because you know, people, it's not, um, there are not only a track to make more money, there are tracks that you could make their life, their dream life, uh, uh, uh, happen. So, so that's uh, that's an important thing. So, I'll try to

Dan Ryan: the important, that's joie de vivre.

Damien Perrot: Exactly. If I take a few innovations, uh, in hotels and, uh, outside of the hotels that we, that we've done this, this year, and, um, one is, okay, one of the biggest pain point of travelers is luggage, you know, it's also for our hotelier. A nightmare to manage because you know, you have the businessman, they go in the hotel, they have an entire day of working.

And so they leave you, they leave the luggage in the hotel. So you need to put that in the luggage room. Some in some of the hotel, we need to have one full guy. Full time guy working just to manage the luggage, uh, the luggage room. And sometimes it's not enough. You need to take the meeting rooms in order to do that, et cetera.

And so starting with that idea and what if you can do the checking of your lot of your luggage at the hotel and not at the airport.

Dan Ryan: Oh, that would be really handy.

Damien Perrot: And so we create the startup and we launched a startup, uh, in June, uh, this year in Paris. And, uh, and we're going to, and we're going to state it. And today in Paris, you can do the checking of your luggage in your hotel, even at home, and then you will find your luggage.

Uh, when you arrive in New York, the luggage travel with you. It costs you 25 Euro per, for the first luggage and 10 Euro for if you have more luggage. And when I came in, in, in, in New York, uh, you know, I, I, I, I've did that and your experience at the airport is different. I don't need to go to the airport three hours before in order to do the check in, to queue at the airport or whatever.

I'm completely free.

Dan Ryan: Well, you mentioned a couple of minutes ago about sustainability and innovation there. Just by virtue of being able to offer that service, More people would be prone to take public transport to the airport as well, I would think. And like, that's, that's a game changer.

Damien Perrot: that's why I work with the metro company in Paris. Because what we realize that 70 percent of the people that use our services will finally take the public transportation instead of taking the taxi. So that's huge. So finally, the impact is good. And on top of that, when we're talking about sustainability, but, um, the, the, the disabled people, uh, or when you have a disability, if you are pregnant, if you, if you travel with kids, how can you manage your kids with the luggage?

How can you manage your, Yeah.

and SKUs? It's impossible. So just doing that, you're going to make much more people being able to travel nicely. So that's what I call Augmented Hospitality. Another one, and I will be very brief, it's, uh, we, we, we launched a startup also, um, that knows exactly how many people is going to eat in your restaurant in 15 days with 95% At 35 percent we have the right figures and we will know what they're going to hit. That's make a big change and that reduce the waste drastically.

Dan Ryan: Oh yeah, I can't, it's so much more efficient and so much less waste. That's,

Damien Perrot: Exactly. That's, how,

we can use artificial intelligence also. And that's, that's what we're doing in terms of innovation. If I go back to, to the hotel, um, inside the four, the four walls. Um, and it's, it's not. It's not something new, but that's something that we can do differently because of the technology.

And you know, there is many things that were not working very well before, but that could work very well now thanks to the new technology. And so we've developed, uh, we've developed a bedroom and we work with, uh, with LG, for example, on the, on the TVs. In order being able to pilot the room with the TVs completely, no need to add anything.

And on top of that, to upsell a lot of things through the TV in order to, to, to, to bring you a better experience and you can transform the room like this. In order that if you want to do gym in the room, you have your personal trainer on the TV. If you want to organize a lunch, you can have the open kitchen, finally, in your room through the TV, etc, etc.

So just, it's not the big things, but by doing that and thanks to the technology, instead of selling the room or the guests use the room only from 7 p. m. to 7 a. m., you can. Optimize it during the lunchtime, for example. Or you can provide a better experience, uh, in, uh, in, in, in room as well. So that's, um, that's another, another way to bring, uh, to bring, uh, to, to bring, to bring, to bring innovation.

And there is much, much more examples.

Dan Ryan: Damien, I want to go back into the sustainability part of it. Um, I recently had a guest on, he had this radical idea. He actually just created the first. Zero emission hotel in North America.

Damien Perrot: Okay.

Dan Ryan: And he said, and he believes that hotels from a sustainability perspective and an emissions perspective within the whole world of commercial real estate, that hotels have the ability to transform their systems to be zero emissions within 10 years.

And his thesis on that was, or is, that hotels spend more on CapEx than any other asset class. They spend more on preventative maintenance and they're always updating systems for heating, cooling, mechanical, plumbing, because if that system breaks, you're going to have a lot of really unhappy guests. So they're always kind of ahead of the curve more, more so than commercial realist office buildings and, um, multifamily, the multifamily sector.

Does that sound Interesting and possible to you because of the amount of CapEx that is continually reinvested into the hotel sector.

Damien Perrot: So that's, uh, what he's saying is, is, is definitely true. And, and, and we are working, working super hard on it in order to make it happen. And, um, and, uh, we, that's why, I mean, when we talk about design and design and technical services, when you, you name my, uh, my very long title, it's It's because design is, is, is not only about, about the style of the hotel, but it's about all the techniques behind the hotel, behind it that the guest doesn't see.

But if it doesn't work, the experience is not there. So, so we put a lot of effort in order to really make our standard. Really efficient when it comes to sustainability, but we were a step forward in order to really reach a net carbon footprint by 2050, which is a very big commitment for Accor, bringing new tools in order to measure.

Because it's very important, you know, there is, there is this idea of, uh, having the ambition, but, but you need to measure the ambition. You need to measure where you are today and how you can improve. You need to bring all the solution in order to be in 10 years time, uh, a neutral, uh, carbon. And you need also in front of that to convince that it is not only to save the planet.

It is also to make your business much more performant And profitable. And you need to go, uh, to, you need to set new trends into that perspective because, uh, in 10 years time, the world will be very, very different. And if we do not act it right now, and if we do not support our owners and investors to invest.

Good CAPEX in order to be really efficient in terms of, uh, of sustainability, it will be too late. And

Dan Ryan: the most I guess my biggest takeaway from that conversation and also hearing what you're saying is also if you look at impact that hotels have, so if they can get ahead of the curve and and become zero emission for as far as the operations of the hotel go, um. The people, the number of people that come and stay in hotels and are impacted by the design, the experience, not just for themselves and how they're treated, but also for the planet and learning about these systems that exist and they can change in their homes or their offices, the impact halo, if you will, that hotels have, where The number of people that they impact and have a positive experience and, and you can actually educate them in this.

They're like a diaspora, go all about their lives in business and life and everywhere. And then they can take these new ideas. And implement them in their own world, which I think that has to do with, like, it's almost like the, uh, I'm trying to figure out, like, it's almost like hospitality can be the tip of the spear with respect to pushing this change along faster within the commercial real estate segment or within real assets.

And I think that it's a new kind of thought process I've been having. And I think it's really exciting. Does that excite you? And is how

Damien Perrot: it's super exciting. And on top of that, uh, it's, uh, you know, it's, uh, it's the chicken and eggs, uh, also a situation because I think we, we have a role to play in order to really push the boundaries in order also to, to, to. To let's say, uh, push the industry to really work on all solutions they can bring to the table in order to make those objectives and to make them much more, um, uh, financially relevant, you know, because in terms of sustainability, there is what we need.

All would like to achieve, okay, what we are capable to achieve, what is financially, uh, relevant, uh, as well. And also it's about, uh, empathy or so of what could be done and where, you know, and that's also very, very important to, to address all those topics. So if I take the example that we need. to, to, to reduce the energy consumption in our hotels.

Uh, we start, uh, of course, with everything we can do with all the equipment that we have inside the hotel. So there is the GRMS system, there is the boiler, there is the water consumption. There is a lot of things that we can do inside the four walls. There is also about the people, uh, the staff. You know, when you go in the kitchen, the first thing, the first thing the, the chef is doing is he switch on the gas.

In order to have the, the, the, the, the, the piano super hot, you know, and, and, and these during the entire day. So we need to change all those habits. So that's the, the, the first thing, but then after the huge part of it, it's, it's the asset itself.

when it comes to, to change the windows, to, to work on the facade.

Wow, that's a lot of CAPEX and, and, and that's where it's, it's much more difficult, but I'm convinced. And that's why I'm super optimistic with the future. And I'm convinced that there is in the industry, a lot of people working super hard in order that instead of redoing the entire facade with a big, thick isolation, et cetera, to do exactly the same thing with.

And instead of doing it outside, so you will be able to do it inside. And, and so finally, you know, I'm super positive that we're going to be able to achieve, uh, much more that we are targeting to do because there is this dynamic, dynamic ongoing.

Dan Ryan: something that you said really resonated with me a few minutes ago. Also, it's about, and I don't exactly, you said it more elegantly than I will, but it's, it's about being able to measure and track what the changes are. And what's interesting when I talk about. That project up the zero emission hotel. Not net zero.

It's zero. There's no emissions coming from it. Yes, they get their power from solar. If they need extra, they're getting renewable energy coming on. And then some people would have written articles saying, Oh, well, it's not accounting for the embodied carbon of using the new windows that they bought. And my point is.

All of that, you know, it matters, but what's most important is that we are all measuring and that, because if we can measure things, then we can change, like, for instance, a company I'm involved in, we went through this whole, through this company called MindClick, but we went through a whole, um, opening up and exploring our supply chain, and we were a leader, we're a leader in their framework, and what's interesting is, because of how we are and we always want to continually improve, we saw where we were Not performing very well.

It had to do with packaging. Right? So we're like, okay, well let's just use, let's stop using styrofoam on everything. Let's innovate and see if we can do that. And it's a little small part, but my point is, is if we didn't go through that process and measure and see where we could improve, we couldn't improve.

And I think that's, I think when people start splitting hairs about net zero, zero emission, embodied carbon, they're missing the bigger point of let's all just start measuring and just continually improve where we are. Because it's more about, I feel like people get very caught up in the perfect solution.

Whether it may be there, but it's really about continual progress and having leaders like you and Accor and Merit and Hilton and IHG and big management companies and Wyndham, like you said, just commit to this because. It's again, it's progress and not perfection, but the goal is perfection at some point.

Damien Perrot: No, it's true. That if I take an example of the last concept we've done for NovoTel, uh, We really put in place the eco design methodology. So it's, I was super confident, you know, and really, uh, care about the supplier we select, et cetera, et cetera. At the end, I took an external company to measure the carbon footprint of the room. And finally, I discovered that there is, uh, around 20 percent that I cannot measure. on the gray zone. And there is another 10 percent that was not finally super, super green. Because, and not because of us, But because, uh, we realize that it's super complex and that you cannot do it, uh, on your own. So you need them to talk to the suppliers.

And you cannot say, I do not want to work with you because I cannot reach the ambition I have. Because finally, there is no other suppliers or solution for it. In, in, in, in that specific, uh, specific, uh, things. So, so you need to embark them and say, okay, how could we reach a better results in, in, in, in, in, in, in the future, in the next month, et cetera.

And then what I discover is finally the suppliers, they say, oh, okay. I want to be, I want, I want to support, I want to be better. And, and so that's, uh, that's what I like in that ambition is that everybody really want to, to, to, to play their part. And at the end, it, uh, it will, it will be very, uh, very efficient.

Dan Ryan: But you know, what's also incredible about what you just shared there. It's again, it goes back to that general manager who want and who knows how to run the hotel, but didn't know how to do the lighting and the music. It's, it's being vulnerable. It's saying, Hey, there was 20 and 10 percent or 30 percent that we couldn't explore or we couldn't measure.

But you know what, now that you know, that 30 percent is there. I bet you, you're figuring out how to measure and innovate and make that 30 go down to 0 eventually. And again, that's the whole mindset of, you can't change anything if you don't measure it.

Damien Perrot: Exactly. Exactly.

Dan Ryan: And plus, it's really important because we all need to, the snow coming, so that we can go skiing.

Damien Perrot: Yes.

Dan Ryan: And then I saw, I didn't know, I was doing a little research and I saw that you're a skier. You love skiing. So I've skied throughout France, um, and Europe, but what is your favorite ski area or ski station in France?

And why

Damien Perrot: Uh, for me, it's, uh, it's Chamonix because, um, because, uh, first of all, there is There is a playground, incredible, in the mountain. The mountain is super, uh, it's super, let's say, uh, impressive. You know, it's, uh, the atmosphere is super strong. You know, I always take this example, uh, when I do a presentation on, on design strategy.

And I show pictures of a man in front of the mountain and saying, I strongly believe in the power of the space. And what's bring to you in terms of emotion. And it is true when you are in Chamonix, you have that emotion. You don't know exactly where I come from, but it is there. And there is lots of, uh, very, very good skier.

Uh, and, and, and even if you go, uh, in the, in, in the bakery in the morning before climbing the mountain, you will cross. people. And, and, and, and that's, that's amazing. I mean, uh, yeah. Chamonix is for me, uh, the best,

Dan Ryan: I love Chamonix. Um, and that's the mountain just so everyone knows is Mont Blanc, correct?

Damien Perrot: Yes.

Dan Ryan: So that's the iconic, uh, mountain. Chamonix is a really beautiful town and actually a dream of mine. I think about like vacations. I want to take it always involves just walking, going on a long, long, long walk.

And apparently there's a really beautiful circuit. around Mont Blanc, and it takes two weeks, I

Damien Perrot: Yes.

Dan Ryan: Have you ever done it?

Damien Perrot: No, I never done it. I never done it?

Dan Ryan: Because we're all too busy, that's why.

Damien Perrot: uh, two weeks to do that. I need to make sure that when I'm on holidays, I could spend a little bit of my time with my wife and kids. Otherwise, uh, it will never fly.

Dan Ryan: Yeah, no, I understand, I get it. It's a dream where they get when they're older. Um, so now, we're speaking, we're excited, we're measuring, we're changing, um, we're evolving, um, what's exciting you most? As you look forward into your path with a core. You

Damien Perrot: Uh, what's excited me the most is that, um, every, every minute, every hours, every day, every month, every year are different. And, uh, and it's constantly evolving, constantly changing, always new challenges, always new ideas. Uh, and that's what makes my, uh, My time at Accor, uh, really, really incredible and being able to, to innovate, to, to let's say, you know, at Accor, you, you can do what you believe will make Accor stronger.

They let you doing it. If it doesn't work, you stop. If it doesn't work all the time, you may not stay at Accor. But if it works sometime, it makes, it works very well. And that's why, that's why Accor I think is so different. Because it's, uh, Accor put, uh, put entrepreneurship, creativity at the heart of everything.

And we call it artist. You know, we don't call the people working at Accor employees. We call them artists. A bit of art, a bit of artistic, meaning that their creativity, their capacity to bring something different is very key to us. So, so that's, uh, that's, what's, uh, very, very, uh, very interesting. And, and, and what excited me the most today is that I do not know what's going to be the world in the next 10 to 20 years, but I want to be someone who challenged the future.

I want to be the one who do not just, um, leave the future decided by others. And when you watch, uh, good movies, uh, telling you what is the future, etc. Uh, it's not the future where I want to be. Uh, I strongly believe on, uh, intelligence artificial. I strongly believe in technology. I strongly believe in all of that.

But I do not believe in the world that lots of people are thinking, uh, that's going to be the world, uh, where we're going to live. So I, I want to, I want to provoke the future and I want to be part of it. And, uh, and that's what I think is very exciting. And I strongly believe that hospitality is one of the industry that must play a very important role in the evolution of the society, in the evolution of the cities as well.

Because if you take that, that figures that the density of the city will increase by more than 50 percent in the next 20 years, it's enormous. If you see that You

can't drive in New York or Paris, because then you can't, uh, increase the size of the streets and et cetera, et cetera. So there is lots of challenges.

And I strongly believe that, uh, living in the cities, you need to, to have still a very good quality of life. Hotel could play a very important role into it. In sustainability, we mentioned it. I think hotel could play an important role and show the example. Uh, in, I, I, I believe maybe I'm wrong, but, uh, do people will still live in apartment tomorrow or they will live in a kind of hotel?

Not the one we knows today, but the one that we gonna define for tomorrow. I strongly believe, yes, if you, if you take into consideration the increase of the land, nobody could buy an apartment in Paris today, in New York. Impossible.


Dan Ryan: interesting to hear you say that because I've always been, I saw this guy, um, I forget his name. I'll, I'll figure it out. Uh, he was speaking just about, um, a screwdriver, you know, like the tool, a screwdriver. He said, who in this audience owns a screwdriver? Everyone in the audience raised their hand and they said, you know, the average, um, amount of time that a screwdriver is used in its life.

And the point was, if they could create a tool library somewhere where you need a screwdriver, you push a button and it delivers to you, it's an, it's a use of idle inventory. Much in the same way with self driving cars, how many cars, cars are not driven 90 percent of the time. Apartments and homes. With people's nomadic lifestyles, it's an idle or not the most efficient use of capital and space.

So for everyone to be actually, that's really interesting for, for everyone to shift their living situation to a more of a hotel nomadic experience where your bags get delivered and just show up there

Damien Perrot: you. know, and,

Dan Ryan: That's actually a really interesting future. I hadn't considered.

Damien Perrot: and, and, and you need to think about this very important evolution as well, is that before we used to buy a, an apartment, a house or whatever, and, and when you die, your children will irritate. And that will help us to start their life, let's say. Okay? But when I'm gonna die, when my parents gonna die, Uh, I will be probably retired. Do I really need to irritate what they, they bought? Or all the money they spent in their apartment? I don't care. So it changed drastically the way we're going to invest. Do I really need to invest and own my apartment and not able to have good holidays to help my kids to set up, uh, to have good studies, uh, to, to live well, to have good dinner, to enjoy restaurant, et cetera, just to put all my money in my apartment?

Or do I just need to live where I want to live? Enjoy life how I would like to enjoy life, support my kids when they need, and when I'm gone, I'm gone. And I think, and I think that's a very different way and very different approach, and that's, that will really make the difference.

Dan Ryan: I actually think we're going to, we're, we're about to enter a laboratory of this idea as the baby boomers start to retire and downsize and, and move along and pass into the next world. Because I think I've heard it a couple of times where it's going to be the largest transfer Of wealth in the history of humanity.

And then I would think that that would probably help people think about where they want to go, how they want to do it, how they can use that, that capital. That's been locked up for life experience. Like the person that you could hire to work in the Alps in the winter and then down in Chile in the summer, it really, and it's not, and perhaps it's not for everyone, you know, going back to that measuring, maybe it's 20 percent of the population, but 20 percent of the population rethinking how they.

use their cost of living expenses. Um, that's Almost a revolution, not an evolution even. It's like a very, um, imminent, uh, milestone that's quickly approaching.

Damien Perrot: Yeah. And, and, and, and when you, you, you realize that, uh, that people start to, to, to do that, um, they start working for you for six months. And then after they, they say, uh, uh, I don't want to work with you anymore. And they go somewhere else and whatever, that's, that's, uh, that's the difference. So I think that we don't know how it's going to be the future, but we need to provoke what the future where we, where, where, where, where we'd like to, where we'd like to live.

And I'm very exciting about that, John.

Dan Ryan: Wonderful. And then, so we've been talking about the future, looking at the past, you've been at, um, Accor since 1998, correct? So what's interesting, I started my career in hospitality when I moved to San Francisco in 1998. And I remember I moved there and I went, there's this little French alley. It's my birthday.

It's July 14th or Bastille Day, which, so I've always had a, an affinity towards Bastille Day, but it was Bastille Day. I went to this little thing called Um, Belden Place, and the French had just won the World Cup. I just arrived in San Francisco and it was like the most incredible, uh, welcome to San Francisco moment and feeling a part of France.

So, um, So I just had a very wonderful experience into my career journey as the French won the World Cup in 1998. And then again, I had another wonderful, um, life experience. I was living with my family in 2018 in Ho Chi Minh City, um, and the French won the World Cup again.

That was really great. 20 years later, these wonderful life experiences, always tracking within the French. Win the World Cup. So thank you France for that. Um, if you were to go back, if you could magically appear in front of yourself in 1998, what advice would the Damien I'm speaking to right now have for your younger self?

Damien Perrot: I don't, I, I, I, I don't know. I would say just do it, just do it. Forget, forget about the rest. Just, just do it. Do it and, and, uh, do it with passion. Everything you do, do it with passion. Because passion is everything. You know, I start working at Accor doing IT. My dream was to be a chef. I did a hospitality for that.

And I started at Accor, uh, doing IT and I love it. And I did IT and I love it. And I enjoy working on. IT developing new, new IT system, et cetera. And then after I work for Procurement, I enjoy working for Procurement. And then after I, I, um, build hotels and I love doing that. And you know, when you are, when you are enjoying what you do, it make the difference, you, you are an happy person.

And so you met good people, people want to work with you and, and, and finally, you can make your own journey and, uh, And never say no, always say yes, do it, do it. And you will see it, it will happen. And one of the good advice I had from, it's, it's one of my mentors, I must say, is the father of one of my good, good friends, he used to work for Brig, a big, big asset company, a big construction company.

And, um, I was working at Accor and I was, uh, saying everything I'm doing, et cetera, but I said, I want to do something else. I want to go, I want to, and to make more money. because my salary was super low and he told me something very interesting. He says, what you are doing is just incredible. What the company gives to you right now, the value is much more than the money you make every month. If you stay there, you will see one day you're going to become director. If you leave. You will make more money, but you will probably stay a manager.

Dan Ryan: Yeah.

Damien Perrot: and he was right. And, uh, and so, so passion, passion, passion is the two advice I will, I will give to the little Damian, uh, in the 1998.

Dan Ryan: Patience and passion.

Damien Perrot: Yes,

Dan Ryan: I love that. Um, Damian, this has been wonderful. If people wanted to learn more about you or Accor, what's the best way for them to get in touch or learn?

Damien Perrot: they can connect me to, with me with LinkedIn. I'm not always super active because, uh, because I, I, I receive lots of messages, but I always look at them and, um, And I always very happy to, to chat with other people because, um, uh, you know, the ideas do not Yeah, they are coming with all the people I meet and that's, that's, that's the magic of, of, of it.

So I'm always very happy and, uh, and I'm trying to meet lots of new designers all the time, even new designers, young designers or startup or whatever, because they can't imagine how much they bring to me and, um, and that's, that's, that's mixed. The entire difference. So do not hesitate to contact me and, uh, and I'd be happy to, to connect with you.

Dan Ryan: And if you're ever in the same place as Damian, Do like I did. Just go up, shake your hand, introduce yourself. He doesn't bite.

Damien Perrot: Exactly.

Dan Ryan: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And I also want to thank our listeners because without you guys and the growth that we get every single week, we wouldn't be here speaking across the Atlantic with Damien and learning so much from him and about Accor and where Accor is going.

So thank you, everyone. Thank you.

The Future Of Augmented Hospitality - Damien Perrot - Defining Hospitality - Episode # 137
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