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Paris Inn Group grows to rise to Olympus

The changing sector and the need for global importance led Jean-Bernard Falco to meet with the steering committee to draw up development plans leading up to 2030. The result was an ambitious project, baptized Olympe. Built on four complementary pillars it gave way to a new structure in a joint-venture that brings together the former Paris Inn Group and Chinese private investors. This billion-euro adventure focuses on the brand Maison Albar.

According to Jean-Bernard Falco, leader of the group founded by his spouse's family four generations ago, the future is the result of radical change in terms of growth and the implementation of a new economic model that brings together complementary activities. Out with Paris Inn Group, a name with too many limitations, and in with Olympe, a holding built on four pillars starting with the core business: hotels signed by Maison Albar.

"We began by asking ourselves about the profile of commercial accommodations through 2030; whom should we address and with what offer? Whatever anyone thinks, 2030 is practically tomorrow and it is urgent to launch the investments needed starting today," explains the group's chairman. A two-fold observation grew out of this consideration: the first is to invent the hybrid concept that will succeed in satisfying younger generations, hostel goers, and businessmen seeking efficiency and autonomy, tourists discovering the city and seniors seeking good service… and also permanent residents, renters of apartments with hotel services, justifying all the logistics implemented. "I would like to invent the mixed-use hotel, a sharing of experiences and clientele within a single building, to mutualize the back-office, secure the property and create a community of diverse clientele," pursues Jean-Bernard Falco.

The second observation is the unfurling of a powerful brand: Maison Albar, now the spearhead of the group. In France, Three hotels are already operational, or about to be; a fourth Paris address will soon be announced along with a new project in Nîmes. Internationally, the brand is already being unfurled in China, it will soon be in Portugal, Russia, Iran and the United States. Ambitions are global and the human and financial investments are considerable. 18 cities have already been identified in Europe alone, 300 sites found and 30 projects under study. A dedicated mortgage credit institution is being created, this investment vehicle will be fed by Chinese capital and the Albar family with a several hundred million euros.

"I continue to believe it is possible to build a history around on the fundamental values of French hospitality, its expertise, but with a new outline for affordable luxury," comments the project's creator. "Clientele surveys show there is high degree of dissatisfaction in terms of value. We absolutely must reinvent the supply starting with customer expectations without imposing modeles just to fit our accounting needs in the short or mid term."

The second pillar that Olympe relies on is the creation of an innovative Academy to supply talents for hotel operations and give young people in precarious careers or job situations a chance. "I know where I come from and it is my intention to give young people another image of our suburbs. Whence the idea, as others have done in other sectors, of implementing free professional training for the young unemployed individuals looking for adventure," tells Jean-Bernard Falco. Classes will be offered by professionals working in the field, they will be spread out in 3 to 24 month sessions, depending on the degree of specialization, by focusing on fundamentals: reception, service, languages, the service functions of Hospitality… In keeping with the apprenticeship model, each student will be sponsored by a professional who will support the student during training and guide them at the beginning of their career, by guaranteeing a CDI upon graduation.

The third pillar, which might be surprising at first glimpse, is sports and, more particularly, team sports. "I fundamentally believe in the virtues of team sports to foster team sport and the pleasure of winning," explains the man who challenged his employees top prepare and run the New York Marathon as a corporate project. The project is to start or sponsor clubs for handball, basketball and football, professionals and amateurs, under the Maison Albar banner. This is as much a communication strategy as it is active philanthropy. Once again, the clubs and areas targeted by this action are mostly on the outskirts of these major cities, in the so-called "difficult" suburbs and projects to offer an escape idleness and social exclusion. 

The fourth and final pillar of the Olympe structure: data management. "Millions of data are collected each day about our current and potential clients, through CRMs, search engines, social networks…," analyses Jean-Bernard Falco. "The goal is to intelligently use this information to segment clientele and target the niches that interest us, target their profile even before clients present themselves at the property and personalize their stay in advance. I call that a predictive stay… in order to produce the right, fully personalized product, the right offer and real added value to make it stand out."

To steer the project, the president of Paris Inn Group engaged a new collaborator to be CEO of the brand Maison Albar for USA and EMEA, Lionel Jacquemin, former Director strategy for B&B Hotels. Together with the management board, he will gradually implement the different phases of the Olympe project. This radical change in size is made possible thanks to the implication of a group of private Chinese investors, who bring the financial backing needed to take off. "For several years I have been working with Chinese investors and my experience with Chinese associates has been very good and I must admit they have a broader outlook on our activity. They are attentive and understand the entire Olympe project while my other western interlocutors were only interested in one or two aspects of the project and in the more immediate profitability."

The evaluation process of contributions and pacts between partners is underway. The realization of the joint-venture under Maison Albar could take place in the second half of 2017.

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