Interview with Karim Malak, Deputy CEO, Adagio
After 10 years, how is Adagio doing?
We have welcomed 2 million customers over the past 10 years, including business travelers, families and expatriates. They stay 1 night to 1 year for an average stay of 4 days (vs. 1.3 for classic hotels).
In 2007, we had about twenty aparthotels, and we now have 105 aparthotels in 12 countries on 3 continents.
We try to have different architects for each property so that our offers are diverse.
We have gone from being one brand among many to the reference on our target, which is demonstrated by the fact that we are known by one out of two people.
What is your DNA?
It is our desire to offer solutions for alternative and differentiated accommodations. To be part of a professional and attentive service when it comes to both reception and offering friendly services. We seek a balance between professional service in terms of hospitality and friendliness thanks to committed staff.
Our concept Le Cercle:
This is a reinforcement of the foundation of our DNA. We have developed this new reception area with two primary goals:
Firstly, to create a hybrid space to encourage a maximum of exchanges. In this way we develop mini events, aperitifs… we invite shop owners... The goal is to shift from an offer that was initially intended to make guests more autonomous to an offer that places proximity and relations back at the heart of the customer experience.
Secondly, to develop functions that make it possible to personalize one’s stay. We have created a sort of lending room. For example, it is possible to borrow plants, a raclette grill, a guitar, board games... A dozen of our properties have already deployed this concept. By 2020, we plan to open 20 properties a year for three years. The goal is to have 64 properties to handle, of which 19 will be operational in 2018, including Bercy in December, and Courbevoie, one in Marseille and Cologne. Feedback from collaborators and customers has been excellent and we track comments closely. One quarter to one third of comments mention some of the concept’s functions in association with a desire to return. The leading goal is to reinforce customer satisfaction through positive word of mouth and loyalty development.
Staff, have been complitly integrated to this transformation. They make it possible for guests to live together and share an experience. We are changing their uniforms to make them more informal and express the individual personalities of staff.
How did you develop this concept?
First we made an observation: our business model works very well and is well established. We wanted to see what else we could do. Our method focused on guest interviews, a nearly ethnological observation of our clientele, focus groups, information from staff and the treatment of statistics and an analysis of customer reviews. What is really difficult is identifying what customers truly want but don’t express. For example: eliminate isolation, personalize the place, offer an opportunity to meet and exchange... We took inspiration from methods of design thinking. We built a prototype of the concept at Bercy in 2016 and tested functions in order to adjust them. We try to have different architects for each property.
Feedback has been very positive, and we are gradually making adjustments: for example, the contents of the grocery where we adapt product availability according to the nationality of our clientele. It was important to develop actively. Eighteen months passed between the initial ideas and the unfurling at Bercy.
How do you position yourself with respect to products such as Meininger?
We host many professionals, engineers, people in training programs. Travelers from India and China appreciate our brand. Why? Because they have a strong need to maintain their dietary habits.
Our target defines us. We are not trying to be hybrids at all costs.
What are your ambitions?
Today we have 105 properties in 12 countries. We just opened our first property in the Netherlands, in Amsterdam.
We want to consolidate in our preferred countries: France, the United Kingdom and Germany. In the United Kingdom and Germany, we expect to sign many agreements. We have thirty or so projects worldwide.
We want to grow from 105 to at least 150 by 2023 and more soon after.
The penetration rate of the aparthotel product with respect to other hotel products is high in France and the USA but remains very weak on other markets. There are good opportunities. We have 75 aparthotels in France, only 3 in the UK.
We are targeting urban destinations, preferably in city centers, or major centers of activity in important European cities. We have partnerships with AccorHotels in Brazil, the Middle East and Russia with 10 properties opening soon in Saudi Arabia. In Africa we signed in the Ivory Coast.
As for the evolution of our products, we are interested in co-living, meaning ways to host larger groups in the same apartment.
Globally we have a concept that has potential in certain countries where the penetration rate remains very low.
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