Center Parcs "For a long time the priority was real estate, now we are focusing on tourism"

3 min reading time

Published on 05/01/23 - Updated on 05/01/23

This is how Olivier Garaïalde, CEO of Center Parcs, sums up the transformation underway within the Center Parcs properties. 740 million renovation programme invested by the group and shared with the owners of the properties. To date, 90% of the park has been renovated, which naturally leads Center Parcs to review its brand identity in order to complete its transformation.

An identity that had not evolved since 1998, which resulted, among other things, in a gradual erosion of site's OR between the beginning of the year 2000 when it reached 90%, and 2019 when it was at 70%. Of the 29 parks operated by the group, 8 are new and for the other 21, 2 are still being renovated with a target of 100% by 2024. Olivier Garaïalde insists on the importance of associating service with the premiumisation of the properties, thus justifying the price increase:

"We practice dynamic pricing so prices vary constantly according to demand and periods. On average, our prices have increased by 15% over the year 2022. I advocate very close monitoring of the NPS [Net Promoter Score, Editor's Note], customer satisfaction must increase in parallel with any price increase. The quality and value of the product we offer the customer is paramount and so far it's working well."

In addition to the renovations that are essential to keep up with market standards and that will now be carried out every seven years, Center Parcs is bringing new features to its resorts by regularly adding new experiences linked to nature, as well as integrating all the estates into their local areas. All these additions to the offer help to enhance its premium status and reinforce the image towards which the group wishes to strive.

As part of the renovations, the cottages have changed range. The Comfort supply has gone from 50% to 35% of the park after renovation, while the premium cottages have gone from 28% to 36% and VIP from 15% to 22%.

A new brand identity was created around the supply work after a year of internal work with employees and specialist support. The results of these efforts are presented by Clémentine Harmant, head of marketing at Center Parcs.

In addition to the work on the visual identity, which was based on themes such as nature and joy, the customer journey was reviewed and simplified.

"We have worked to make the customer journey more fluid and to make customers more autonomous both online and on site. We have also developed tools to improve flexibility around stays with real-time information."

Olivier Garaïalde underlines on this subject: "More flexibility means increased occupancy but also opportunities to extend the length of stay and thus allow our customers to better discover the territories where they stay."

All these concepts and innovations will be implemented with the opening of the Nordborg Resort in Denmark in 2024 and other projects, notably one in Germany on a former military base. When asked about the difficulties sometimes encountered by the group in developing new projects, Olivier Garaïalde specified:

"We want to be aligned and consistent with the image we convey. In terms of development, we are opportunistic with regard to potential opposition. If local partners are not 100% convinced of the benefits of opening up their territory, there is no point. For Landes de Gascogne, we were very well supported by the public authorities."

An investment of around 2 million euros for this new visual identity, which is used in TV campaigns, billboards and digital tools, marks the group's new approach.

Olivier Garaïalde: "We want to create a sense of urgency to come to us. By working on the seasons with, for example, the Christmas experience at Center Parcs. While remaining true to the identity of each domain."

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