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In Conversation with Club Med's Xavier Desaulles

In Conversation with Club Med's Xavier Desaulles
Xavier Desaulles, CEO, Club Med APAC Markets,

The Club Med APAC Markets CEO tells Outlook Traveller about the brand's future, eco-green initiatives and the Indian market

Shruti Singh
December 12 , 2019
07 Min Read

Q Mauritius has always been a favourite destination among Indian travellers. What should they look forward to in a Club Med experience to enhance that?

A Mauritius is a great destination and makes for a special beach getaway for many holiday goers. Indian travellers are discerning and look forward to experience new dimensions of travel. The destination itself, in the case of Mauritius, becomes a key attraction to many. Couple this with the Club Med’s all-inclusive, value-for-money proposition and you have a heady mix of a vacation filled with activities to interest the entire family. Club Med is not just a regular hotel; it is a complete package that offers exciting and unlimited experiences. Hence we say that Club Med is a complete holiday package in itself. Here are some of the highlights of the Club Med experience:

Exceptional hospitality service: The brand employs Gentils Organisateurs (GOs) and Gentils Employés (GEs) representing 110 nationalities who are ambassadors of the Club Med spirit and it’s the multicultural staff that makes the Club Med experience truly unique.

Suitable for multi-generational families: Whether you are travelling with a toddler or a young child, all Club Med resorts have activities well-suited for a multi-generational family unit that have been carefully curated under the Amazing Family programme and accompanied by an experienced in-house team to ensure the well-being and safety of children. Club Med encourages guests to maximize their ‘me-time’ focusing on mini club activities that keep kids busy, allowing parents/grandparents to relax by the beach or enjoy a spa session. As well as ‘we-time’, that brings the entire family together to create beautiful memories through activities, games and more.

Child friendly resort: Club Med invented the all-inclusive holiday concept adding in activities especially for children with the creation of the Mini Club in 1967. Key touch points of the resort have been rethought at the scale of kids, to make sure they feel comfortable and boost their confidence and autonomy, while their parents relax.

Multiple entertainment options: Every evening Club Med is buzzing with great entertainment options that are all organised and performed by in-house staff. Guests within the resort can choose from calm, intimate evenings with live music, to live shows, circus and grand dance performances.

Unlimited multi-cuisine meals and drinks: Whether cocktails by the beach or wine for dinner, Club Med’s premium open bar is where guests can have unlimited options of drinks without paying any extra charge. Club Med also offers all-day dining and many multi-cuisine restaurants.

Sunset at the Club Med La Plantation D'Albion in Mauritius

Q What is the formula that Club Med presents as ideal and unique for millennial families?

A Millennials are a rapidly growing demographic, especially in the travel and hospitality industry. According to a global Club Med millennial survey in 2018, millennials indicated that they travel most often with their family, followed by partners and friends. They are also looking for a hassle-free vacation option that does not require too much of planning and organisation. Focused on family-oriented millennials, Club Med offers premium accommodation, transfers, varied activities, all-day gourmet cuisine, unlimited drinks and refreshments, child-care facilities to exclusive entertainment and parties. We believe that Club Med’s all-inclusive holidays have the power to transform your journey where guests can bring home more than just memories.

Q Do vacationers who take short breaks pose a challenge to your operational systems? If yes, what would be an ideal timeframe one should dedicate on a Club Med vacation?

A Club Med would make for a great option for short-breaks, especially for Indian holiday goers. According to Club Med’s New Asian Elite Study, the average length of holidays for Indian travellers is 4.3 days. As part of our strategy for the India market, we have been promoting selected destinations to a niche market based on the purchasing power of the people and easy flight connectivity from key cities. Therefore, our Indian Ocean resorts in Maldives and Mauritius along with Southeast Asian properties in Bali, Phuket and Bintan make for an ideal choice for vacations over extended weekends.

Q Could you elaborate on the role of GOs in the Club Med scheme of things?

A GOs (Gentil Organisateur) and GEs (Gentil Employé) are the most precious assets of Club Med. They are the soul and power of Club Med. Their responsibilities could range from managing the front desk/reception to being a sports instructor; while some of them put up a splendid performance at entertainment shows. We take pride in saying that GOs are one of the many reasons guests come back to Club Med.

Q Resorts often face criticism of becoming divorced from its geographic environment. Where does Club Med’s eco-green initiative stand in countering such concerns?

A For close to 70 years, sustainability has been part of Club Med’s DNA.  Here are some of the initiatives we have undertaken as a brand: Club Med has taken efforts to eradicate single-use plastic items from all its resorts worldwide, to reduce their footprint and keep the ocean clean. Currently 77% of Club Med resorts worldwide have been awarded Green Globe Certified for sustainable tourism. Over the last years, Club Med has made a conscious effort to reduce water consumption. Close to 100% of waste water is treated and in most cases recycled. Moreover, 90% of resorts have water flow reducers and 47% have drip irrigation. According to a strict purchasing policy in favour of local products, Club Med resorts promote responsible and in-season product on buffets. Moreover, since 2008, Club Med, has deployed the Green Farmers programme in partnership with NGO AGRISUD, to promote local extensive agriculture near several of its resorts. Since 2017, Club Med has been deploying the Winnow solution, which allows teams to measure and limit food waste thanks to an intelligent and connected waste bin. Ecological walks are conducted regularly to collect waste from local areas. Club Med also plays an important role in the preservation of biodiversity. For example, the turtle nursery at Club Med Bintan nurses sea turtles back to health; the artificial reef at Club Med Kani and the fish refuge at The Finolhu Villas help to preserve the ocean’s biodiversity in the Maldives; and Club Med Cherating Beach’s natural site provides a home for macaque monkeys.

A view of the Club Med La Plantation D'Albion in Mauritius

Club Med’s philosophy is known to have French roots (commune, a certain way of life, etc.); do you think Indian travellers are receiving it well?

A The Indian market is evolving fast and their aspirations are getting closer to what we see in millennial families across the world: conviviality, aperitifs, and the need to have a sense of community. Club Med is the perfect product. Our top agents have received countless positive experiences from Indian guests.

Q Destination weddings are huge in India. would Club Med looking to tap into that market?

A Club Med’s all-inclusive packages make our resorts a perfect venue for conducting any kind of celebratory events. We have unique properties that can cater to large events, even privatise the entire resort or island for 2-3 days.

Q When are you bringing Club Med to India?

A We are always looking for opportunities to increase Club Med’s footprint. However, our priority and first point of consideration would be where our guests want to go. We seek the right prospects with the right partner in the right destinations and India is definitely one that has an abundance of inspirational locations.


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