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Constance Martineau, Director of Academie France for the Accor group: “Showing empathy and recognition towards Asian clients”

Author: Luc Citrinot / Date: Wed, 05/07/2014 - 04:00

Leading hotel chain Accor has been working into a program to train its staff to become more aware of the wishes and requests of its Asian guests.

TravelDailyNews : What are generally the main wishes expressed by the Asian clientele? 
Constance Martineau : Mentioning about Asian travellers mean looking at specific requests. For Asian, having a “normal” welcome in a hotel is to give them recognition, acknowledgment. Asians expect a highly personalized welcome and a few words in their own language, just as a greeting, is generally highly appreciated. Another sign of acknowledgment for the hotelier will be to provide translated menus and  of course options in food and beverage. Asians will generally ask also many questions about details of the room. And we have provide then an in-depth explanation. 
TDN : Are they differences in Asian wishes according to their country of origin? 
C.M. : Of course, they are. For our Indian guests for example, there is an absolute need to provide a vegetarian option. Another example for our Chinese clientele is to provide hot water in all bedrooms. We have also to explain why some Asians to not respect queue and jump in front of another guest. This is generally a question of cultural survival in many countries. We generally asked our GM who have been working and living in Asia to provide us with a feedback on the customs in their local market. They are of great help to evaluate needs from our Asian guests.
We also provide courses on China and India cultural background. 
TDN : What kind of training do you then provide to Accor employees as well as Accor management?
C.M. : We provide the same training across the globe in both French or English. But we also take into consideration local differences of course. Generally we train Managers who in return will train their own employees. They generally comprise personal in direct connection with Asian guests such as receptionist, staff in restaurants as well as people in charge of cleaning rooms. 
TDN : Which nationalities generate the most demand after information from hoteliers?
C.M. : China is becoming increasingly important, especially for European properties. We also have requests from our hoteliers about Indian guests’ behaviour as well as Korean and Vietnamese. 
TDN : What are the main strong points of your training? 
C.M. : We identify four main points: Understanding the needs and expectations; communicating properly; showing empathy; and delivering the level of expected service.