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Behind the scene with a Head of Corporate Communication.
A collaborator tells us about her job, reasons to be proud, and lockdown. This week, let’s meet Olivia Meyer, Head of Communications, Brand Content & Image at Louvre Hotels Group. A heartfelt chat about passion, communication, interpersonal relationships, and trust
Olivia, tell us about your job!
I am in charge of overseeing our image. My role at Louvre Hotels Group is that of a ‘guardian’: I develop, implement, and promote our corporate culture among our employees (at HQ and in our hotels) as well as our investors. When I joined the group in 2009, after working in a communications agency, I knew nothing about the hotel business. I have learned a lot over the past 11 years and still do every day.
My job today is to promote and uphold our three core values, whereby we commit to being ‘Daring Doers’, ‘Explorers of Possibilities’, and ‘Passionately Human’ through rituals, communication channels, and animation tools towards building internal cohesion.
Human relationships are what count the most to me in my job. My goal is to create a vibrant bond between the employees, as I believe that a shared vision and drive will help us all achieve our full potential in our jobs and, more generally, our trade.
I’m also in charge of crisis communication, and our unit is clearly very busy at the moment given the current situation! The times are both trying and challenging as we have to constantly adapt. It is also a very formative period for all of us.
I love this job as it involves being in contact with others as well as being creative; what I particularly appreciate about working at Louvre Hotels Group is the freedom we’re all given to express ourselves and take initiatives. I get to do things here that I could never have done in another, perhaps more formalist, Group.
What matters most, and what makes you proud in these times of lockdown?
The COVID-19 crisis and ensuing lockdown has clearly impacted my job. We are first and foremost committed to supporting and accompanying our employees and network as best we can. Keeping all the communication channels open is key, now more than ever. I am particularly proud of the way we are managing this crisis and communicating. I think we’re getting it right. The management board is totally open with us. They share all the relevant figures and updates with us, and we in turn share them with everyone else.
This puts us all on an equal information footing that brings us together.
Our crisis unit BE READY coordinated by Christophe Pernot is doing a truly impressive job.
There was only a few of us at the beginning, then new members with expert knowledge swelled the ranks of the team to meet needs as they arose with great efficiency. Everyone is dedicated and supportive of each other.
We are getting thanks from both the network and head office. This touches me deeply as it shows that the employees feel supported and accompanied along the way. It means we’ve achieved our goal. They know they’re not alone, we won’t leave anyone behind.
We communicate by e-mail, phone, and video-conferencing. We provide them with the appropriate communication tools, and many SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) are being set up so each hotel can communicate efficiently.
On behalf of our CEO, we give everyone weekly updates on the latest situation.
We are currently preparing to reopen our hotels; this requires a lot of work, in terms of communication and, above all, to be operational. I’m just a small cog in the wheel... our ops teams are doing an incredible job and I’m helping them with the communication.
At the moment, we’re focusing on safety and hygiene from every angle, developing and implementing new processes to reassure our future guests.
I am also really proud of the solidarity and cohesiveness in the Group... Our hoteliers have taken a lot of great initiatives locally that we showcase on social media with the hashtag #hoteliersolidaires. Therein lies the strength of our Group: our hotels can show initiative so long as they are aligned with our core values, such as in this case the ‘Passionately Human’ principle that makes Louvre Hotels Group stand out from the rest.
Lastly, I find great pride in the ‘unique bond’ we share with each other.
This unprecedented crisis is bringing us all closer than ever before. We can feel it... a telltale sign is that we miss each other... so, we have virtual meetings, WhatsApp chat groups, virtual ‘apéros’ (drinks), we maintain a close working relationship... a relationship so sincere that it makes me believe in a better future, at Louvre Hotels Group, and hopefully all over the world. Adversity has brought us even closer together. Sure, there are times of concern too as the hotel and tourism sector has taken a bad hit. We’ll have to go slow in reopening our establishments, but we are lucky to be part of a big Group that covers 100 % of the loss of wages due to short-time work, which is not often the case with other groups. This is very comforting and reassuring to us all. The Group is really looking out for us. I am therefore very happy to contribute, with my work, to a harmonious and strong connection between us. It’s the essence of my job, and I love it. I am the consummate optimist who always sees the glass as half full. I am convinced that something good will come out of this, as has often been the case in the most difficult moments of our history.
Care to share a post-lockdown image with us?
Well, actually... there’s this rainbow pic I took a few days ago from my window, as if time stood still for a moment. I like this image, the negative of a difficult period, when the rain blends with something positive like the sun to bring forth a magical and beautiful natural phenomenon. It gives prominence to something we don’t usually see, and I find the analogy particularly interesting in light of what we’re going through right now. It goes to show that, yes, a crisis can – also – bring out the best in people and things.
Finally, a rainbow is also an arch that connects two distant points, like two people who meet again and communicate after being apart for too long.
As I asked to be given yet more ‘actions’, my CEO once told me that in my position I should be like the cuckoo, always foraging in other nests to build its own, for this is a great source of inspiration. I followed his advice and found that, indeed, doing a good job means taking an interest in others, in their jobs and their needs.
I have confidence in us and in the future; in fact, I can’t wait to be in the next phase.
The hospitality industry will have to reinvent itself, and it promises to be an exciting journey!