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Behind the scenes with a Hotel Network Manager.
We had a chat with one of our collaborators about his job, reasons to be proud and lockdown. This week, let’s meet Stephan Hassan, Hotel Network Manager at Campanile France. A heartfelt chat about humanity, responsibility, and optimism.
Stephan, tell us about your job!
I am in charge of the Hotel Network at Campanile France. I supervise 32 hotels across France, that represents 850 employees and 30 hotel managers who report directly to me. Actually, I don’t “manage” in the strict sense of the word; rather, I guide and align. My role is that of a facilitator. I help those who were my colleagues yesterday, and who are still my colleagues today, to keep on giving their best. My role is to be "in the backseat": we suggest topics given by the management board or propose action plans that we want to implement in our clusters. We pass on messages and provide support with new processes. Our business is all about contact. Our key role as network managers is to ensure that HQ and the network are fully interconnected. This is very important as it empowers us to provide solutions and to find the right levers so that everyone can work better together.
Our ultimate goal: customer satisfaction and performance. The performance of our teams depends on their well-being. Happy staff means happy customers. It’s essential to know how the company works on the inside to be successful.
I joined the Group in 1993, left it for a short spell in 1999, and came back in 2002. My first position was that of hotel manager in the Paris area. In 2012, my wife and I ran the Campanile in Toulouse and then the Campanile and the Première Classe in Biarritz. In 2013, I had the opportunity to become a multi-site manager. In addition to managing the two hotels in Biarritz, I was in charge of supervising and supporting around ten establishments near the Basque Country and in Aquitaine. I was appointed Regional Manager in 2019, first for a multi-site with a multi-brand and multi-status strategy; then, in 2020, I was assigned to a particular cluster as a nationwide OREVO representative for Campanile only, and to a portfolio of hotel leases, i.e. hotels we don't own. Today, I have two main missions: in addition to supporting our teams and developing performance, I have the no less essential task of renewing our partnership agreements with the hotel owners.
What matters most, and what makes you proud in these times of lockdown?
Today, our main goal is to succeed in working differently. We're far away from our teams. What matters most is to keep in touch on a daily basis. This means making sure our employees remain healthy and motivated. That's our priority. We must also preserve our work tools and get ready for the recovery phase that we hope will come soon.
Actually, there are three phases:
The first phase hit us like a whirlwind when the closure within 10 days of our hotels and restaurants was announced. We had to come up with emergency action plans, support our teams, provide for their safety, and ensure that closure could take place in the best conditions.
The second phase is now: we don't know yet when our restaurants will reopen; we manage conventions and the potential requisition of our hotels for caregivers while steadfastly supporting our teams with the next steps.
Here again, a number of our collaborators and colleagues are devising a whole new set of processes to prepare for the third phase, the one we are all waiting for: the reopening of our hotels.
This new step will involve a big change in our habits. We will have to adapt to new consumer patterns, especially in the restaurant business. The key words will be solidarity and adaptability. Those of us with support roles are committed to never leaving anyone in the dark or in doubt. It is essential that we communicate with everyone on a daily basis. As we have hotels all over the country, we must ensure that no one is left out.
Making and building a connection is what it’s all about! We contact our teams by e-mail as this allows us to deal with certain issues more effectively, or by phone – I have at least one call a week with my direct-report managers. To remain in close contact with one another is key for it will helps us build the teams of tomorrow. I am extremely proud of our teams’ sheer dedication: from cooks to managers, cleaners, kitchen porters, in these difficult times everyone join forces in an uplifting display of solidarity. I believe we will come out stronger than ever from this crisis, as we get to know each other. I didn’t know everyone when I first started in this job, but I have since had the opportunity to meet and work alongside some great people, even over the phone. I am committed to being responsive and offering them the support they expect and need. I want to give our operational and office teams my best as a manager and a facilitator.
Here is an example of adaptability and solidarity, as well as a source of pride: I suggested to my team that they register, on their time off, on a website called “Des bras pour ton assiette” (Hands for your plate), that supports our farmers. Our local producers are constantly short of seasonal workers and cash flow, and even more so at the moment. I was proud to see so many people rally around the team for this common project. I was proud of their commitment. We too are part of the catering trade; I felt it was important to join them in their cause.
Care to share a post-lockdown image with us?
Actually, several come to mind. I’m thinking of a sentence in particular, attributed to Charles Darwin in On the Origin of Species: “Tomorrow's winners don't wait, they adapt, invent, and transform constraints into opportunities. It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” Another image would be that of a sailboat. I live by the ocean and I love water sports, they help me release the pressure. I’m also thinking of the famous explorer Fernando Magellan, about whom historian Pierre Chaunu said: “Never was the world as big as after Magellan's journey”. These great men truly inspire me for tomorrow’s world.
We are experiencing something completely new, a great opportunity to change our mindsets and consumption patterns. We’re part of a big Group that comes with many processes. But I think we have to find the right balance and give priority to local distribution channels while remaining open to the world. We will need to refocus on real values and continue to be benevolent and empathetic, that's how we can achieve great things.
Alone we go faster, together we go further!
Louvre Hotels Group puts people first. We have persistently encouraged flexibility and promoted internal career opportunities. Many a great story has been written with us, and employees love the Group as much as they do their job. Granted, we're French and we complain, but always in a constructive way as we're uncompromising! We truly love our Group; we wouldn't stay on for more than 20 years if it wasn’t worth it... there’s been some great stories so far at the Louvre, both at HQ and across the network, and I hope there will be many more. Therein lies our strength.