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Spotlight On Emmanuel Sauvage, Co-Founder & Managing Director of EVOK

By Sharon Hirschowitz, Global Head of Media & Communications for The International Luxury Hotel Association
3 March 2021
3 min read
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Keeping the spirit of hospitality alive in a fluctuating landscape with a sense of community and technology innovations

I believe that you chose to keep your Paris hotels open for the most part during the pandemic. What challenges have you faced keeping your luxury experience alive while following safety protocols?

Our main challenges have been making modifications for each hotel and welcoming guests with the same level of quality but with less employees. We had to readjust our teams based on the number of rooms that we could offer. Our hotels have been more of a ‘Maison de luxe’ than ‘luxury hotel’ during these previous months.

We also have to adapt the ways in which we work based on our guests. For example, now we have more visitors than we did in March 2020, so we’re constantly planning and navigating how to provide the safest accomodation for our guests while following the COVID guidelines. We are lucky to have a wonderful team who loves our hotels and was happy to be back at work.

How did you reach out to your community and expand your local presence?
We wanted to remain present during the pandemic (which we thought would be shorter!). My worst worry was to lose the community we had built before but in fact, we were able to increase it through our social media strategy. For example, we hosted multiple Instagram lives featuring music, cooking with Chef Adam Bentalha and famous French guests like Gad Elmaleh, Ary Abittan, Ophélie Meunier, Kendji. We wanted to continue having a strong presence within our local community and serve as the ideal place to be during and after the pandemic.

How did you redesign your space and F&B programs to accommodate legislation while still attracting guests?
We increased our safety protocols more than it was required. It is our top priority to ensure our guests feel completely safe while they stay with us. We have a thermal camera at the entrance to measure guests’ body temperatures, sanitizers in the common areas and guest rooms, and visitors can check with a QR Code to see when the rooms have been cleaned and sanitized.

What lessons have you learned that you will be taking into 2021?
2020 has been a transitional year. It allowed us to think about how to best pivot as we navigated the COVID guidelines, reposition, and move forward. We took the time to focus on new areas and offer thoughtful experiences to continue having a key presence within our local community. We opened our hotels as soon as we could and remained dynamic. As a result, our occupancy has been better month after month! We hope that 2021 will be a year of positive transitions for our hotels.