Travel Daily chats with Geoffray Maugin, the global vice president of marketing for Sofitel Worldwide, about his brand’s development in the Asia Pacific region…
1. Sofitel So will enter Singapore in 2014; what further expansion plans do you have for the brand in Asia?
Business development for Sofitel Luxury Hotels has been on a continuing upward trend globally and with Asia Pacific’s strong economic growth, the region is now positioned as the fastest growing market for the group. The Sofitel So concept has received a very good welcome in Asia, as seen in the success of Sofitel So Bangkok. We have Auckland and Mumbai signed plus strong leads in Jakarta, Bali and Sydney.
This is in line with the expansion and growth of the Sofitel brand in general, especially in Asia Pacific. The Sofitel So Singapore property, by collaborating with Karl Lagerfeld for the emblem and a few more surprise elements in the hotel, will strengthen the appeal of the concept and the brand overall.
2. Sofitel So seems to have been well received by the Asian audience – especially in Bangkok. Why do you think this is?
At Sofitel we believe that luxury is firmly based on the guest’s experience. By injecting innovation (we were the first hotel in Asia to be fully equipped with a Apple TV solution) and new attitudes in the guest experience, (Sofitel So Bangkok’s five elements approach allows guests to choose the taste and mood of their rooms), the destination is highlighted in the hotel’s design, gastronomy offerings and in almost every aspect of the hotel, but always with a modern twist. For instance guests love the uniforms designed by Monsieur Christian Lacroix who reinterpreted Thai aesthetics in the design of the Sofitel So Bangkok uniforms. This gives each Sofitel So a mark of “glocality” and it gives locals a sense of cultural ownership to the hotel.
3. What is your target demographic for the Sofitel So brand?
Sofitel So hotels are created to exemplify playful luxury by combining edgy design and intense cosmopolitan living. This resonates well with the younger luxury customers and with travellers seeking for a different luxury and cultural experience
4. Do you find the booking patterns are different for the Sofitel So brand than for other Sofitel or Accor brands? For example, does it drive more mobile bookings?
We recognised that the mobile dimension is indeed growing; this is why we launched a dedicated mobile app to showcase the Sofitel So Bangkok property and the other Sofitel So properties.
5. Along with Sofitel So, Sofitel has also launched the Legend brand. Do you have any further plans to expand this product in Asia, and which markets do you think would suit this brand?
The Sofitel So Legend label also shows a great potential in Asia, as the region is home to great historical properties, with a strong character and heritage. We currently have a project in Xi’an, but we are exploring more opportunities in the region.
There are many countries with legendary gems, which could benefit from joining the Sofitel collection of addresses and the Legend label in particular. The label has shown success in different continents – Europe with the Grand in Amsterdam, Middle East with the Old Cataract in Aswan and Americas with the Santa Clara in Cartagena, which have joined the famous Sofitel Legend Metropole in Hanoi, our first Sofitel Legend hotel.