Being fluent in 10 languages isn’t essential when working for Hilton Hotels, but it certainly helps! Meet Philippe Garnier, a French national, Philippe joined Hilton Worldwide in 2003 and has been instrumental in developing its brands, including Conrad and Waldorf Astoria, throughout Asia Pacific and the rest of world.
Prior to joining Hilton Worldwide, Philippe held a number of senior consulting roles with companies such as PricewaterhouseCoopers and KPMG Consulting. Currently VP Global Luxury Sales based in the US, Philippe is married with three children. Here’s what Philippe had to say about the current luxury travel landscape when we caught up with him…
“As recently as 2007 there was only one Waldorf Astoria in the world, in New York, and now we have more than 28, and more than 29 Conrad Hotels, so we really cover the globe from Europe to the Middle East to Americas to Asia Pacific.
10% of world GDP is travel. Among the wealthiest citizens of the world, there has been a huge shift over the last few years from buying ‘stuff’ towards experiencing and creating memories with families and loved ones – and this is where travel has an amazing part to play.
Ignorance breeds conflict and, by contrast, travelling to a certain part of the world gives you a better understanding of what’s going on. Having a more personal connection at our hotels with the people who work there will give you a bit of an insight as to what is going on in a particular country. You will soon make your own judgement about that country’s politics, but you will have a connection at a human level and that is going to make you a world citizen.
The next big thing in travel is about personalisation. It’s not about gimmicks or Apps, it’s really about getting to the core of the reason the guest is staying at the luxury hotel and what they want to get out of it. The more the hotel knows about the guest and the reason for their stay, the more they are able to tailor the guests experience in a way that is really unobtrusive.
The travel sector is one of the largest employers and we do a lot to generate these vocations. We have a very successful programme in the US to hire veterans from the army. Maybe hospitality is not what they wanted as a profession, but, once someone starts, it is very compelling. The typical tenure that you have at one of our properties shows that there is something about this industry that is very attractive.
Travellers are extremely resilient. In my home country of France, despite recent terror attacks, 2017 has been a record year for tourism. There is a tremendous appetite for creating memories and experiences and for enriching ones culture by having encounters with people from different cultures and different backgrounds. In actual fact, back in the 1960’s one of our Founder’s underlying ideas was to open Hilton Hotels in all of the world capitals for precisely that reason.”
What a way to keep the world moving by truly loving and respecting the luxury travel industry.