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C-Suite, Hospitality Growth and Marketing Expert Franck Kermarrec joined Lobby Talks

22/02/2022 Kieron Bailey Comments Off

Let’s get to know Franck a little bit better, his biggest accomplishments and how he has made it to where he is, sharing the stories behind his best and worst day in hospitality, and just how he would choose to spend his ‘last stay on earth’.

Franck has over 18 years of experience in growth strategy, commercial and digital marketing across many different industries including Travel, Consulting, Consumer Goods and Retail. He has overseen global sales, marketing budgets, and led and managed multi-cultural teams in both growth and change management/turnaround contexts. Franck specialises in growth strategy, digital and brand marketing with a focus on generating incremental value and revenue.

Favourite hotel lobby

I’d say a very very very special hotel, Constance Prince Maurice based in Mauritius, where I spent my honeymoon years ago. We have very special memories from there with my wife as it was our very first true luxury hotel experience. The design is very locky, the guest experience is out of the world, the architecture is stunning. I must say this has set the bar pretty high for our next holidays. Fun fact: we slept in the same bedroom as Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas. They haven’t left any souvenirs in the room but that was quite cool! A drink of choice? A glass of champagne by the sunset.

Franck’s Career in 60 Seconds

I’ll do my best to squeeze it in 60 seconds! I’ve got 20 years of experience, I started as a banker. Eleven years ago I moved to London where I joined IHG as a Senior Director at the time. I integrated more commercial functions and then worked as a CMO for Millenium Hotels and Resorts. Then I worked for Atlas Hotels, more on the owner side as a COO until the pandemic kicked off in Europe. Since lockdown, I’ve done consulting for startups and businesses. For instance, I wrapped a project for the Ritz Paris – both customer-facing and back office. I’ve been meeting ambitious and very interesting people who I could learn from which are important drivers to push me along the way. Overall it’s not only because we work in hospitality that should drive us, but what we do every day, our passion for the industry. As soon as I get bored I start looking for something else. It’s about who you are and what you want to achieve in your career. When people read my CV it must be confusing but you need to work your own path to achieve what you want, and today I’m really proud of what I did so far.

Good Day / Bad Day 

A good day: there have been many to be fair. When I was a CMO for Millenium Hotels, we were still a small brand, we wanted to get our name out there, attract different key markets, and the company was looking for hotel partners. Since it’s a company headquartered in Singapore, they have little knowledge of football. I ended up securing a multi-million partnership with the Chelsea Football Club, and activating multi-channel awarded campaigns (online, offline, events and on-property). Financially we could get a good return on this investment and it was sincerely a game-changer for the business. It felt very rewarding since it took me a year of hard work to convince the chairman and the board that this was the right thing to do. I remember the excitement from the team as some met the team players, and, ultimately, for the business, it was very positive and well received externally.

A bad day: It’ll be very common for a lot of people but when I worked at Atlas and I realised this pandemic was kicking off in Europe, I remember the group decided to shut down ten to twelve properties. It’s been really tough, we were on a good trajectory for success and growth, people were happy and then the pandemic started… it’s probably the worst day in my career, as we didn’t know what to expect. To help us navigate through these tough decisions, our amazing HR director, Sarah was managing the staff expectations by making sure they’d be well taken care of and not let down, keeping the conversation open and transparent. We also had support from the government and the business, but we were trying to be as human as possible in all this, by trying to disconnect the financial consequences from what the team was experiencing on a daily basis.

Last day on Earth 

A difficult one! We’ve been lucky enough as a couple and a family to travel and experience hotels. We use to live in Sydney and went from Sydney to Los Angeles and French Polynesia. For the last day on earth, I think I’d bring my entire family to Le Taha’a by Pearl Resorts, part of Relais & Chateaux. It’s so secluded, almost like you’re the only one on earth. The ratio between guests and employees is incredible, you don’t have to ask for anything. Everything is brought to you and you can get used to that easily. A restaurant? Or I’d love for Chef Clare Smyth to cook us a meal. She’s so humble and so talented and still underrated. She’s one of the most talented Chefs we have in the world right now, to run a three-star Michelin restaurant in the UK. She’s able to transform very basic products into stunning dishes. Amazing! Her staff is a good reflection of her as well, she has a clever manner to manage her team and stress too.

The Guestbook

It forces me to step back a bit. Nothing has been easy or given to me. I’ve always worked with people I really wanted to work with and done things I really wanted to do. I’ve got 2 kids (3 and 11 years old) and like I always tell them: never give up. Things are hard sometimes but hang on to your dreams. Because knowing how to bounce back is important. One last thing: I don’t believe that every career should be a straight path. Sometimes, it’s like a roller coaster. You need to work your way to what you want to achieve.

We’d like to thank Franck for sharing his knowledge and experiences with us. 

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