The daily challenge luxury hospitality faces? Philippe Gourgaud, a Vatelien, believes that you have to know how to continuously adapt yourself, invent experiences and bring them to life: this is what he does every year for the summer festival in Annecy.
Tell us what you’ve done since you graduated from Vatel Nimes...
When I was little my parents took me to gourmet restaurants and that’s what made me want to work in hospitality. I didn’t really like high school, as it was too theoretic for me : the mixture of theoretical courses and practical applicationswas just what I needed, so I chose Vatel.
I’ve got great memories of school: everyone worked hard but partied as hard and was creative. Everyone wanted to succeed... without forgetting my German lessons, which I hated!
After I graduated, I worked in many magnificent hotels. I was the Hotel Manager for Les Sources de Caudalie, the Operations Manager for Grand Hotel Kempinski in Geneva, the General Manager for the Cheval Blanc Courchevel and then the General Manager for Langley Hotels & Resorts, before working in my current job:
For the past two years you’ve organized the Imperial Live Festivalat the Imperial Palace. This event features classical music and theater. Why have a cultural event in a hotel?
You have to attract repeat customers as well as tourists and bring them to this historical venue, the Imperial Palace. When you combine special events with culture, you build strong ties with the population: the Imperial Live Festival goes to prove this.
And we feel that if we’re not creating something, we’re slowly fading away. Our guests must have different experiences, but all must have an irreproachable quality of services... So, it’s up to us to surprise them by creating experiences they’ll like, whether they are cultural, sports, gustative, festive, relaxing, or whatever.
What do inhabitants of Annecy think of the festival?
Just like for the other concerts and events we organize each year, this festival has deep regional roots: the public is made up of inhabitants of Annecy and the region as well as many tourists depending on the season. It’s important for us that this festival is set up with local partners, as we want to promote the talents present in our region. This is why we work very closely now with Annecy’s cultural institutions.
What does the future hold for the Imperial Live Festival?
This is a new event and we’ve got lots of projects for it and one ambition: to get larger each year. And our dream would be for it to have a nationwide impact...