Sipping a cup of coffee and chatting with Christophe Plantier, General Manager of the Constance Prince Maurice, we were keen to learn about his career history, his convictions and his 20-year trusted partnership with Constance Hotels & Resorts.
Can you tell us about your journey at the Constance Hotels & Resorts?
I started working for Constance Hotels & Resorts in 1999, during the renovation of Constance Belle Mare Plage. I had been managing this hotel for 10 years when Jean-Jacques Vallet bade me to join Constance Prince Maurice, with the aim of developing the offer and raising the hotel to a status of reference in the Indian Ocean.
What are your other functions within the group?
I oversee the operations of other resorts, including the development of Constance Tsarabanjina in Madagascar and Constance Aiyana in Zanzibar. It ranges from the management of operations and renovations to the collaboration with consultants and coordination at group level…
What kind of experience was the renovation of the Constance Belle Mare Plage in 2002?
It was quite challenging, but it allowed us to bring the hotel into the front line. Working on such a project is the kind of career booster no Hotel Manager would want to miss! I got acquainted with many scopes of business, I worked with qualified consultants in various
fields, and I learnt a lot during this transitional phase. It also enhanced my knowledge of the product, which clearly proved to be helpful in its management. Moreover, I took pleasure in seeing the team spirit grow through this adventure.
What are the most important things you’ve learnt along the way?
Working for Constance is like being part of a family. The trust I was given benefited me in such ways that I was able to move beyond the traditional framework of hotel management and contribute to other group wide projects. I gained a lot from the philosophy of Constance, which is about seeking excellence in all things and sparing no efforts to achieve it. To give you an example, the renovation of our resorts in the middle of a financial downturn allowed us to secure a leading position when no one was expecting us to. Getting ahead of the game served us well. Lastly, the group’s dynamism is extremely inspiring: we have the possibility to move fast and reap the benefits.
What are your commitments to increasing the exposure of Constance on the regional hospitality scene?
In all the hotels under my responsibility, I make it a point to maintain the quality chart that goes along with the group’s philosophy. We are actually gaining strong recognition in the luxury segment. Potential investors are courting us, with attractive development prospects in mind. My goal is to keep our hotels in the lead – while being always ready to call things into question in order to stay in tune with our guests’ expectations – and to maintain this trust-based relationship that has been the key to our customer loyalty.
What is your vision of luxury?
Luxury is about making no concession on quality. Product quality, of course, but also excellence in service. That’s what the luxury clientele is looking for. Constance hotels’ guests are familiar with our group’s values: they know exactly why they choose our properties. In their own style and atmosphere, each Constance hotel conveys these values: attention to detail, a signature art of living, warm hospitality…
The group’s philosophy runs through the veins of our team members, which is essential to sustain such level of quality. I believe that management stability and the latitude given to the staff to satisfy guests are other key factors. In such a context, each team member is free to express himself while providing quality service in a wholehearted way.
How is the Mauritian luxury hotel sector doing?
It has some beautiful days ahead! Mauritius remains a first-choice destination due to its authentic character, and because it covers many types of tourism: family, beach, golf, nature… Now, we need to promote themed developments, such as green tourism. In addition to seaside tourism, there is a wide range of possibilities that can be exploited while keeping a qualitative approach.
How do you foresee your future at Constance?
I want to keep on supervising projects, contribute to the group’s development and philosophy and establish the hallmarks of Constance in the products that fall under my direction. To ensure that our philosophy lives on and that guests recognise Constance’s signature in all our destinations.