“Service which is rendered without joy helps neither the servant nor the served. But all other pleasures and possessions pale into nothingness before service which is rendered in a spirit of joy.” - Mahatma Gandhi
Upon arriving to the employee entrance of the Shangri-La Hotel, Paris we were warmly welcomed by Human Resources Intern, Célia Daude, who led us through the winding passageways and staircases of the back of the house. Walking among the bustling activity of the hotel’s employees, we were greeted by a cascade of shining smiles and Bonjours until arriving to a quiet conference room. Here, Training and Recruitment Assistant, Audrey Bonhomme, shared the history of the hotel brand and its Parisian property and further explained what it means to be part of the Shangri-La family.
Of particular interest was her presentation of one of the company’s most renowned marketing campaigns that features wolves caring for a man in a bitter, cold and desolate environment. This advertisement that highlights the mantra of “treating a stranger as one of one’s own,” served to demonstrate the service qualities that characterize the group’s employees. Furthermore, Ms. Bonhomme explained how this idea of family-like service ultimately determines and shapes the group’s hiring strategies, which focus on finding candidates who embody a spirit of warm authenticity and who are ready and willing to go the extra mile to make their guests feel at home.
After our discussion with Ms. Bonhomme, our two hosts led us on a tour of the five-star property. Originally serving as the home for Napoleon Bonaparte’s grandnephew, Prince Roland, the Shangri-La Hotel, Paris boasts an impressive view of the City of Lights’ most famous monument, the Eiffel Tower. We caught glimpses of this landmark through the windows of the property’s stunning meeting space, the majority of which is registered under the protection of the country’s historical monuments. We were then led through the public spaces, the hotel’s wellness retreat and the many food and beverage outlets, including L’Abeille, the two Michelin star French restaurant. Finally, we had the opportunity to visit two of the property’s 101 rooms, which feature rich textures and fusion of European and Asian décor.
We left the steps of the luxury hotel with a greater understanding of the property’s uniqueness in the Parisian market and a reminder of the value that comes with serving customers with a spirit of joy, reminiscent to that felt when welcoming a loved one into one’s own home.