At Glion, we ensure you gain first-hand exposure to the exciting world of hospitality. From professional internships to exciting industry visits, our programmes see you network with some of hospitality’s finest brands. One recent example has been the visit of Laurence Bloch, Director of the Hôtel Plaza Athénée, one of Paris’ most prestigious hotels.

About Laurence

Laurence came to Glion to give a lecture to our Luxury Brand Management students. A hospitality professional with extensive industry experience, Laurence has enjoyed career success as a receptionist, housekeeper, procurements manager, HR manager and deputy director. Her overarching experience of almost every hotel department has seen her rise up the ranks, now working at the Hôtel Plaza Athénée and ensuring it remains at the forefront of haute couture.

Laurence taught our students that if you want to stand out from the competition, you to have to be bold and innovative.

During her time with the hotel, Laurence has overseen the decoration of the bedrooms with two interior designers, monitored all corresponding investment projects and now passes on her experience to 550 employees. She was awarded the French Order of Merit in 2009, a prestigious accolade given to reward the country’s most prestigious professionals.

Building a brand

Our Luxury Brand Management specialisation is the perfect course if you want to work with some of the world’s most exclusive brands. It teaches you the soft and hard skills, professionalism and versatility needed to manage luxury organisations. Laurence provided some invaluable advice and insight into creating amazing luxury experiences, particularly when it came to cementing the Hôtel Plaza Athénée as a leading hotel.

“The vision of the Plaza Athénée is – once upon a time the palace of tomorrow,” Laurence said. “When I arrived at the hotel in 2000, we really wanted to reposition the hotel. It had a great name and great people, but the regulations were not good and the products were bad. We decided to interview the 350 employees to find out what our values were, and from that we came up with our vision.

Once upon a time represents the hotel’s “heritage”, palace is the “luxury” and “tomorrow” is the hospitality leaders of the future. “It is important to keep being creative, innovative and adapt to the future,” Laurence said. “We need to keep both pieces – the heritage and the future.”

The hotel’s Paris location means Laurence faces stiff competition from other luxury hotels. “We are on Avenue Montaigne, the most iconic avenue for luxury brands in town,” she said. “Any brand you can think of is here. It is one of the most elegant places in town and is a 10-minute walk to the Eiffel Tower.”

“We communicate constantly, producing more than 100 press releases and articles per week around the world,” she said. “It also helps us personalise.

Laurence taught our students that if you want to stand out from the competition, you to have to be bold and innovative. “We put a + after our 5* rating, because we believe we are different from the other five-star hotels in Paris,” she said. “We are one of the only palaces to offer two different room styles – a traditional 18th-century palace and a more modern equivalent. Every room is different with different art chosen.

Another way the hotel stands out is through its restaurant, which secured its first Michelin star in 2015. The restaurant has been masterminded by legendary French chef Alain Ducasse, one of only two chefs to hold 21 Michelin stars throughout his career. “Alain wanted to introduce something innovative in order for us to get a Michelin star,” Laurence explained. “So, he decided to boycott napkins and tablecloths, as well as meat. We instead focused on fish, cereals and vegetables.”

Laurence also informed our students you need to ensure your voice is heard. “We communicate constantly, producing more than 100 press releases and articles per week around the world,” she said. “It also helps us personalise. For example, whenever someone mentions us online, we receive a notification. A guest recently did this by posting a picture in our red bathrobe and slippers. We then sent over a red bag with a message saying ‘this will match your coat.’”

A career of luxury

Want to work with some of the globe’s most influential brands? Our Luxury Brand Management specialisation will give you the skills and first-hand experience you need to be successful in the exciting world of luxury brands. Laurence Bloch is just one of many experienced, world-renowned luxury professionals to give insightful talks – by choosing Luxury Brand Management, you will meet and network with a wide variety of established industry leaders.

Interested in studying at Glion? Simply share your details here and one of our dedicated Education Counselors will be in touch.

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About the author

Glion Institute of Higher Education
Glion Institute of Higher Education is a private Swiss institution offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees in hospitality, luxury and event management to an international student body across three campuses in Switzerland and London, UK.
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