An interview with Mr. Christophe Olivro, Regional Director,
Aman China & General Manager, Amanyangyun
Christophe Olivro, GM of Amanyangyun, has over two decades of leadership experience in the luxury hospitality. Hailing from Caen of France, Christophe began his career in 1996 with Ritz-Carlton. After gaining further experience in the US with Ritz Carlton, Christophe moved to The Dorchester Collection in 2006.
Christophe joined Aman as General Manager of its star property in Utah – Amangiri, where he spent 2.5 years. Then he further advanced his career with Aman by moving to Asia as the General Manager of Amanpulo, Aman’s property on the tropical Pamalican Island in The Philippines. During his tenure there, Christophe was promoted as the regional director to oversee Aman’s four properties in mainland China as well as Amanpulo. It was during those years that he started to learn about the Chinese market.
Christophe joined Amanyangyun in early March 2018, where he continued in the role of regional director and successfully led the team to launch Amanyangyun. ‘Each Aman tells an incredible story and Amanyangyun is no exception. It is our group’s most ambitious project to date and I feel proud to be part of this journey to preserve the past,’ said Christophe.
Since this May, China’s domestic tourism has been recovering. How about Aman in China?
Aman China resorts have been recovering very well, beating business expectations in the last couple of months since May. The properties, except for the Beijing location, have reached our peak of occupancy, eighty percent and above on weekends and holidays.
What kind of guests are visiting Aman now? What kind of experiences do they want to have during their stay?
At this time, there are no international travelers, so mainly leisure guests, single and multigenerational families, couples living locally are Aman’s guests. Their stay will be about 1 to 2 nights, experiencing the nature surroundings with a bike ride in the park or a walk to the organic garden, participating to the activities offered by the Cultural and Discover Centers, visiting the wellness center/spa and its specialists. And last but not the least, food is a major component of their visit, enjoying the different restaurants and afternoon tea MUST be a stop.
Has Aman launched any health-related or wellness packages or spa treatments in this post epidemic era?
In the post epidemic period, there has been an increasing awareness and sensitivity to well-being, immune system and being health conscious. Aman has been on the forefront of health related and wellness packages offering different types of wellness/health journey based upon guest behaviours and property location. Amanyanyun just launched Wellbeing and Fitness retreats this summer.
Do you think the current consumer spending by Chinese guests has returned to the level before the epidemic?
Domestic tourism consumption has come back and even stronger than pre-pandemic levels. Chinese customers have buying power, and the limitation to go abroad has pushed them towards domestic consumption. Key factors are safety, seclusive and relax areas, reconnecting with natural surroundings, outdoor and experiential activities, healthy food options, wellbeing options and ease of traveling.
Will the pandemic change the traditional ways of the hotel industry and staff work routines? Do people also change their lifestyle?
Yes indeed. This pandemic has created a new trend in the tourism and hotel industry as much as leisure and business sides of it from traveling to hotels to stay to food options to personal wellbeing and health conscious to hygiene and sanitation regulations. Definitively, there will be more online video meetings and training sessions as business continues to avoid traveling and areas of large movements of people (people in organizations might ask themselves… Do I need to travel?). And people’s lifestyles have changed subsequently.
What challenges do you think the hotel and hospitably industry will face in the last quarter of this year?
Hotel and hospitality industry have to reflect on how they have operated in the second part of the year to set a stable business platform for the short term for years to come. My team has taken a different business approach in the last couple of months, set aligned initiatives with strategies and taken lessons learned as we go, as next year is around the corner. Your organization must be agile and adapt fast in an impermanent environment.
What do you think of the economic situation next year in China and worldwide? What kind of mentality and action should we take to prepare for it? The China economy is resilient in 2020 and will remain strong going into 2021 where there are many uncertainties in the rest of the world. The business model has to stay focused on building a stronger domestic market, which offers many more opportunities than challenges ahead. There might be bumps at times, but you need to have a positive mindset to go stronger through it and be fast to react quickly.