Interview of Pullman’s VP Brand Management : Lilian Roten

Pullman is a well-known brand with a strong offer for business travellers. Discover how, that brand has managed to break down boundaries between work and leisure to provide the best of both.

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Since 2007, the Pullman brand has targeted high-end business travellers. Can you give an overview of the brand today?

Pullman has managed to become, a more vibrant and stylish alternative to most established chains. We dedicate our efforts to being efficient for a great business experience but also to providing an enjoyable time during your stay. One of our goals is actually to strengthen art presence and wellbeing in our hotels.

Art has been part of our DNA from the beginning as we have established contemporary art collections in the hotels. We have also created the Artist Playground, a more immersive and reoccurring experience, and some Art at Play items to use or take away – a splash of colour and surprise for our guests.

When it comes to fitness, we will make it a much more immersive and fun experience instead of just having as every other hotel, a plain room packed with technical equipment - so anyone who comes from a run outside for instance can stretch and exercise a bit more in some public spaces like our staircases, instead of just using the elevator to access the fitness centre. Keep your energy up! 


Do you differentiate business and leisure customers?

Not really. We believe that our customers are constantly juggling between their private and business life throughout 24 hours. Especially at Pullman, we treat both those expectations with same particular attention so that their stay helps them to be at their personal best.
Many habits have changed thanks to technology and people wish for more flexibility and time optimization.  

How would you define the typical business traveller customer at Pullman? Any offer dedicated to women?

There is no such thing as the average customer.
And when it comes to business, men and women want the same things such as reliable technology, high quality F&B breaks... We would like to be the hotel choice for any middle/top management decision makers by providing them with a professional yet lively alternative, some tailor-made solutions that deliver quality and wellbeing.  

What are the biggest changes you have noticed in business travel?

The focus of today’s world and conversation is more about Work/Life balance, the power of social places – the conducive energy of co-working. A flawless connectivity is definitely a prerequisite. Internet has to be free and speed especially with an even more challenging young generation, so we need to invest some more. Pullman is not running after every single trendy gadget as there is no need for fancy equipment but an excellent Wi-Fi and high bandwidth with easy login and smart in room technology with atmospheric lighting and one master light switch next to bed for a relaxing unwinding.  

How do you differentiate yourself from the competition?

It is all about the people, our teams. It starts with the attitude, i.e. hiring talents and training them to be open-minded, challenging the status quo and forward thinking so they can identify what the long-trends are. A seamless guest journey starts with happy team members who have the drive to make things happen. 

Have you developed offers for co-working spaces?

We have developed The Junction at Pullman, a new lobby concept divided into areas where you can play and interact and others where you can hold a private conversation or meet a colleague. It can also be a great hangout for locals. 

What about the Business Playground and Co-Meeting by Pullman?

The Business Playground is a meeting room, designed by French architect Mathieu Lehanneur. It has two areas: one around a big communal table and another set up with lounge chairs and a sort of natural canopy above your head: quite inspirational! Co-Meeting is now called Meet and Play. There is a set of guidelines for our hotels to build up meeting spaces with a particular look and feel to inspire more a living space than a working area. We also have toolboxes for the general and F&B managers so they can make creative suggestions to set up a room or staging a break instead of just taking orders. It’s not necessarily more costly but way more playful!  


Can you tell us about your future plan to consolidate your place in the market?

Much emphasis will be placed on the look and feel. We have a smaller network than our competitors but a strong brand awareness – and we are the new kid on the block. We are not perceived yet as more vibrant and inspiring so we want to be much bolder in our approach. That's really our vision of the future: be bold, be smart and be vibrant.

Published by Thi bao on 05/09/2019 Photo credit: © AccorHotels

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