In this exclusive interview, Laurent Marchand, CEO of Groupe GM, gives us an expert’s insight into the challenges, opportunities and his predictions for the future of this space.
Can you give us your perspective on the major challenges and opportunities facing amenity industries at the moment?
There has been a significant increase of branded amenities and this trend will continue rising as both brands and hoteliers see in it a mutual opportunity. Of course, this is a great opportunity for us as we have built great relationships with brands over the years and have around thirty brands on offer.
In terms of challenges for our industry, I would say that one of the major one is ecology. In the very close future, we will need to find new ecological and sustainable solutions and we will need to innovate even more in terms of packaging, dispensers but also in terms of delivery.
Furthermore, we have been talking about millennials a lot these past few years and I think as an industry we really need to anticipate their behavior as they will be tomorrow’s main consumers.
Hoteliers are changing their habits and trying to envision their offer differently. Some hotels are now offering the choice of the amenity, like a “beauty bar”. These new consumers want to enjoy a real “shopping experience” and have the possibility to select the brand that suits them best.
Can you share some insights specifically on the beauty and personal care segment, what are the major trends and demands from consumers at the moment?
Consumers are becoming savvier and know more and more about ingredients and what is in their cosmetics. This trend could also be translated into food, clothing, environment, etc. People want to know what they are putting on their skin and if it is safe, they are starting to recognise the benefits of particular components for their unique needs and seek them out across multiple product categories such as botanical ingredients. Brands are well aware of this and tend to capitalise on consumers recognition of these ingredients.
The integration of new technologies (such as virtual reality) into the shopping experience is one of the major beauty trend. Many apps have been developed by makeup brands to virtually try makeup and drive e-sales. Users can examine their virtual makeup and are accompanied by tutorials.
The change of the retail landscape with retailers offering consumers a unique shopping experience through the use of in-store spas, salons and makeovers like for instance Clarins’ new concept store in Philadelphia. Online retailing is also benefitting tremendously from these shifting consumer preferences in beauty and personal care.
Do you have any predictions for how the market will evolve in 2018, or beyond?
The big trend is the focus on naturalness and incorporating health-conscious, botanical ingredients. Consumers worldwide are increasingly conscious of the effects and impacts of their purchasing choices on the environment.
Consumers are more and more educated (blogs, consumers magazines, etc.) and choose products with more knowledge than ever before.
To sum up the main ideas mentioned here above, I would say that the offer in hotels is going to be more customized. Consumers will have the choice.
Hoteliers will have to make decisions which involve ecology issues and sustainable solutions while at the same time shifting towards new technologies so that they become an integral part of their business.
How are launches like Groupe GM’s new Le Petit Prince line meeting consumer demand?
It is perfectly in line with the evolution of our industry: customized offer. Being able to offer young guests their own special Le Petit Prince line and the accessories that go together will bring a very special touch to their stay that they will remember and be an integral part of their hotel experience.
Any final thoughts on the industry today?
I think the industry today is at a turning point and is putting in place many adjustments and changes that are necessary in order to face new factors that did not exist before (whether in terms of competition or demographic, environmental and sociological changes).