1.1. Project Management and the Hospitality Industry
A project is an idea or concept that has been put forward or executed to accomplish a specific goal. Project management achieves those goals by setting responsibilities on an individual or a small group to coordinate and integrate all activities needed to reach the objective of the project (Meredith and Mantel Jr., 2006). A changing industry with the likes of hospitality requires consistent improvements in its performance and these improvements can be managed through internal, external or joint resources that can be accomplished by either modifying its features and attributes, developing new products and services, entering new markets and partnership or strategic alliances (Hassanien, Dale and Clarke, 2010). To gain competitive advantage in the market, the hospitality industry must find ways to position their goods and services ahead of others within the industry and once they gain competitive advantage, they must sustain it in the long term.
This paper intends to evaluate a project renovation of the in-house “Le Bar” at The Four Seasons George V, Paris that has the potential to gain competitive advantage based on the hotel’s prestigious reputation and the landmark’s eloquent history.
1.2. Overview of Project: “Le Bar – Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris”
Built in 1928, the Four Seasons Hotel George V in Paris, France was an original Art Deco building that stands as an eight-story landmark boasting over 244 luxury guest rooms, adorned with a collection of exquisite art pieces and is also home to three restaurants, each boasting one up to three Michelin Stars: Le Cinq, Le George and L’Orangerie. Residing within its walls is also the hotel’s secret Wine Cellar. Built 14 metres below the ground during the Second World War, the cellar was built with extra bolstering around its walls (in the area of a stone quarry that was also used to help build the famous Arc de Triomph) to ensure that the wines would be safe during such chaotic times.
The Four Seasons Hotel George V prides itself in three aspects: preserving the historical significance of its landmark, embellishing its interior with original floral and artistic designs and mastering its expertise in Food and Beverage. In 2016, the hotel was awarded the Forbes Five Star Hotel under its annual Star Rating List. In 2017, Gallivanter’s Guide awarded it the “Best City Hotel Worldwide” (for the 13th time) and “Best European City Hotel” (for the 14th time). It was also acknowledged as the “Best Hotel Cuisine Worldwide”, “Editor’s Choice for Cuisine” as well as “Editor’s Choice for Spa”.
1.3. Purpose and Standard
With the hotel having such high competitive culinary standing and historical flair, the reputation of Le Bar at the Four Seasons George V, Paris should be just as highly regarded as the hotel’s other award-winning dining venues. Currently a stand-alone venue, Le Bar’s vintage style has much potential to become a thematic venue that would add more stories that has already been written within its walls. Hotel facilities plays a major role in satisfying the guests’ experience as the identity and characteristic of one hotel can be reflected through its facilities by various aspects such as visual aesthetics, experience, comfort as well as overall ambience of the hotel environment. While its current layout may correspond to the hotel’s interior design and overall artistic theme, there is still so much that Le Bar could offer. Perhaps focusing on a relevant theme such as a Parisian Belle Epoque would be a suitable fit or even an American style Prohibition Bar that correlates with the hotel’s underground Wine Cellar.
The focus for renovating such a venue is necessary given the competitive nature of the industry, to maintain and enhance business volume as well as the financial health of individual hotels (Stipanuk, 2006). Hassanien and Baum (2002) also claim that if well planned, renovation could attain product innovation leading to increased profitability, guest satisfaction and quite possibly even market leadership.
It is critical that, if one was to achieve competitive advantage through renovation, to continually enhance guest facilities and add new amenities or attractions that will appeal to the future markets. Destinations that fail to adapt to the changing environment eventually find themselves fading into obscurity or overtaken by other destinations that are newer and better planned (Gee, 1996).
For this report, the “PMBOK® Guide” is going to be used as the main reference for terminology, definitions, and understanding. It is considered to be a globally recognized standard and guide for project management (PMBOK® Guide – Fifth Edition, 2013).
Reference to the original standard framework by HBS-Project Management Manual, 2002:6, below is an amended framework to match with this report’s project for “Le Bar” renovation plan.