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Club Med 2020: The Inside Story With Xavier Desaulles, APAC CEO

It’s been a huge year for Club Med with the group named the Best Hotel/Resort Group at the NTIA’s for the 2nd year running and a host of new developments on the cards.

It’s been a huge year for Club Med with the group named the Best Hotel/Resort Group at the NTIA’s for the 2nd year running and a host of new developments on the cards.

In 2020, Club Med will turn 70 years old, continuing a legacy that began back in 1950 with one pioneering idea in mind: to bring guests easy and amazing holidays, where they can relax and play sports in the most gorgeous settings.

We caught up with Club Med Asia Pacific Markets CEO, Xavier Desaulles who was in town to thank the travel industry and share some of the group’s planned developments for the new decade.


How happy are you with where the Australian market is at?

“We’re very happy with the situation and how everything is evolving in Australia. The Club Med brand has gone through a huge transformation over the last 7-10 years. From our Lindeman Island and domestic days to a complete makeover of the brand and re-positioning – especially for families. It’s been fantastic to see Australian guests and agents embracing the journey.”


Club Med Finolhu Villas, Maldives

What do you think is at the heart of Australian’s love affair with Club Med?

“I think we hit two key spots when it comes to people choosing Club Med over another holiday option,

“The first is that we feel we are the smart choice. It’s the all-inclusive factor that makes us hassle-free, especially for families. From our research, we’ve learned that it’s the mums who are the key decision-makers and who see our quality and value as stand out reasons to choose Club Med,

“They can budget for the holiday by booking 6 months out and then forget about counting out the number of Coca-Cola’s kids are ordering from the bar! Which means an exceptional holiday for everyone.”

“The second reason is that we are not in the business of just being a resort. We’re actually creating deeper experiences and memories which go far beyond purely our room and food and beverage offerings,”

“From our G.O’s (The Gentil Organisateus – Club Med staff), legendary shows and the deep level of personality we’re able to bring, holidays with us become about re-connecting families for sharing unforgettable time and precious moments together while immersing yourself in a multi-cultural environment.”

Given Sustainability has become such a pertinent topic, are you seeing habits and desires changing?

“Absolutely. We’re seeing a fundamental shift towards conscious travel, particularly from our millennial guests. Club Med was created 70 years ago in 1950 with a range of values that we have always remained true to. One of those values is ‘responsibility’ which is part of our DNA and drives the decisions we make when it comes to ensuring our villages are sustainable,

“We have a vast range of environmental and social initiatives in all of our villages with “75% of our resorts being Green Globe eco-certified and the aim to have all of our resorts certified in the near future,

“By the end of 2019, straws, plastic cups, plastic trays cutlery and plates will be removed from every single Club Med Resort worldwide. Guests can also get involved too with a range of experiences that enable them to participate, learn and share stories when they return home to spread the word.”


What’s next? Can you touch on Club Med’s plan for the region?

“We remain on track with our strategy of opening or renovating 1-2 new ski/sun villages in the Asia Pacific region per year,

“Ever popular Phuket, Thailand and Cherating, Malaysia will be renovated in 2022 while brand new Krabi, Thailand will be opening in 2023. And our new eco-village, Kota Kinabalu which we are very excited about will be opening in Borneo, Malaysia in 2022,

“We also have four new developments opening in China including Changbaishan (ski), Beidahu (ski) and Lijiang (sun) in 2021. The northeast China ski resort of Beidahu (ski) will get a second village and Thaiwoo will open in 2022, which is where the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics will take place,

“After the success of ski resort Tomamu in Japan’s Hokkaido since it opened two years ago, we are now looking to build another village in the area. It has been challenging finding somewhere that offers our ski-in, ski-out only standard but we think we are close,

“Globally we are also looking at a ski village in Utah and will open Quebec in Canada in 2021 which will be both a ski village and an all-year-round proposition with a range of fantastic activities on offer.”


Do you have a message for the trade?

“Most of all, I’d like to say a huge thank you to the travel trade in Australia and New Zealand for supporting Club Med in 2019 and helping us create the positive buzz of ‘happiness’. All of you out there should take the credit for bringing the product to life and helping families reconnect at a time when I think the world really needs it. We deeply appreciate your support.”

“The goal in life is to be happy; the time to be happy is now, and the place to be happy is here!”, as our founder Gérard Blitz would say. It’s as true today as ever.”

Xavier Desaulles, Club Med Asia Pacific Markets CEO

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