Fairmont’s Global Brand Leader and Vice President Mansi Vagt was recently in London to launch Fairmont, Grand by Nature.
Sarah Turner: This period of great change has presented both opportunities and challenges. What were the biggest challenges?
Mansi Vagt says: We need to be more compassionate to people’s needs for balance, after an event as devastating as the pandemic. This will allow us to retain talent and attract new talent. This is both a challenge as well as an opportunity.
Are there any opportunities? People used to fly across continents to meet for an hour. This is not happening again. But, we will still need the human connection that we all require as humans. There is a shift towards longer business meetings. People want to give their teams the boost they need with workshops and conferences.
What would you think the Savoy’s evolution looks like? The book prompted me to think about the needs of today’s luxury traveler. It is very different to the experiences people wanted 10 years ago and even pre-pandemic. But, the Fairmont brand is so important because it allows you to touch the past and walk into a piece history.
Fairmont, Grand By Nature, is a book that celebrates Fairmont’s most iconic brands. What inspired you to make it?
Cornelius Van Horn stated when the Canadian Pacific Railway was being constructed that you couldn’t export scenery so we’re going import tourists. He did this with properties such as the Banff Spring in 1888, and the Chateau frontenac. We wanted to make a book that would celebrate all the amazing properties we have.
Chateau Montebello was opened in 1930 in Quebec. It is one of the most impressive log cabins in the entire world, and it is surrounded with extraordinary natural beauty. It has a rich heritage. We are one of two luxury brands with American roots. Sisters Virginia and Theresa founded the first Fairmont Hotel on Nob Hill, San Francisco in 1907.
It also gave us the opportunity to record all the amazing, historic and cultural moments at Fairmont Hotels. From John Lennon and Yoko ono’s Bed-in for Peace at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal to Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball at the Plaza , New York, to the UN Charter of Rights being drafted and ratified at Fairmont San Francisco, it was also a chance document these remarkable, historic and culture-rich moments at Fairmont Hotel Plaza , in New York.
Do you believe Fairmont’s Canadian heritage is still a part of the brand’s identity?
Fairmont Asia Pacific is not a place you want to feel like Texas. We are a brand that believes in authenticity so that guests can feel the culture and feel connected to their destination. However, we also believe in a warm, Canadian feeling of community.
Fairmont has invested significant amounts in branded residencies over the past few years.
The trajectory and growth plan of residences is rapidly changing, starting with the Red Sea project in Saudi Arabia and ending with residences in Phoenix and Vietnam. Residents are looking for a way to get away from cities and feel part of beautiful destinations, but also want Fairmont-level luxury and service. People are gravitating towards luxury hotels that feel more like home.