My husband and I spent our honeymoon in France and we had the privilege to enjoy a wonderful lunch at the Ritz Hotel in Paris.
Cesar Ritz was a passionate entrepreneur, with a single-minded vision: to have his hotels be the very definition of elegance and refinement. He wanted his hotel to be a place 'where a Prince would feel at home'.
After losing his job at the Savoy in London, Ritz opened his first Paris hotel. From this, he built a prestigious global hotel business, which, after more than a century, still embraces the core values established by its founder. The word ‘Ritzy’ immediately brings to mind a certain kind of refined elegance, luxury and sophistication. If we’re ‘putting on the Ritz’, we’re dressing in our finest attire to celebrate in style.
Ritz understood his customers, who included royalty, the very rich and the very famous. In the turbulence of World War II, The Ritz in Paris was occupied by German forces for use as the Luftwaffe headquarters. But for those who could afford it, the Ritz provided a place of escape. By knowing his customers’ needs and desires, even when they weren’t articulated, Ritz kept his business strong.
That César Ritz achieved his vision is evidence of a strong strategy built on a dedicated commitment to living the core values of business: Elegance, Service and Discretion. It’s a strategy that saw the Ritz business survive the uncertainty of the Great Depression, and two World Wars, to leave a legacy that will endure well beyond the next global depression.
Knowing your customers is vital to the survival of any business, and understanding the needs of your stakeholders is the starting point of asset management. Ritz understood what value meant for his customers - it certainly didn't mean the cheapest price.
Who are your stakeholders and what does value mean for them?
Gubler, F. 2008. Great, Grand & Famous Hotels. Great, Grand & Famous Pty Ltd. Sydney.
Mazzeo, T.J. 2010. The Secret of Chanel No.5: the intimate history of the world’s most famous perfume. Harper Collins. New York.
Hemp, P. 2002. My Week as a Room-Service Waiter at the Ritz. Harvard Business Review. June. pp. 50-62.
To better understand what your stakeholders value and how you can demonstrate the value you deliver, talk with Monique.