The Connection: Jean-Philippe Lagarde, General Manager, Novotel Brisbane South Bank

April 11, 2019 – The Connection

Tell us about your business/organisation?

Novotel Brisbane South Bank is AccorHotels newest new-build property in Brisbane, and the first Novotel in the South Bank precinct. We opened on 11 May 2018, offering 238 accommodation rooms, two conference rooms with state of the art audio-visual equipment and onsite restaurant and bar, Spice Central.

Spice Central Kitchen and Bar is inspired by the great food markets of the world bringing together beautiful, seasonal ingredients, adding in hints and touches of alluring spices and then prepared live in front of guests from our fully equipped and impressive show kitchen.

At Novotel Brisbane South Bank, we abide to our values, ‘Feel Welcome’ and ‘Feel Valued’ for our guests and our employees alike. We have a great team who aspire to deliver peak moments that are from the heart for all of our guests in order to create memorable experiences.

What is your role at your organisation?

Hotel General Manager, aka …grand chef…

What are your key skills and responsibilities?

Ensuring that Novotel Brisbane South Bank will be a success for the benefits of all our stakeholders. General Manager is a generalist position that combines operational responsibilities and supporting functions like HR, accounts, sales and marketing etc…

I like to be a hands on General Manager, and you will often find me in our hotel restaurant, Spice Central Kitchen & Bar talking to guests and taking your morning coffee order.

How many people work at your business?

Approximately 85 employees, we have a very diverse team with over 20 different nationalities, we are rich from our diversity. Some have been in the hospitality all their lives, some are new to the industry, it is a good balance.

What is your favourite place in the precinct? 

I would have to say the river bank. I am overwhelmed with all the great venues and simply cannot choose just one.

What do you want BSB members to know about you or your business?

We are a fabulous Novotel family, I can only encourage people to come and try us whether to book a meeting room for colleagues or family and friends for a night’s stay, or for lunch or dinner in Spice Central.

Our hotel restaurant is not a typical hotel restaurant, but a destination in itself! The menu of Spice Central Kitchen & Bar has had a lot of care and passion go into the creation of each of the dishes, each one drawing inspiration from the great food markets of the world. With an open show kitchen, guests can engage with our Chefs whilst they cook.

We also offer a locals discount in Spice Central Kitchen & Bar for anyone that works and/or lives in the South Bank / 4101 West End precinct.

What is something people wouldn’t know about your business?

Novotel was the genesis of AccorHotels! The first hotel opened in the North of France in 1967. At the time, it was so innovative that it was ahead of the legislation of the lodging industry. The norm was that for the hotel category of Novotel you needed to provide a collective bathroom per corridor. Even though all the rooms were en suite with TV sets which was very unusual at the time, the management still had to convert one bedroom per floor into a collective bathroom! That is French administration at its best for you…

What has recently happened at your organisation?

AccorHotels recently acquired Mantra Group, making us the absolute largest hotel company in Australia. There are now more than 30 different travel brands associated with Accor so it is very exciting to be a part of this growing family.

What have you learnt lately?

I like to allocate time each week to learn new skills and areas within the industry, and have recently been learning all about digital distribution and how the digital ecosystem is connected.

My team also recently brought me up to speed on memes & emoji’s – who knew we had gone back in time to use hieroglyphics! After all Champollion was French…

What do you hope to achieve in your industry?

To ensure the success of our new hotel!

What inspires you?

Seeing people grow and becoming better at what they do.

What are your words of wisdom?

If you want to harvest, do not forget to plant the seeds and to nurture them!