The Club Med CEO of East and South Asia & Pacific on the potential of the all-inclusive resort in the Asian market.
Born in Paris, Xavier Desaulles spent 15 years of his childhood in the French Alps. Given the environment he grew up in, Xavier was a keen skier back in the day. Nowadays, you’ll either find the father-of-three playing tennis, on the golf course or out for a run with his wife.
“I’m into running now because I see Singaporeans running all the time,” he jokes.
Currently based in the sunny equatorial island, the French and Swiss national grew up with Club Med and was pleased to share how his kids can now enjoy the same experience he had as a kid. It was his fascination with the brand’s unique way of reinventing happiness that made his current role an appealing one.
“I am married with three kids and I’m very happy that they get to tour the various properties across Asia. They prefer that over wines and spirits trading which I did for 14 years.”
Just under two years into his stint, Xavier has already overseen the development of 14 Club Med villages around the region and is focused on accelerating the development of Club Med at a rate of one resort per year within the next five years.
The market in Asia, particularly the millennials, have been identified as a key target in the growth of Club Med in this region.
“60 percent of the world millennials are in Asia and there is a huge potential for us to recruit talent and attract visitors to our villages.”
Based on estimates, about half of these will become parents. The formula that Club Med presents is ideal and unique for Asian millennial families.
As part of its expansion, Club Med has already opened a mountain resort in Hokkaido, with further plans to expand to Krabi, South Korea, Indonesia and Vietnam.
Club Med has been very successful, particularly due to its formula that has been hard to replicate. However, maintaining it poses another challenge.
“In Bintan, we have over 120 GOs and 220 staff living within the resort. The challenge is to have a blend of talents coming here every season and to continue selling the Club Med formula to our guests.”
In March, Club Med Bintan was chosen as the destination to announce their partnership with French clothing company, Lacoste.
“We share the same French roots as landmark brands which were created in France. The design of their clothes are very unique and we share a premium attitude.”
From the 70 resorts worldwide, the Asian destinations are becoming increasingly popular and have received the highest feedback.
“Each resort is different and has its own personality, with must-try experiences that are unique to every resort. For example, Club Med Bintan is known as a wellness retreat with offerings such as yoga by the beach and the Asmara Spa. In Phuket, they provide a Thai experience with Thai boxing and cooking classes.”
With its increasing presence in Asia, Club Med is focused on their core business as a global resorts operator.
“We would like to focus on Lacoste first because we want to do partnerships right, but we are always interested to see what other brands have to offer.”