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Vision Nicolas Chatillon

# Corporate
Published on: 12 Sep 2023



Launched in 2021 by Guerlain Chicherit, a Tignes local and a former freeride ski champion, and his four partners Nicolas Chatillon, Thibault de Saint-Martin, Arnaud Viotte and Philippe Lutz, the Les Etincelles collection has quickly become a leading player in luxury hotels in the Alps. From Tignes to Val Thorens and from Les Arcs to Alpe d’Huez, its collection of hotels and chalets has rapidly developed. This progress is not down to chance, but rather driven by firmly established values and a vision shared by the four founders. Everything starts with the choice of resort, as Nicolas Chatillon explains: “Skiing is the main reason that brings people to visit the mountains. It was therefore important for us to focus on high-altitude resorts, located at more than 6,500 feet of elevation and resilient to climate change in order to guarantee our guests sustainable snow coverage.”

Prioritising a guest-centric approach instead of one focused on the product is the cornerstone of this group, which has turned its full attention to customer experience, comfort, and the services that make any stay easier. “Our promise is to reinvent the alpine hotel experience before, during, and after skiing. This begins by redesigning the interior spaces while renovating the establishments we take over. We have removed basement ski rooms, which are impractical and hardly welcoming! Instead, we have replaced them with ski lounges on the ground floor. These are friendly spaces where customers can get comfortable while the attentive team prepares their equipment and even help them to take their boots off! This means everyone saves time. The laborious starts to each day in the concrete basement levels are now just a bad memory! When guests arrive, we also facilitate the check-in process to avoid long queues at reception. The same goes for reserving ski passes, equipment, lessons and spa treatments. We wanted to make the whole experience flexible and all-inclusive. Flexibility means the option of different arrival days and times to avoid crowds, or reserving tables at a vast range of restaurant to avoid the monotony of full- and half-board stays. All-inclusive means arriving relaxed and finding ski passes in the room, equipment ready in the lockers, and lessons booked with the ski schools. Reaching this level of service relies on high-quality staff and we have therefore carefully developed our human resources policies to attract and retain the brightest talents. We also ensure good working conditions, with on-site seasonal accommodation, for example.”

Eco-friendly hotels adapting to future challenges

“Lastly, and this is very important for us, we have an ambitious sustainable development policy. We promise to have 100% renewable energy in all our establishments by 2026. With this in mind, the new establishments we acquire are renovated to ensure they respect new energy standards with highly efficient insulation. And in an effort to be even more eco-friendly, we have launched a new collection of eco-resorts called WOM. The first one, WOM Tignes, is a fully green and socially minded project with local suppliers, electric vehicles, and powered exclusively with solar energy. The buildings are designed to integrate into the surrounding environment and encourage a more virtuous manner of pursuing our profession. We even installed a large-scale, on-site cement mixer to avoid using trucks and therefore reduce the project’s carbon footprint! Today, combining luxury and sustainable development is an imperative. In the mountains, environmental awareness has been around for a long time. Local officials are worried, and have been for many years. This is now a matter of public interest.” Positioning itself in the segment of affordable luxury and piste-side hotels with 40-80 rooms, a restaurant, a bar, and different activities, the Les Etincelles group comprises 16 open establishments and 4 undergoing renovation. “The objective is to have 30 hotels by 2026.” These colossal investments are made possible by a financing campaign of 400 million euros with the RoundShield investment firm. With premium services, environmentalism and creativity, the values upon which the Les Etincelles Collection has developed in the mountains are also found in the group’s new establishments around different lakes. With L’Incomparable and the Ombremont, the Group has come down from the peaks. This geographical diversification may well continue to grow, says Nicolas Chatillon. “We are providing a new summer offering that will enable the group to complement its winter offering and enable seasonal workers to enjoy year-round employment. Aside from the lakes in the region, we are also looking to Switzerland, and perhaps even the Mediterranean and further afield.Our dream development is to have a sustainable alpine economy, controlled, long-term, carbon-free growth, and diversification through international establishments.” Watch this space!

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