I Love Ski: Mister Monfort, you have been at the head of thetourist office for a few weeks now. What are your first projects?
Jean-Philippe Monfort: My main goal is to unite the actors, and to put back on the spotlight the link, the proximity and the confidence in the resort. I devote a large part of my time to introduce myself, but especially to listen and understand the issues and expectations of everyone in order to build collectively tomorrow’s La Clusaz. My approach is based on a double vision: the expectations of the customers but also the expectations of the economic actors of the resort. There are people that are motivated and committed to their territory; my work will be done for them because they are the ones who are in contact with the customers, and who know them. While those two lights aren’t green, my actions won’t be well built.
Parallel to this, I work now with the big actors of the resort: the elected and the services of the Town hall, the ski lifts, the ski schools, the Sports Club, etc. It’s necessary to constitute a unit.
We have a very good ski product, but we must work on diversification and look at what are the new expectations, offer new products, stays, turnkey packages throughout the year thanks to the proximity of the Lake Annecy… In the Aravis, we conduct a consultation with the resorts and Annecy (‘In Annecy Mountain’ project) so that our customers’ future stay will interactively make a real interaction between lake and mountains. Annecy is one of the most beautiful lakes in the northern Alps, with 5.5 million visitors a year, and we want to offer our customers experiences that include this beautiful and varied territory.
Participatory work for a harmonious development
Jean-Philippe Monfort: I’m very confident about the projects that are waiting for us at La Clusaz because, after my first exchanges with the socioprofessionals, I felt a strong desire to work collectively and to engage in a shared approach to identify together the new directions of the resort. There is experience, ideas, talents and energy in La Clusaz. The LCZ freestyle show, the radio meuh circus festival, the full moon, the first tracks or the Foly Challenge are perfect examples of it.
There’s an expectation on the part of socioprofessionals to build a new strategy. The tourist office is here to support the socio pros, not to tell them how to do it. We are here to define the resort’s marketing positioning and to set up a strategic action plan based on their needs and the specificities of the area. Our structure has a central role to market the destination, to seek customers but also to retain the existing. We have many second homes and a local clientele that is faithful (20% of regular customers). We must respond to their expectations and ‘pamper’ them!
I remember a trip to Aspen in which I was on the chairlift with the vice president of the resort and suddenly his phone rings and he says: ‘excuse me, Jean-Philippe, there’s an emergency.’ As a good technician, I told myself that there was a problem on a lift or an accident.
In fact, there had been a breakdown on a device, and the vice president had gone in an emergency to buy cookies to wait for his customers at the top of the chairlift and apologize personally for the incident, while offering them a ‘Cookie in the top’. I want to work on the proximity of the relationship with our customers. I am a field man in contact with my socioprofessionals and my clients.
Photo : La Clusaz
La Clusaz: a village resort model that seduces
Jean-Philippe Monfort: For more than 10 years, I’ve been receptive in the Alps, so I have hosted foreign decision makers, including Scandinavian, Austrian, Japanese, Russian, Chilean, American Canadian… And I presented them our knowledge in the mountains: village resorts like Megève or La Clusaz, second-generation resorts such as Courchevel, resorts such as Les Arcs, Avoriaz and La Plagne, created during the snow plan, and fourth-generation resorts such as Valmorel.
When I asked them which model had had interested them, what resort would they keep if they had to retain a mode, this is the resort created from a village that almost always was the answer. They were all charmed by it: the tourist product and the ski are not dissociated from the local life and were built from a history, some values and an identity.
I don’t have anything against Preservation and Development: La Clusaz will innovate and develop, but from its DNA. It will evolve with climate change, new trends, healing, discovery, playfulness, diversification, the summer, services… A new dynamic is set up in La Clusaz and I’m excited to work with Jean-Christophe Hoff, new Director of Satelc (ski lifts). We share the same desire to collectively build a governance, a strategy and a medium and long-term action plan for the best of La Clusaz.