After training as a commercial lawyer and working for a construction group for nine years, Stéphane Lamadon joined Disneyland® Paris in July 1998. From negotiations for the construction of Walt Disney Studios Park to responsibilities in Utilities management, going through taxation and territorial development at External Relations… Stéphane, who has a diverse profile, became Director of Disney’s Hotel Cheyenne in September 2008 and then of Disney’s Hotel New York in March 2010.We recently met to ask him 3 questions.
Tell us about your atypical career…
My experience as a commercial lawyer specialising in construction law combined with my strong experience “in the field” served me very well at the time. With a dedicated team at my side, my mission was to work on the contractual agreements, which needed to be rewritten and adapted to French legislation. As I was appointed as a Manager in Utilitie, I was actively involved in negotiating agreements with EDF (Électricité de France) when the electricity market was opened up to fair competition. I joined External Relations (now called Government Relations) as Senior Manager in 2002, moving on to the role of Director in 2004, working on taxation and territorial development.
In 2005, I had a three-year experience that was to be particularly formative: I was appointed Director, Social Relations and was in charge of social partner relations and the negotiation and signature of corporate agreements and acted as Chairman of the Employees’ Committee and the Occupational Health & Safety Department (DSST). After I learned about operational issues over those three years, and that is what made me want to join this division. The plan developed and became a reality in September 2008 when I took over the management of Disney’s Hotel Cheyenne – a new challenge for me to meet that continued with Disney’s Hotel New York, a post I have occupied since March 2010.
What is your role now?
I see a hotel as a microcosm – a company within a company, so the role of Hotel Director is similar to being the captain of a ship who has to set the course, establish objectives and create dynamic team synergy in order to achieve two main goals – Guest satisfaction and economic performance.
You have to go out in the field, support the teams and engage with our Guests, take the pulse, listen to what they want and continuously improve the quality of the experience. And you also have to set an example so that you win true credibility from your colleagues through your commitment and attitude. Guest satisfaction mainly depends on Cast Member satisfaction. This is why I also see the role of Hotel Director as developing talent and showcasing all the effort put in so that we make everyone want to turn up for work every morning and enable them to pass on their enthusiasm through interaction with our Guests. My vision was based on two key words: “Desire and Pleasure”. These same words are now core to the “Ambition” programme, conceived and developed with the entire management team for all hotel Cast Members and aimed at giving the word “Guest” specific meaning in terms of our professions and customer relations.
What ambitions do you have for Disneyland Paris over the next twenty years?
I want Disneyland Paris to continue creating magic and pursuing the quest for excellence. Obviously, the quality of the experience depends on us investing in our assets (attractions, restaurants and hotels, etc.), and for me this means that a makeover for Disney’s Hotel New York is in the pipeline, but it depends more than anything else on the excellence of the service and commitment given by our Cast Members, who generate interaction with our Guests every day, making their time an unforgettable one. Disney is a strong brand, generating a unique sense of attachment.