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Hotel Le Pigalle Paris, Design Hotels: How to turn a bad review into a selling point and unprecedented success

Alessandra Mattanza

Wed, 27 Apr 2022 11:04:10 GMT

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"We started using Valpas just before the COVID-19 lockdown, due to which we had to close for a few months. It is difficult to consider the definitive statistics yet, but we can say that, since we are Valpas members, even if we are not yet at the 2019 booking values, we have had 80% room occupancy in both September and October. This is a great result, which we never expected."

“Bed bugs are unpredictable.  Too many people still think that their presence is linked to cleanliness, but the truth is that this has absolutely nothing to do with it. These animals can arrive anywhere, and suddenly, perhaps attached to a guest's suitcase. Just like COVID-19, they cannot be seen, and you don't know when they can hit you.  This is why we decided to focus on safety first of all at our hotel.  This is why we decided to rely on Valpas and, thus, increase the value of our customer service,” says Xavier Hue, the General Manager of the Hotel Le Pigalle Paris. 

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A photo of GM Xavier Hue, taken from the balcony of a room at Hotel Le Pigalle Paris

The atmosphere in this small hotel, owned by the Perseus Properties group (www.perseuscp.com), is unique because it seems to be in the authentic Paris of yesteryear, while simultaneously surrounded by glamour and lots of design.  "We want to reflect the soul of the neighborhood of Pigalle. Aside from Montmartre and the Moulin Rouge, Pigalle is still not very touristy.  It is truly emerging, with many small boutiques owned by local designers, restaurants and bars, frequented mostly by Parisians,” he explains.

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The façade of Le Pigalle. Inside, there are paintings, drawings, and photographs hanging on the walls, and unique furniture, created especially for the hotel or found at the Marché aux Puces de Saint-Ouen.

A philosophy that aims at the design and spirit of the neighborhood

“Le Pigalle Paris is a member of Design Hotels (designhotels.com).  For us, design is really important, to the point that each of our forty rooms has a unique interior design.  They have the style of the area, known as Nouvelle Athènes due to its neoclassical architecture, which inspired 19th century poets and artists,” says Xavier.

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People looking for a stay recognize Le Pigalle Paris as a member of both Design Hotels and Valpas on the hotel’s website.

"This is also why we chose Valpas.  We were not only fascinated by the technology, service, and safety, but also because one of the co-founders is a designer and created these technological bed legs with a truly perfect and innovative design that adapts to any space and furniture.  I know that, for the same reason, many designers from all over the world choose Valpas,” he continues.

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Unlike regular rooms that get infested, Valpas’ smart bed legs capture the first few bed bugs that arrive with guests before infestations. As a result, Le Pigalle Paris is never infested with bed bugs.

To succeed in the very competitive Parisian hotel scene, Le Pigalle Paris has collaborated with a wide range of local artists to provide the best service and recreate the neighborhood inside the hotel.  “Jean André, who lives in Montmartre, created our logo and stands out for his artistic creations, such as sexy retro posters, bare breasts, and lollipop Lolitas. Victor Kiswell created a soundscape that captures the spirit of Pigalle, where he grew up, and which can also be heard in the hotel.  Nicolas Clerc is our coffee expert.  He owns the small delightful Télescope Café, on Rue de Villedo, and has also inspired our Café Pigalle, which we opened a few months ago and where we serve excellent espresso,” he considers with a smile.

Safety for the guests, but also for the hotel itself

According to the data, Paris experienced a real invasion of bed bugs during 2019.  “I realized we could not wait any longer and had to be able to provide our guests with the safest experience possible. Especially today, with COVID-19’s enforcement of safe hygiene codes, there is no other problem.  At the same time, I was fascinated by the technology of Valpas, never seen in any other hotel, which guarantees daily real-time control of every room,” says Xavier. 

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Valpas smart bed legs notify Xavier and his team via the Valpas app when bugs are prevented and enable a real-time room view and report to reassure any guest.

In Paris alone, Valpas has safeguarded 1,000,000+ nights at highly-rated hotels, similar to Le Pigalle, where bed bugs have been prevented both for the guest and the hotel, before it even starts and causes losses.  The staff of Le Pigalle Paris soon realized that Valpas was a guarantee for guests and for the hotel itself.  “With this technology, you can ensure and also clearly prove that there are no bed bugs in your hotel.  Guests sleep peacefully; so do the hoteliers; so do our team and staff,” says Xavier.

The guest review claiming bed bugs; valpas was the solution

After a lot of hard work to establish itself and to create a unique and successful microcosm, Le Pigalle Paris had to recently deal with what normally is the nightmare of every hotelier: a bad review due to a bed bug claim.  “I regretted that the customer didn't come directly to me to complain but decided to write on Booking.com,” confesses Xavier. 

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Thanks to the Valpas membership, Le Pigalle Paris turned what normally would be a devastating revenue blow into a selling point and has enjoyed astonishing 80% occupancy rates during the last few months.

A bed bug claim and the resulting loss of trust would normally harm bookings and business. However, this has not happened.  In fact, quite the contrary:  the Valpas digital bed bug safety standard allowed Xavier to reassure the guest on Booking.com, provide proof of a clean hotel, and, consequently, turn a bad review into a selling point.  “It was the best response to a negative review, which remains forever on social media but now acts as a tool to increase bookings,” Xavier tells enthusiastically.

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The introduction of Valpas has helped Le Pigalle Paris increase critical points worth 10% that contribute to more bookings: 9.0 in cleanliness and 8.7 in overall rating.

His enthusiasm seems well justified:  the hotel’s recent results are astonishing. “It is difficult to consider the definitive statistics yet, but we can say that, since we are Valpas members, even if we are not yet at the 2019 booking values, we have had 80% room occupancy in both September and October.  This is a great result which we never expected.”

Sustainability for a better future and guest health

The use of pesticides in hotel rooms harms the health of guests, service staff, and the planet. With Valpas, rooms at Le Pigalle can be maintained toxin-free, ensuring superior cleanliness and a lower carbon footprint.  No exterminations or material waste due to refurbishment of infested goods is required, as Valpas works effectively as a full solution to bed bugs, proactively.

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Hip and clean rooms free of toxins. “They are not large, ranging from thirteen to thirty-five square meters, but certainly unique in their kind,” explains Xavier.

"I was struck by how Valpas has a code of values ​​that are respect; courage; openness, meaning being honest and proactive in sharing information, ideas, and feelings; learning, that stands for listen, experiment, and grow together; focus, that is to believe in being present and do the right thing to achieve the goal.  In the end, they are also our own values ​​as a hotel,” he explains.

Guests from all over the world: all are welcome, just no bed bugs

“Our hotel is frequented by both international tourists and many locals.  I am convinced this is a very important experience for our guests, who come mainly from the United States, England, Germany, Holland, and Scandinavia, as well as Italy and Spain,” notes Xavier.  "Pets are welcome here, and this requires even more attention to hygiene and cleanliness, which Valpas guarantees,” he specifies.

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An inviting space. “We always see more and more people coming here with their computers to work. We also like to be a home for our guests,” Xavier points out.

If you sleep at the Hotel Le Pigalle Paris, you will hear stories of people and places of the most vibrant Paris; you will try the croissants that come from the bakery nearby; you will read the books selected from the neighborhood bookshop; and you will listen to the music chosen by the DJs of Pigalle.  With the revolutionary Valpas bed bug safety standard onboard, you sleep with sweet dreams, not even worrying about what might be crawling on you – at the hotel or after the trip at home.

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“We have seven hundred books currently scattered around the rooms and hotel, as well as over five hundred vinyl records," says Xavier Hue.

Insider tips, and a new community of thoughtful travelers

Pigalle was also the backdrop to the famous film “Amélie,” and you can retrace the steps to some of its scenes, such as the Café des Deux Moulins, 15 Rue Lepic, where the protagonist worked.  “I grew up in the 18th Arrondissement.  All of the staff and I can offer advice to our customers.  Personally, I really like Pantruche and Vava, both traditional French bistros, and the Lulu White club, for good cocktails and listening to good jazz music, in an environment reminiscent of the Paris of the ‘70s and ‘80s,” he says.

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A Parisian experience. “90% of the guests in our restaurant are Parisians. In a few months, we will open a new restaurant next to the hotel, probably with Lebanese cuisine,” Xavier shares excitedly.

“As the CEO and co-founder Martim Gois envisions, I hope that Valpas, in addition to offering clean and safe stays, since it also acts as a travel agency, becomes a ‘place,’ a platform where a community of informed and aware travelers can meet, those who are curious and have a passion to discover different places and cultures, like new clubs and trends, art and music, good gastronomy, high-tech and innovation,” Xavier concludes.

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