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When you study at Les Roches, you create friends for life all around the world. Sometimes you remain acquaintances, but sometimes that friendship can blossom into a business – for Massimo Chiappo, that was certainly the case. He founded M Chiappo Luxury Destinations Hospitality Consulting Firm, working alongside fellow Les Roches alumnus Steve Tsai.
Massimo’s first job after graduating was in Asia. “I was working at the Sherwood Hotel, where Steve had a senior management position,” he said. Massimo stayed in Asia for five years, but he and Steve would meet up whenever they could to catch up. “Steve’s daughter Elisabeth has just completed her first term at Les Roches, and since he was in Europe quite often we would meet and talk about old times, the kids and so on. From that, we decided to set up this venture. It happened quite spontaneously.”
Chinese travellers seek customised high services, the kind they normally receive in hotels…The travel and transportation side doesn’t always provide the standards they expect. This has led us to finding a niche in the market.
Working with a fellow Les Roches graduate has many benefits, according to Massimo. “Working with a hotelier and alumnus, just like myself, helps a lot,” he said. “We share the same career, we know what customers expect and we predict their needs. The partnership was successful straight away.”
According to statistics from the China National Tourism Administration, more and more Chinese tourists are travelling overseas for their vacations. This has led to Massimo collaborating with Steve on a project to provide custom luxury travel services to Chinese tourists, enabling them to visit Switzerland, Italy and Monaco. “Chinese travellers seek customised high services, the kind they normally receive in hotels,” Massimo explained. “The travel and transportation side doesn’t always provide the standards they expect. This has led us to finding a niche in the market.”
In time what was simply a friendship can turn into a cooperation, a business opportunity or a contact in another country.
For Massimo, luxury means “a state-of-the-art service that goes beyond fulfilling the needs of the customer.” What does the customer expect when they’re searching for a luxury destination? “They want to be in a glamorous place,” he said. “Where everything is possible and status and service are the main factors, rather than price.”
For Massimo, staying close with alumni has been incredibly valuable. “I’d advise students to stay in touch with their school friends,” he said. “Nowadays, of course, it’s easier to do so, what with smartphones and social media. But you never know – in time what was simply a friendship can turn into a cooperation, a business opportunity or a contact in another country. Strong connections last a lifetime.”
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