- Club Med
Club Méditerranée Type Public (Euronext: CU) Industry Tourism Founded 1950 Headquarters Paris, France
Miami Blue "Lagoon", Florida
Key people Henri Giscard d'Estaing, Chairman of the Board
Michel Wolfovski, Executive Vice President and CFO
Revenue € 1.360 billion (2009) Employees 20,333 Website www.clubmed.com
Club Méditerranée (Euronext: CU), commonly known as Club Med, is a French corporation of vacation resorts found in many parts of the world, usually in exotic locations. It is considered the original all-inclusive resort.
The Club was started in 1950 by former Belgian water polo champion, Gérard Blitz. The first village opened on the Spanish island of Mallorca. The original villages were simple with members staying in unlit straw huts on a beachfront, sharing communal washing facilities. Such villages have been replaced with modern blocks or huts with ensuite facilities.
In 1961, the company was purchased by the 35-year-old Baron Edmond de Rothschild, after he had visited a resort and enjoyed his stay. With Rothschild financing, the number of villages increased greatly under the leadership of Gilbert Trigano from 1963 to 1993. Winter villages, providing skiing and winter sports tuition, were introduced starting in 1956 with the village at Leysin, Switzerland. In 1955 the first club outside the Mediterranean was opened, in Tahiti. The North American market was later entered with an "American Zone" of villages in the Caribbean and Florida where English rather than French was the main language.
Originally attracting mainly singles and young couples, the Club later became primarily a destination for families, with the first Mini Club opening in 1967.
The Club has also ceased to be a club in the legal sense, changing from a not-for-profit association to a for-profit public limited company (French SA) in 1995. The concept of membership has been retained with each customer charged a joining and annual membership fee.
In the 1990s, the Club's fortunes declined as competitors copied its concepts and holidaymakers demanded more sophisticated offerings. Serge Trigano took over from his father but was replaced in 1997 by Philippe Bourguignon, former CEO of EuroDisney.
Bourguignon aimed to change the Club "from a holiday village company to a services company". The club took over a chain of French gyms, launched bar/restaurant complexes Club Med World in Paris and Montreal and commenced a budget resort concept aimed at young adults, Oyyo with its first resort at Monastir in Tunisia. Thirteen new villages were planned for the new century.
The change in strategy was not successful and the Club fell deeply into loss in the downturn following the 11 September 2001 attacks in the USA. In 2002 a new CEO, Henri Giscard d'Estaing, was appointed. A new strategy was announced, returning to a focus on the holiday villages and for upmarket vacationers. Oyyo, Club Med World Montreal and many villages, particularly those in North America or with more basic facilities, were closed. The Club returned to profit in 2005.
In 2004, the hotel group Accor became the largest shareholder, but it sold most of its stake in 2006, announcing that it wished to refocus on its core businesses. From 2001 on, the resort company worked to rebrand itself as upscale and family-oriented.
In 2006 and 2007, Club Med and its partners dedicated a total of $530 million to renovate and revamp the group’s portfolio of offerings. 2006 saw Club Med close five of its more rudimentary resorts and upgrade many others (Club Med Cancun Nov 2006, Mexico ; Club Med La Caravelle, Guadeloupe nov 2006; Club Med La Plagne, French Alps; Club Med Opio in Provence, France; Club Med Albion 5 Trident, Mauritius; Club Med Ixtapa Pacific, Mexico 2007). Three of Club Med's oldest resorts have recently gone through a major re-vamp: Club Med Bali, the oldest Club Med outside of France, has recently gone through a 15 million dollar make-over; Club Med Ria Bintan, with a 10 million dollar make-over, Club Med Punta Cana 40 million.
In 2008 Club Med launched a new advertising campaign “Where Happiness Means the World.” More than 25 million euros were invested in this campaign in 24 countries. In 2010 Club Med will open its first new Resort in China in Yabuli (snow resort), in Sinay, Egypt Club Med Sinay Bay. In 2010, Club Med will also reopen after a complete transformation its Resort at Club Sandpiper Bay, Florida. Known as the only family allinclusive resort in the United States, Sandpiper Bay will become the flagship of Club Med “Premium Sports” resorts. The resort will close for renovations on August 20, 2010, with a grand opening on December 18, 2010. This resort will be unique as it will host an Elite Academy of Tennis led by Gabriel Jaramillo former tennis director of the Nick Bollettieri Academy and who coached #1 and famous ATP and WTA players, Agassi, Sharapova, Pierce, Rios, Haas, Kournikova...) and Golf Academy with 16 golf courses led by Brad Brewer for the Golf Channel.
Clientele today is affluent and 70% Family, 20% Couples, 10% Singles.
Each resort provides a list of services and activities in one single package. This includes lodging, food, use of facilities, sports activities, games, and shows. Certain items such as premium alcoholic beverages require the use of beads or tickets as a form of payment. Most villages now are all-inclusive for well alcohol.
Club Med staff are called "GOs", or Gentils Organisateurs (Gracious/Nice Organizers). Clients are "GMs", or Gentils Membres (Gracious/Nice Guests/Members). The resort is known as a village. The resort manager is called the chef de village (Village Chief).
The special feature of Club Med is that the GOs and GMs play, dine, drink, and dance together every day and night. Outdoor buffet dining (usually on tables of eight, mixing GMs and GOs), daytime sport-playing, and evening shows with extensive audience participation, are part of the holiday experience.
A particular institution is the communal dance or crazy signs led by the GOs at varying intervals during the day and evening (the frequency varies by village). The dance steps for each song are standard across the organisation with some new ones introduced each year. The evening shows, often requiring detailed choreography, are also standardised and include both new and established routines.
GOs are moved between villages and many work both winter and summer seasons. All GOs, regardless of their area of specialty (a sport or administrative function), are expected to regularly participate in both the show and "crazy signs". Their work is supplemented by locally-recruited support staff such as cleaners and cooks, known as "GEs" or Gentils Employés (Gracious/Nice Employees).
There are 15,000 GOs of 96 different nationalities working in the villages around the world and most of them reside in the village.
Most villages are designed for families, with villages providing daytime supervised facilities for children: the "Baby", "Petit", "Mini", "Junior's" clubs and 12 Passworld facilities worldwide which offer a special hang out space for 11- to 17-year-olds.
The villages are now divided into three different types:
- Family resorts : villages with children's Clubs and activities for teenagers, offering relaxation and leisure activities, and welcoming families, couples and friends.
- Resorts for everyone : villages with no Club facilities for children and teenagers but welcoming couples, families and friends.
- Resorts for adult only : adults-only villages, from 18 years, offering entertainment, relaxation, sports and leisure activities to friends, singles or couples.
As of November 2010 the resort company operates 80 villages in Europe, Africa and Middle East, North America, Mexico, the Caribbean, South America, Asia, Australia, Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean.
The Club's 2006 advertising slogan is: "Discover the new Club Med, refined, exceptional, a la carte". In 2008 Club Med launched a new worldwide advertising campaign entitled "Where Happiness Means the World". Previous Club Med advertising slogans included "The Club Med Vacation... The Antidote to Civilization", and "Club Med... Life as It Should Be."
Club Med villas
Club Med is constructing and selling 40 Club Med Villas at La Plantation d'Albion on the island of Mauritius. Ranging from 2-4 bedrooms and priced between 992,000€ and 1,590,000€, each villa comes furnished, with air conditioning and features its own swimming pool. Owners can take part in the amenities and activities in the village. Additionally, owners can allow Club Med to rent out their villas when they are not occupied.
Two new resorts will be opening in the end 2010: Yabuli in China and Sinai Bay in Egypt. In line with its objective to attract China's upscale market, three other village projects at seaside or cultural destinations in China have been initiated and planned to open between 2010 and 2014. Additional villages are planned in Buzios (Brazil), reopening Cefalu (Sicily) and in the Sultanate of Oman.
Club Med in film
The Club Med style of vacation was satirised in the 1978 film, Les Bronzés (released in English as French Fried Vacation) directed by Patrice Leconte. Sequels Les Bronzés font du ski and Les Bronzés - Amis pour la Vie were released in 1979 and 2006 respectively.
Jim Carrey and Alan Thicke star in 1983's Copper Mountain: A Club Med Experience, set at the now-closed Club Med village in the U.S. ski resort at Copper Mountain, Colorado. The Club Med village is now employee housing, dubbed The EDGE.
A TV movie was made by the ABC network in 1986 titled Club Med. It starred Jack Scalia, Linda Hamilton, and Patrick Macnee. It also featured appearances by Bill Maher, Sinbad, and Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine.
There is a song by Camper Van Beethoven called "Club Med Sucks". The song's fictional narrator is satirized; the title of the song refers to the narrator's parent's decision to go to Club Med.
There is a horror movie titled Club Dread, a play on the Club Med name.
In the Pink Panther series, The Pink Panther makes a reference to Club Med in the episode "Momma's Boy".
In The Simpsons episode "Bart Gets Hit by a Car," one of Dr. Nick Riviera's diplomas reads "Club Med School". In the episode, "Little Big Mom," Bart says that he and Homer, who have been sent to a leper colony in Hawaii due to a since-discovered trick played on them by Lisa, plan to "put our fake sores back on, then jump into Club Med and scare the normals." In the episode "Wild Barts Can't Be Broken", Bart and some other kids have to clean an advertising for a curfew and Chief Wiggum tells them: "Don't forget to clean under the jowls. That spot is Club Med for mildew!"
In 2004, a Korean TV drama broadcast by MBC titled First Love of a Royal Prince was filmed in Club Med Bali, Sahoro and Bora Bora. In the drama, the main actress, Sung Yu-ri played as Kim Yu Bin who works as a GO.
- ^ Faith, Nicholas (4 November 1997). "Obituary: Baron Edmond de Rothschild". The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/obituary-baron-edmond-de-rothschild-1292054.html. Retrieved 2009-03-29.
- ^ Gilbert Trigano, a Developer of Club Med, Is Dead at 80 By JOHN TAGLIABUE Published: February 6, 2001
- ^ http://www.accor.com/gb/upload/pdf/CM_VA1.pdf
- ^ Marcus, Greil. Lipstick Traces. Picador.
- Club Méditerranée consumer website
- Club Méditerranée corporate website
- Club Med Planet Community site for GM, GO and XGO
CAC Mid 60 companies of France (19 September 2011)
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