The Business of Meetings – Episode 122: People, Planet, and Profit with Benoît Sauvage
We are delighted to be speaking with Benoît Sauvage today! Benoît is an international entrepreneur who has worked for French presidents! He owns a DMC and consults on sustainability.
Benoît has some interesting insights for us today! We talk about the DMC and sustainability, and Benoît shares some intriguing information and what he has learned from his unique experiences.
We hope you enjoy listening to our fascinating conversation with Benoît Sauvage today!
Benoît Sauvage, DMCP, CMP, CITP is the founder and CEO of Connect DMC, a leading Destination Management Company in the Dominican Republic and Mexico, as well as the founder and CEO of Hospitality Sustainability Revolution (HSR), a leading consulting firm for hospitality stakeholders worldwide.
Ben was born in Paris, France, and has lived and worked on 3 continents over the years. He brings 25 years of experience in delivering high-end and complex services as a destination expert to worldwide clients and has a passion for creativity, attention to detail, and sustainable practices.
Organizing travel and meetings for presidents
Benoît’s dad worked for the French Presidential and Prime Ministerial press for twenty-five years, arranging all their overseas trips. He was involved with some of the world’s highest decision-makers. As a young man, Benoît got given the chance to join him, to organize all the French Presidential and Prime Ministerial official State Travels. Benoît learned most of what he knows from his father. He loved having the opportunity to collaborate with him.
It was a revelation for Benoît to discover that decisions that can impact the world sometimes get made over a cup of coffee or a drink. It is all about humans doing business with humans. In the end, it all boils down to humans sitting down together to find the best solutions for their country and the world.
The human approach
Benoît tries to apply the same human approach in his company and in all his collaborations.
Benoît could have followed the same path as his dad, but he wanted to do something on his own. He had some great memories of backpacking in Mexico during a summer break, so he decided to move there. He left a month later with one bag and a thousand dollars in his bank account. After arriving in Mexico, he contacted someone he knew who owned a trans-global vacation company, and they gave him a job.
When Benoît arrived back in France, the owner of the trans-global company contacted him to offer him a destination of his own. He accepted before even knowing it was in the Dominican Republic!
Establishing himself in the Dominican Republic
After that, Benoît worked in Africa, Sri Lanka, Spain, and various other countries before he finally established himself in the Dominican Republic twenty-three years ago and opened Connect DMC.
Most people want to know if and when Covid will stop.
Benoît advises everyone to be resilient when facing challenges in life and trust that this too shall pass.
Classify your challenges
Classify your challenges each day and determine which one is most important. Go through that challenge, resolve it, and move on. Then tackle the next challenge.
Know your company
Get to know yourself and everything about your company. Make sure everyone you collaborate with shares the same values and culture you want to implement in your company and consider the value you bring to others within your organization.
You spend more time at your company than you do at home. So your business has to be a happy place where you can express yourself, grow as an individual, and grow your career.
Connect DMC’s recruitment process
The Director of Human Resources at Connect DMC contacts all the candidates that could be a good fit for the company to find out if they are available, what they need, where they are in their career, how they want to grow, and where they want to be. Then, the supervisor that the candidate would report to will interview the candidate and narrow it down to three of the best candidates. Then Benoît makes the final call. When they hire someone, they train them well, which usually ensures that they stay with the company for a long time.
A family-owned company
Connect DMC is a family-owned company, and they are very flexible. All their employees have to have similar views and share the same culture.
Demonstrating your value
To demonstrate your value, know yourself and your culture and find simple ways to express that to your clients.
Connect DMC is known for having destinations that are not easy to operate. Reliable transportation is easy to find, but Connect DMC is everything before, after, and in between. They are about creativity, uniqueness, and using the right talents for their client’s needs, goals, and objectives. They create experiences that people could never find anywhere else.
Things that set you apart from the rest
Anyone can make a promise, but what truly matters, and sets you apart from the rest, is how you deliver, how well you run your operation, and whether you can foresee something that might happen before it happens. It is vital to ensure that your clients are always satisfied. If they are not, you must correct the problem immediately.
Sustainability is not only about caring for the environment. It is also caring about communities, collaborators, and attendees. Connect DMC’s involvement with local communities sets them apart from all other DMCs.
Sustainability in the meetings and events industry
The industry has a three-pillar approach to sustainability:
To avoid failure, you need to concentrate on sustainability from environmental, societal, and economic aspects.
Benoît’s journey into sustainability
Benoît got involved with sustainability seven years ago after thinking about the kind of world he would leave for his sons. After spending seven years learning about sustainability, he wanted to share his knowledge with those around him, so he began speaking about it in the hospitality industry. Since then, he has constantly been showing up wherever there is a need for speeches on sustainability.
Lately, Benoît has developed a passion for space travel and the conquest of Mars.
Hospitality Sustainability Revolution
About two years ago, Benoît opened Hospitality Sustainability Revolution, a consulting company on sustainability. One of their clients is a famous travel to space company. That opened his eyes to how easily the solutions found for the conquest of Mars and the International Space Station could also resolve many of the issues we currently face around food, water, and waste management.
Some simple steps business owners can implement for sustainability
- Do not greenwash! Greenwashing is the enemy of sustainability.
- Reduce the impact of carbon emissions by sharing transportation.
- Switch off lights and computers at night.
- Reduce the amount of waste you produce.
Finding solutions as an industry
We must step away from fear and learn to sit down together as an industry and embrace the industry and sustainability together to find solutions when challenges arise. For face-to-face experiences, we need to make sure that we can gather the data, reduce the emissions, and compensate for whatever we cannot reduce.
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