John Paul expands in the Americas

LONDON—Concierge services provider John Paul appointed a new Americas CEO this summer and has plans to continue its momentum by broadening its platform through personnel expansion, “brand hospitality,” and digitally enabled solutions driven by the element of human touch.

“We want to broaden our platform, so we can best service clients,” said Amber Treshnell, who the concierge services provider tapped as its Americas CEO in July with the expectation of seeing continued growth in the region.

Treshnell, who has worked in several industries throughout her career, views hospitality as an experience-driven industry. “Whether a client is traveling for business and needs everything to flow smoothly or celebrating a special occasion with a night out, that should be memorable; our concierges are uniquely positioned to bring dreams to life,” she explained. “We have both a responsibility and an honor that doesn’t exist elsewhere.”

She first came across John Paul several years ago when a client had mentioned the provider. “I kept hearing about how John Paul was leading the industry in terms of technology, innovation and personalization, and this is one of the reasons why I was so excited to join them as CEO,” Treshnell said. “I came into the role knowing a great deal about John Paul from my previous market research, and I used (and continue to use) a longtime network of mentors as a sounding board.”

Despite being familiar with the brand, she immersed herself within John Paul culture from day one. “The best way to prepare for a role like this is to get to know the people on an individual basis,” she said. “I met with every team member to learn about what they need to be successful, what was working well, what could be improved and how our customers in one market may different from that in another.” For her, the transition has been seamless; she credits that to John Paul’s team.

Even though this is her first time in a C-suite role, she stepped into the top spot prepared, Treshnell believes. “Any time you’re coming into a new role, it can be a challenge, but I’ve been fortunate to be able to draw on my experience in the concierge industry, as well as in verticals such as banking, where many of our customers sit,” she said.

AccorHotels acquired John Paul about a year ago to generate new revenue streams. The latter employs more than 1,000 people on five continents. The combined company now has access to 6,500 hotels, 5,500 restaurants, 50,000 suppliers and 10,000 partnerships. It now can access 250,000 employees, including 20,000 concierges, worldwide.

“This network is both wide and deep, which allows us to offer our members more privileges and options than anyone else can,” she said. “Behind the scenes, it means we have the resources, human capital, buying power, technology and infrastructure to provide an unrivaled level of personalized service to major brands around the world.”

John Paul has had a presence in North America since 1987, but it’s not opposed to growing its footprint in the region, and that’s what the brand has tasked Treshnell with. “We’re humbled by our roster of U.S. clients, which include some of the top consumer, finance and manufacturing companies,” she said. “Since I assumed my role last summer, a number of U.S. contracts have been renewed or extended, and other large partnerships are nearly signed.” She contributes the brand’s size, global scale and influence to the concierge services provider’s continued success and forward momentum.

Broadening John Paul’s platform includes adding teams to the brand’s current offices in Toronto, San Francisco and Miami. Plans are already underway to unveil a New York headquarters. The new office is expected to have an innovation lab to showcase new concierge tools and inspire brands with what John Paul calls “brand hospitality,” the next level of CRM.

“Our founder and global CEO, David Amsellem, talks about it often,” Treshnell said. “The idea is that brands previously had the ability to target customers and foster relationships using CRM. Now that the power has shifted to the consumer’s pocket, and he or she chooses which brands to engage with, the old ways of doing business aren’t enough. John Paul is here to help brands become more desirable and turn purchases into engaging, memorable experiences that will drive customer loyalty.”

With the brand hospitality concept behind everything it does, John Paul in the Americas will continue to leverage tools and practices from AccorHotels and the broader hospitality industry. “Our vision is to pair these resources with our experience,” she said. “Because we’re a global leader in concierge services, and we have the backing of one of the world’s premier hospitality companies, we are uniquely positioned to pioneer brand hospitality.” As no two programs are exactly alike, John Paul works with its clients to support the complete strategy they have, rather than just addressing the concierge component.

“We believe the best programs feature dedicated and unique services and benefits,” she said. “They start with an understanding of the customer and what motivates his or her loyalty, and require knowledge of what that same customer will consider a perk. In many cases, it’s not about an overt reward, but about an ongoing sense of recognition.

The platform combines digital with human touch. “We say that our solution is digitally enabled with a human touch because technology enables us to do incredible things, but the human element will always be essential,” Treshnell said. 

“As industry innovators, it’s an exciting time for John Paul,” Treshnell said. “We’re planning to introduce new, cutting-edge technology and digital platforms that will ultimately change the landscape of how consumers interact with concierges.”

The company plans to deliver more than 1,000 microservices bots in 2018. This is in addition to adding new technology infrastructure, which will include voice analytics and building upon John Paul’s natural language processing.

“And, of course, exciting new partnerships our clients will love are in the works,” she said. HB

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