A video on YouTube? That’s how the 200-plus staff of the newly-opened Park Hyatt Chennai showcased themselves and the hotel to viewers

Waiters in masks. Masseurs in wigs. Chefs playing air guitar. The Park Hyatt Chennai has just opened with a big virtual splash.

A video of the hotel’s 200-plus staff recently made a debut on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Titled ‘From Ibiza to Chennai’ (signifying how the chain’s hotels span the globe), it led viewers through the hotel, guided by earnestly dancing staff outfitted with zany accessories. A relatively long video — by YouTube standards — it comprised nine and a half minutes of flash mobs, B-boying and exaggerated pouty poses. All held together by Chris Brown’s ‘Beautiful People’, illustrated by flambéing chefs, bottle-juggling bar tenders and break dancing managers in meticulous suits.

Park Hyatt Chennai’s General Manager Yann Gillet, a self-confessed tech-addict and social media fan, who shot the video with his handy camera says he stuck to a lip-dub to showcase the staff, and enable them to guide viewers through the new hotel. (A Lip Dub is a style of music video recording that combines lip synching and audio dubbing. It’s generally done in one single shot that travels through different rooms of a building.) Hence the video also functions as a guide to the property. Which makes it an unusual unveiling. “Mainly because nobody has seen the Park Hyatt yet,” says Yann. “We have been keeping the interiors a secret. We wanted the staff to show the hotel to the world. They are the soul of the hotel, after all. Through them you discover The Apartment, peep into the Flying Elephant restaurant, look into the lobby…”

Discussing the making of the video, Yann says, “I recorded it on my handycam. Nothing fancy. It was just an amateur video we shot at 6 a.m., edited by evening and uploaded immediately.” Nevertheless, it took four weeks of work. “People would practise during their lunch breaks, and after their shifts.” Choreographed by Tamanna Yadav, the hotel’s Training Officer, along with the HR team, the lip-dub shows off all the hotel’s in-house dancers. “You just got that in your DNA,” smiles Yann, “Everyone here is a great dancer. Me? I have two left feet.” He adds, “We also have a really young staff. The average age here is 26. And they love to party!” The shoot begins with the HR department and then moves through sales and finance, housekeeping, front office, the spa… “Everyone is in the video,” says Yann, “There isn’t a single person working here who is left out.”

It’s important to him, he says, because the central idea was to have a final party before the Park Hyatt was handed over to its guests. “As hoteliers, we are always on stage. We are actors. The only time we can relax is when there are no guests around.” He adds, “We decided to debut it at a fantastic party, which we did. We screened the video the night before the hotel opened. And it was great. Everyone was dancing and singing along with it… People love seeing themselves on screen!”

The lip-dub’s also Yann’s signature. “I did one in South Africa, to celebrate the World Cup.” (He was previously at the Hyatt Regency in Johannesburg.)

‘Chennai to Ibiza’ is unexpectedly working out to be an effective advertisement, even though Yann says it was not really targeted at potential guests. “It’s created quite a buzz on Facebook,” he says. There have been almost 1300 views on You Tube so far. Yann’s hoping it will end up being an effective recruitment tool. “Chennai is not the sexiest destination,” he says, talking of how it can be challenging to find people willing to relocate to this city. “I want people to see this and think, ‘We can move — because it looks like it’s a lot of fun working there.’”

Check out ‘Ibiza to Chennai’ on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/



Shonali MuthalalyMay 11, 2012