Winner of the Airplus 2021 innovation award, Raphaëlle Borneuf is back with a new lounge at the Montparnasse station.
Signage not being the strong point of the Paris-Montparnasse train station, you have to look hard to find the new Bonport waiting lounge. Located in the shopping aisle opposite track 21, this 60 square meter space has about 20 seats, with multiple configurations to isolate yourself, work with others or relax while waiting for your train in the lounge area. Set up around a central bar where the hostess offers drinks, pastries and snacks to travelers, the lounge has a warm decor inspired by the great hours of Montparnasse, the railroad cruises
of yesteryear and the codes of today’s design hotel industry. It’s a
far cry from the cold, standardized world of the new Grand Voyageur lounge located at the other end of Hall 1. Above all, Bonport has two private, soundproofed bubbles that can accommodate 2 or 4 people for a meeting or video conference
a café-office equipped with secure high-speed wifi, a hybrid space that attracts 90% of business customers who come with or without reservations
” Our lounge is a café-office equipped with secure high-speed wifi, a hybrid space that attracts 90% of business customers who come with or without a reservation via our website,” explains Raphaëlle Borneuf, the founder and general manager of Bonport. Users can even eat snacks purchased in the station’s takeaway shops. ” This solves the issue of lunchtime catering, as some users settle in for several hours – without boarding any TGV -, using our lounge as a coworking space. Employees with offices close to the station also reserve our bubbles to hold meetings or video conferences in peace and quiet
,” she adds. To succeed in this launch, the startup is relying on word of mouth and dynamic communication with companies (via buyers, travel managers, executive assistants, etc.) and on social networks.
A goal of five trade shows in 2023
Co-financed by the Ile-de-France region, this show marks the startup’s relaunch, which currently has business angels and businessman Laurent Dassault as a “wise investor” in its capital, says Raphaëlle Borneuf. The first salon opened in 2019 in Lille Flandres station did not survive the crisis.
It is also the result of the sharp decline in business travel over the past two years. ” However, Covid has validated our concept with the increased nomadism of work modes and business travelers who need to isolate themselves to communicate and videoconference,” she says. With a target of five sites by 2023, Bonport intends to establish itself in other stations in the capital, as well as in airports and urban centers. ” The expectations of our customers at Paris-Montparnasse help us define our priorities in terms of locations in Parisian stations,” says the young director. With Paris-Lyon at the top of the list? The fundraising planned for the middle of the year should enable us to meet this opening target.
Bonport plays on accessibility without a subscription
In Paris stations, Bonport does not see itself as a competitor to the Grand Voyageur lounges but rather as a complementary player. The SNCF, through its subsidiary Gares & Connexions, has supported our establishment as part of an improvement in the service offer in stations,” says Raphaëlle Borneuf. The main difference lies in the fact that access to SNCF lounges is statutory, accessible with certain tickets or Pro memberships, whereas Bonport is open to all for an entrancefee. And to mention as an example those groups of employees who cannot all access the lounges of a carrier in stations and airports, which is not the case here. In order to stand out and spread, Bonport is banking on the functionality and confidentiality provided by its lounge, without forgetting the pleasure aspect through a lifestyle decoration. Bonport also intends to take advantage of this last point to develop an event activity via the rental of this space by companies for evening cocktails.
- Rates : 12,90€/pers. for 1 hour
- 42€ per hour for each private bubble
- Opening hours: 7:30 am to 8 pm on weekdays, 7 pm on Saturdays, closed on Sundays.
I’m Michelle, and I love to travel. As a former hotel expert for one of the world’s largest hotel chains, I’ve stayed in nearly every type of room imaginable (including many that were not so desirable!). Nowadays, I am fortunate enough to be able to explore the world on my own terms. From international flights to learning different languages, there is nothing too far out of reach!