Martial Gil, Vice President Sales, MEA, CIS, and LATAM, Hansgrohe SE, discusses adapting to changing customer needs, hotel bathroom renovations in the region, the latest offerings, staying ahead of the competition, sustainability, and the importance of personalization and customization in the industry.

By Roma Arora

Could you please explain your role at Hansgrohe and how your professional experience has added value to the brand?

I’ve been with the company for 22 years, firstly working in the European market. I’ve been the managing director of France for eight years, which is one of the world’s largest markets, and I’ve also supported a number of markets throughout Europe. Since 2018, I’ve been the vice president for, an expansive region, which includes the Middle East, Africa, Central Asia, and Latin America. We have local companies in some countries, and local partners in others, but we sell our goods all over the world.

With the changing times in sanitary and other bathroom accessories, how can you prepare yourself to evolve with the needs of guests and how to best offer them?

We are developing and manufacturing premium sanitary fittings and showers. Our task is to bring the best possible solutions at every price point for interior designers, architects, and end consumers. With our 5,500 colleagues we work hard to set the trends in design, function sustainability and user experience in the bathroom. For instance, we started the special finishes journey more than 10 years ago and today we are seeing a lot of matte black merchandise for which we started building factories five years ago; it doesn’t happen overnight. This is the result of the appropriate planning and execution. 

It takes three years to develop a new collection. As a result, we are currently working on the collections for 2026-27. And we already have a product pipeline in place to meet the market’s future demands based on various technologies, sustainability, and water-saving approaches.

We talk constantly about trends and materials, and how, in the coming years, we will most likely need to recycle more than we do now. And because this is the road we are taking as a manufacturer we will most likely have alternative materials in the future. 

Hotel bathroom renovations are on the upswing in the region. How challenging are these tasks, and what renovation projects are you working on?

As a global leader in shower and faucets we have an important role in supporting our hospitality partners with the best sustainable solutions for their facilities. We recognize that if customers can experience the shower experience, the buying decision will be facilitated. We have built a testing center in Germany where our customers can go (it feels like a luxury spa) and try our different products for the 60 minutes required to make a decision. Our main priority is explaining the value, because we are a premium brand selling a durable product. Our objective is always to provide the best value for money.  We convey to a consumer that if they buy a product from Hansgrohe, it will last 15 years, and that the experience they will have in the shower will be superlative and that the water usage will be significantly lower. 

The conceptual SPHERE, part of Green Vision concept study is the area for mental retreat. An armchair with a flexible dome invites you to relax. Through the interplay of light, sounds and warm water vapor infused with essential oils, the dome enables a multi-sensory experience – with minimal consumption of water and energy and thus less CO2e emissions.

How important is it to educate customers about new technology and innovations, and what are you doing about it?

Most end-consumers replace their bathrooms every 16 years. So, when the time comes to buy, we need to make sure that our target audience have access to the right information in order to make the right decision. We have showrooms all across the world where customers can come, try things out, and touch and feel the products. We devote a significant amount of time to training salespeople so they can explain, clarify, and address the queries of customers. 

We also have a lot of engagement with architects and interior designers. Bathroom products are durable products, and our customers value our sustainable approach, timeless design, quality and user experience. Ideally, these products should be purchased with the expectation of using them on a daily basis for more than ten years.

Aside from showrooms, we have a website, social media channels, and we send out a lot of communication to keep the public and our partners and stakeholders well informed. We also have many connections to the plumbing community as plumbers can recommend the items as well as install them. 

What are your current trends, including new colours and finishes?

It’s all about individualization. People desire something unique, something that meets their needs and personality, and this is what we excel at. Most of our products can be purchased in every finish, and we can tweak some of them to make them uniquely yours. And as a company, we provide a wide assortment of products and styles, so you will always find something that fits your needs.

How do you describe luxury in the bathroom?

Luxury is the combination of the right usage of space, perfectly crafted products and the design and finish that fits your needs and personality. 

Another key aspect of luxury is personalization. Somebody else’s perfect bathroom is probably not the right bathroom for you. 

Outstanding design and artisan excellence is also a defining aspect of luxury. With the AXOR brand we enjoy an exciting collaboration with the top world-renowned industrial designers and architects including Philippe Starck and many others, to create world-class products. With every collection our aim is to create a streamlined, simple and uncluttered look, a key example being the Philippe Starck ShowerCollection, where innovative solutions behind the wall make way to perfect designs in front of the wall. This enables really simple installation whilst giving the interior designer absolute creative freedom.

Other partnerships include those with Antonio Citterio and Barber Osgerby, through which we continue to develop creative iconic collections that seamlessly harness the flow of water to deliver a pleasant bathing experience while also adding great visual appeal.

Why is sustainability such an important focus for your company?

We are the company with the green logo and the green history. We continue to place sustainability at the heart of what we do, with water conservation always a key priority. The company is committed to ensuring that by 2030, all of our water-bearing products will be available exclusively with water-saving technologies.  By 2025, Hansgrohe Group will already have converted 75 percent of its overhead and hand-held showers to EcoSmart, technology which reduces the amount of shower water consumed on a daily basis by up to 60%.  Hansgrohe’s EcoSmart overhead and hand showers consume just 8 liters of water per minute, with some managing to use as little as 6 liters. In addition, our “Green Vision” lays out a highly innovative design concept whereby bathrooms will use 90% less water, and we are working towards making that vision a reality.  

Products with AirPower suck in an ample amount of air. So, you can enjoy plump, soft droplets while also consuming less water.

Bathrooms are considered your personal sanctuary; how do your products aid in engaging all of your senses?

Firstly, people must feel at ease with the product, and it must be user-friendly. We design for people of all age groups and lifestyles.  It’s a fact that we are all getting older, so operating complicated buttons and levers while showering or washing is not desirable.   We are very cognizant that our products must function for everyone and we strive to deliver on that.  

The bathroom is supposed to be your personal sanctuary, a place of relaxation and well-being, and where the bathing ritual should be straightforward, offering a pampering pleasurable experience.  Some of our shower system products even combine a variety of spray modes which can be altered depending on the mood of the user – alternating between a rigorous pummel for a massaging experience or a fine powder spray for a more gentle ritual.  

Bathrooms can only feel good if they look good.  We continuously follow the evolution of bathroom design while providing our customers with new and aesthetically outstanding products that are of the highest quality manufacture. When you combine this proposition with our keen focus on individualization, our offering is highly distinctive.  It’s why our products are incorporated into the most esteemed residential and hospitality projects across the world and why we are so proud of our heritage and vision.