Two weeks before his Master’s Degree in International Hotel Management finals at Vatel, Accor Group contacted Romain with a job offer as Sales Coordinator at Sofitel in London. Four months later, he was promoted to Sales Executive, and less than a year later, “head-hunted” to become Sales Manager at the five-star ANdAZ Liverpool Street London, a trendy hotel in the Hyatt Group. Here’s how Romain was able to build that very effective resume.
Romain, how did you decide what type of education you wanted?
First of all, I wanted to be a chef, as I had always loved cooking and I did a vocational cooking degree in New Caledonia, and then a professional high school diploma in Paris. I’ve always admired the eye for the tiniest detail our famous French chefs have and their work. They’re the ambassadors of our gastronomic heritage throughout the world. When I was doing my internships in Australia, Noumea and Tahiti, I became aware of all the types of jobs that the international hospitality and tourism industry has to offer. So I decided to continue my studies with a two-year vocational degree and then a Bachelor’s degree in French Polynesia. Then I worked for a year in London and took the Vatel entrance exam to start my Master’s degree.
Do you have fond memories?
My time at Vatel was very positive and truly enriching. High quality presentations given by hospitality specialists, a global overview of the hospitality industry in subjects that we studied, but most of all, and for me that’s the key point, is Vatel’s reputation that I was able to measure when I did my first internship at the Shangri-La Paris. I really believe that the internships we do when we’re students impacts our professional careers. I was in the Sales and Marketing department. It was really interesting to organize prestigious events and to meet people known all over the world.
At the same time you were doing your second year at Vatel, you were taking courses at the French Military School in Paris. Tell us about that.
I decided to do these courses because armies, generally speaking, and in France in particular, have a good reputation for their skills in managing troops. During my officer’s training, I was able to learn another type of authority, to develop leadership skills and learn the importance of a well-built team. If you want to take management lessons outside of a company, there’s no better way than to study the history of management with officers in an army.
Can you tell us about this “new generation” hotel that you’re working in?
It’s like the Apple Store of the hospitality industry. A free and lively atmosphere with few barriers between guests and employees. If you take the example of a front desk: there’s no desk or counter top with a visual connotation: “bill to be paid here.” It’s got a Conran table, team members have iPads and sit down with you in comfortable sofas and ask if you’d like something to drink. Another example: though masculine staff members wear suits, they don’t wear ties, as is the custom in other more traditional hotels.
As for my job, I’m in charge of developing the MICE markets, Entertainment, Sports and Off and Online Wholesalers. It’s a very complete job with true responsibilities. Top management is very open-minded and regularly challenges me in my job.
What are your upcoming projects?
I’ve got a lot of them, but for now, my short-term goal is to perfectly master my new Sales Manager functions that I started in the summer of 2014. After having worked in large international groups, my mid-term goal is to stay with Hyatt Group, because they have real opportunities for their staff members. In addition to that, London is an exceptional city for someone who wants to have a career in hospitality. In Great Britain, there’s a true work ethic: if you’re looking for jobs that match your aspirations and skills, you’ll quickly find some in London.