Powered by an innovating digital tool, vendom.jobs, THE VENDOM COMPANY is entirely dedicated to supporting the actors of luxury hospitality and starred gastronomy. Beyond the platform, VENDOM Premium is the human side of this tool. Laetitia Girard-Mouline, general manager of THE VENDOM COMPANY, presents her creation and development prospects, namely through the creation of regional licences. On this last point, Céline Teppe, general manager of the Swiss licence, VENDOM Premium Switzerland, depicts one year of activity on the Swiss territory – a first year rich in encounters, learning and new development ideas. Passion, enthusiasm, and sharing are the tokens of VENDOM Premium subsidiaries.
Céline Teppe, general manager VENDOM Premium Switzerland
Vendom.jobs – What is the genesis of VENDOM Premium? What statements stand behind its creation?
Laetitia Girard-Mouline – VENDOM Premium was created to complete the exclusive network vendom.jobs. With a passion for human relationships, I could simply not conceive a mere digital tool, without having a back-office bustling with an active team of hoteliers. To that end, I divided our services into two major axes: the network and the tailored employment agency, which are both complementary.
The employment agency first developed on the French-speaking market. VENDOM PREMIUM France has been active for more than 5 years. In view of our encounters and exchanges with hoteliers, we realized there was a major interest in developing this licence with other passionate hoteliers, consistently with market requirements. Our aim is to be close to customers and candidates alike. We are committed to talking about our industry like impresarios.
Since our creation, we have supported more than 15 openings on the European territory and obtained a position for more than 300 applicants. We deeply respect our candidates, whom we follow and guide in their career plan. This is the beginning of a beautiful human adventure, built beyond borders.
V.J. – What are, in your view, the main recruitment issues today? How can they be overcome?
L. G.-M. – Nowadays, we are facing two major assessments in luxury accommodation recruitment, namely the desired candidates’ profiles and, consequently, the difficulty for the recruiter in finding the rare gem.
Talents exist, we know it today from our experience. However, our support develops through training, according to the applicants’ different competences and personalities, which also represent their value.
I believe that today, many establishments are less and less willing to give atypical profiles a chance. However, the current crisis will generate career shifts, different professional expectations, and requests for balance between professional and personal lives, and we will have to face it all. Therefore, our role will have to be motivating and convincing, particularly in proving that our profession is a real wealth.
Let me dwell on the notion of rare gem. In my opinion, it is of primary importance to concentrate on the human aspect of our interviews in order to find the talents recruiters wish for. We will certainly not stand out, and neither will the candidate for that matter, by filling in all the boxes on the form.
Our philosophy consists in focusing on attitude rather than aptitude (reference to Mr Jean-Claude Messan, renowned hotelier and GM of the famous Royal Mansour Marrakesh). This is a far more important approach than it seems when trying to find the rare gem.
Lastly, the COVID-19 crisis will undoubtedly shake the recruitment world in the next months, with a real reassessment of all its actors. The solution will not lie in haste, but in a pro-active reaction in dealing with the disruptions that await us.
To make it simple: the human side will have to be placed again in the spotlight of recruitment.
V.J. – How does VENDOM Premium stand out on the recruitment market?
L. G.-M. – VENDOM’s DNA makes it stand apart. Since its inception, our attention is focused on trusting personalities, passionate talents, and workers. The ambition of every one of us pushes us to our limits, besides giving us the faculty to reassess ourselves and quickly respond to changing events. We try, we make mistakes, and readjust ourselves to stand up again.
VENDOM Premium offers to major accommodation professionals the opportunity to become their own managers, by making a transition from employee to businessman.
Our role is to guide them on the various aspects this change encompasses on all levels: legal, financial, commercial, human resources, digital and communication support. These are all independent but get the flawless support of a team of experts. This kind of environment is profitable to all: to our VENDOM Premium licensed contractors, who can trust a reliable and professional structure, but also to our customers, who can count on a constant quality of the VENDOM Premium services, regardless of their region.
Our agencies stand out because they are integrated into a local market. They know the customs and habits of the areas where they operate. For these reasons, they can address all arising issues. Our licences (Switzerland, Pacific, Iberian countries, etc.) have a perfect knowledge of the field: consequently, they can properly advise a candidate upon his/her arrival, with the authorities etc.
We want to give a fresh impetus to our hoteliers who wish to have their own company, by providing positive support, an international quality network and a company able to federate around both the human aspect (recruitment) and the passionate side (luxury accommodation and starred gastronomy) in a constructive common momentum.
V.J. – What are its current development axes? On a regional level?
L. G.-M. – We signed an Iberian and Pacific licence: one will deal with Spain and Portugal, the other with French Polynesia, New Caledonia, and the Fiji.
VENDOM remains set on two main axes: the network (the federating media) and the specialised placement agency (human support).
In each market, we federate other actors who play an essential role in hotel interdependence, like local producers, top-of-the-range suppliers, associations, and schools. Each actor belongs to the profitable chain that ensures a smooth continuity of our institutions. We will be an active support for all.
V.J. – The Swiss licence is almost one year old. What is your assessment of this last year?
L. G.-M. – A wonderful human adventure. It was hard work at the beginning: building a transparent and honest establishment takes time, but that challenging stage brought us much more strength. Céline showed utmost determination. The Swiss market is a very specialized market, based on confidence and requiring time to get to know the professionals and clarify VENDOM’s essence. We organized a meeting with hoteliers, during which they gave us beneficial feedback, advice, and observations. We still have everything to prove and we are ready to support them in a smooth way. All partners are welcome. Once again, we exist to federate in a positive way!
I am immensely proud of what Céline achieved. With her presence, activity, and positive attitude, she was able to derive great benefit from the various difficult stages that she had to face. Today, addressing the COVID-19 crisis as head of a company is another critical process to brave. She is handling the challenge it with flexibility and benevolence towards hoteliers.
Céline Teppe – The most important work, at the beginning, was to make ourselves known on a market shaped by other pre-existing tools and to clearly position ourselves, by promoting our strengths and our specialisation in luxury hospitality and starred gastronomy.
Changing habits is a challenge, whatever the new product or service you are offering. In this regard, VENDOM Premium disrupts all habits with its dynamism, targeted communication, values, and expertise.
During the past months, I took the time to exchange with professionals on their own issues and to meet them in their own environment, to reassure them and show them that VENDOM Premium Switzerland is first and foremost a person, a name, a face. It is also a mark of respect and of confidence.
It was also important for me to demonstrate all the legitimacy of VENDOM Premium and its teams. Each one of us had several years of experience in operational, as well as management positions in luxury accommodation, and we had to support recruiters and candidates in full awareness and knowledge of the actual situation in the field.
There is still much work to do, but the results are incredibly positive. The current context reminds us every day of the importance of the human approach and leads us to a much more personal reflection on our values, a thought which will subsequently become global…
V. J. – What were the main difficulties to overcome at the beginning?
C. T. – As recruitment is a regulated activity in Switzerland, I had to take the necessary steps to obtain both the cantonal authorization, delivered by the employment service (SDE), and the federal authorization delivered by the SECO (Secrétariat d’état à l’économie) before starting any activity on the Swiss ground.
In addition to the validation of my years of professional experience in the hotel industry, I also resumed my studies to obtain my Human Resources Assistant Manager certificate (HRSE).
As required, VENDOM Premium Switzerland has its own independent office, located in Lausanne. This way, VENDOM Premium Switzerland utterly demonstrates the legitimacy of its presence on the Swiss market.
An exclusive platform fully dedicated to the Swiss market was concurrently created (www.vendomjobs.ch) and translated into German to meet the specificities of the market.
V.J. – With its internationally renowned schools, Switzerland is a recruiting ground for future professionals. How could it become a model in terms of recruitment/training?
L. G.-M. – Switzerland is an enthralling country, overflowing with luxury hotels, that knows how to protect its traditions and its history. I immensely respect this country and its brilliant schools that offer the highest level of training. My only regret is that we are not further developing the operational level. Today, management unfolds on the field. Not all candidates will become directors, but all will have to experience in the field, get to know the teams, the inner workings of our profession.
This assessment is global and affects us all. Redefining the lines of our profession means going back to the essence, to what we learned without being involved in a perpetual race towards the highest point. We are all different, some will reach management positions, others will not. It is not a failure, quite the contrary, we are and remain different in our fields of operation.
I know that some schools, like Glion or Ferrières, promote an attitude based on social skills and on a person’s intimate personality. The future of schools lies in the fact that students choose a vocation precisely because of an intimate conviction and not because of the prestige it arouses in others.
C. T. – Since the beginning of the activities of VENDOM Premium Switzerland, I wanted to meet the school heads, to introduce myself and show the importance of a specialized network such as VENDOM Premium for the future young graduates and alumni. The main advantage is a significant increase in the possibilities and network widenings.
Schools have an essential role in various areas: transmitting skills and values by sharing experiences, bringing personal support through the whole curriculum, in tune with the reality of this demanding industry, raising awareness on the role of each party in customer experience, and valorising all hotel professions in the broadest sense.
In my opinion, the generational factor is essential. It forces to reflect on the position and role of every party, and it particularly keeps us in a kind of stimulating dynamics, urging us to go forward, with a constant productive and creative approach. Obviously, we are all bound to learn from one another, and every day is a challenge.
V. J. – In what way did the VENDOM Premium licence contribute to the development of your activity?
C. T. – The VENDOM Premium licence brought a real legitimacy on the Swiss market with solid bases, a unique network, and a real expertise of hospitality careers. It will also be the case for all the other licences on their respective markets.
I like it when there is a structure and a real constructive, transparent, and clear exchange.
Laetitia is a workaholic, full of energy, ideas, and projects. Her role as head of company is backed by a solid experience and strong values. But she also knows how to step back with intelligence and humility. Therefore, her guidance is valuable every single day. When developing an activity, it is even more reassuring to feel guided!
Even at times when I questioned myself about my professional future, I quickly realised that I was stuck with the hotel business. But I also needed to leave my comfort zone and become a “challenger”. Today, I can say that thanks to Laetitia’s coaching, the VENDOM Premium licence, which I bring with all my passion and determination on the Swiss market, is both a personal and a professional achievement. It was an obvious destiny...
V.J. – What can we hope for VENDOM Premium for the year to come?
L. G.-M. – I wish every success to VENDOM Premium with the talents of our new Iberian and Pacific licences. I hope for new human encounters, with strong and challenging personalities, supporting us unlocking other markets. The way is open for anyone wishing to cooperate on a change of orientation and on their desire for independence. We will be there to guide them in their choice to pursue their way in this entrepreneurship. Therefore, I call for a melding of hearts and of intelligence, the door is fully open to everybody.