“Working in luxury hotels requires very specific skills. You have to be able to transmit, in this exceptional environment, sophisticated services, but with simplicity, humility and passion.” Martin Vitte, a Vatel 2009 alumnus is the Sales Manager of one of the most luxurious hotels in Paris, the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome Hotel. Let’s have a closer look at the flamboyant success of this young Vatelien who is just starting his promising career.
What made you want to choose to attend Vatel?
This is one of the very few schools giving a 5 year program in Hotel Management, that includes high-quality and well-known courses, but also reasonable tuition fees. And I won’t hide the fact that I applied to several other schools but their tuition fees were much higher, and Vatel was the logical choice.
What memories do you have of the time you spent at Vatel?
My fondest memories are, without the shadow of a doubt, the theoretical courses on gastronomy and the history of hospitality through the years and in different cultures. For me, these courses embodied Vatel’s philosophy and the dynamics our knowledge is based on: our professor conveyed his knowledge to us with such great passion that I still remember this, with emotion, today.
So Vatel met your expectations?
Vatel and the values the School taught me, are responsible for allowing me to get that very important first job, which gets you started in climbing the corporate ladder. I, like all the other Vateliens, prove that Vatel has fulfilled its mission to train tomorrow’s hotel managers. Learning and experiencing different jobs in hotels, directly at school, in their application structures, developing managerial know-how, in theoretical courses, and testing this knowledge abroad during internships, opened many a door for me in the professional world. Vatel gives us all the keys for the doors of success. Then it’s up to us, to make sure we’ve got the resources, to open then.
Tell us about your participation in the Hyatt Student Prize.
This great adventure would never have happened without the help of Vatel personnel. I thank them all wholeheartedly for what they did, as my career got off the ground thanks to this prestigious competition that professionals in the international hospitality industry really appreciate. Vatel did everything possible so that I could participate and try my luck. I presented my school in the second annual competition, which had just admitted international schools, making the challenge even bigger. I ended up second place in this competition, but this gave me the opportunity to meet key stakeholders in the hospitality industry.
The Hyatt Student Prize was a springboard for the beginning of my professional life; as soon as I graduated, the Park Hyatt Paris Vendome offered me an HMT, or Hotel Management Training course with a specialization in Accommodations and Housekeeping for one year. This is an internal management program at the Hyatt to train future managers in Hyatt’s values. When I finished this program, I left the Vendome Hotel and joined the sales teams at the Hyatt Regency Paris Charles De Gaulle. Large capacity airport hotels are the best places to test your managerial skills and hone them.
Working in this 400 room hotel really gave my career a kick-start, even though it certainly was not a bed of roses. I had several different positions, each time, logically moving up to the next stage: Event Sales Coordinator, Event Sales Executive, Associate Event Manager and Sales Manager. Today I’m convinced that you have to work your way up if you want to have an executive position one day. This experience allowed me to come back to the Park Hyatt Paris Vendome Hotel three years later, for the very prestigious job of Sales Manager in a luxury hotel.
Can you tell us about this job?
My functions consist in establishing, developing and maintaining commercial relationships with companies or agencies who need to acquire person-nights or hold seminars at the Park Hyatt Paris Vendome Hotel. This makes up a large customer portfolio that I’m responsible for, and is a part of my production goals. We have broken this down according to geographical zones, and I’m in charge of the domestic market in France, the UK and Central Europe. My job consists in drawing up commercial contracts or simply commercial relationships to guarantee prices to my customers and expand our teamwork.
What qualities do you need for a job like this?
You have to have empathy, be proactive and never give up.
And what skills do you need?
Detailed knowledge, you could almost say surgical knowledge, of the market you’re responsible for, to excel in sales functions. You can’t be afraid to take risks if you want to progress in these kinds of jobs. All the hotel managers that I see at Hyatt had an unbelievable panache to be where they are today.
What are your next professional goals?
Managing a hotel has always been a personal goal. But I’m careful, however, not to skip any steps. First of all I’m going to focus on my current job and research excellence in doing it. My results will speak for themselves. My development will certainly require that I work in operations again, before, I hope, managing a hotel here in France or abroad.
On the other hand though, I love wine and bistro-style food, and I’ve always dreamed of working behind the counter of my own bistro; I can see myself grating slivers of a nice truffle on two eggs sunny side up for my gourmet customers who will have this simple but elegant meal, savoring a glass of good Bourgogne!
See more about Martin Vitte in the story about Vatel that was broadcast on the 8:00 p.m. news on TF1 (in French)