Eighty percent of the 33,000 Vateliens throughout the entire globe have remained in the hotel and tourist management sectors. Jean-Philippe Pelou-Daniel, who graduated from Vatel in Lyon in 1990, is one of the 20% who work in a different field, where the RH department was convinced of the qualities and skills of this Vatel alumnus.
For the past two years, Jean-Philippe Pelou-Daniel has been the General Manager of the La Part Dieu Shopping Center in Lyon, the largest European urban shopping center, in France’s second largest business zone.
He’ll tell us how he went from hotel management to managing a shopping center with 276 different stores. But when you look a bit closer, it’s not actually that different.
What did you do before attending Vatel? Why Vatel?
I was born in Lyon, and that is the city where my heart lies. I graduated from the Saint Just High School in the 5th district of Lyon, with a major in business administration. I was always a good student until I finished middle school, and then I had only one idea: that was to work in the hospitality industry. After middle school, I was tired of school and wanted to start working directly. But you know parents - they insist that you graduate from high school, so I really had no other choice and had to put off, impatiently, what I really wanted to do. After graduating from high school, I was finally able to study in the field I had always dreamed of. So I enrolled in Vatel in Lyon in 1988, and that’s when I started enjoying school again.
Editor’s note: Since 2002, Vatel no longer has two-year vocational degrees. Today Vatel students have the choice of two certified degrees that are registered in the National Directory of Professional Certification (RNCP): the Bachelor’s Degree in International Hotel Management, a level II degree with three years of post high school studies and the Postgraduate Degree in International Hotel Management, a level I degree with five years of post high school studies.
What do you remember the most about when you attended Vatel? A story to tell?
People and their values are what I remember the most at Vatel. I have very fond memories of Mrs. Jocelyne Sebban, who was like a mother for all her students. Though she was always warm and caring, she however never hesitated a second to put us back on the straight and narrow path when we needed this.
More than merely being a school, there is a “Vatel spirit” and “Vatel values.” Human values that teach you humility, the sense of service as well as sincerely welcoming others. Vatel made me the person in the front line that I am today, close to the men and women with whom I work as well as a man who knows what he wants and who believes in his own values.
What have you done since you graduated? What opportunities have you had?
I received my French BTS Vatel diploma in 1990. After that I did my mandatory military service at the Officer’s Mess in Fribourg. For one year I was in charge of organizing the departures of the FFA (French Forces in Germany).
When I finished, I went to Paris where I found my first job at the reception desk of the Baltimore four-star Hotel in the 16th district of Paris, between the Arch of Triumph and the Eiffel Tower. Pretty nice place to work for a first job, in a beautiful and historical venue.
A year and a half later, I started working in another branch of the Vivendi group. I became Deputy Manager of three two and three star hotels in the Latin Quarter. Beautiful little gems. Right after that I came back to Lyon for the opening of the Libertel Wilson three star Hotel, where I was the Hotel Manager for four years.
Then I managed a four-star hotel residence in Strasbourg, still with the Vivendi group, and after that I started working with Accor. For eight years I managed two Mercure hotels and restaurants at the same time, and then a Novotel. That adds up to 11 years in Strasbourg including eight with Accor.
The day that I turned 40, I changed jobs, and joined the Unibail Rodamco group. The Novotel that I had been managing was located in a shopping center and Hamerson Group asked me if I’d be interested in managing this shopping center. At the beginning I turned them down. But when Unibail, the European benchmark, came back to me with the same request, I ended up saying yes. So I became a Shopping Center Manager and I opened the Rivetoile Center in Strasbourg.
So could you explain how your experience in hotel management made you such a good candidate to manage a shopping center?
At the beginning, I didn’t feel that I had a completely new job at all. Managing a hotel and managing a shopping center have a lot of things in common. Instead of managing rooms, I manage shops. And I can convey to my customers the same values of warmly welcoming them as in a hotel. For example, when you arrive in Part Dieu, there’s a reception area, just like in a hotel. We created water shows, “IPad Bars” and an interactive area for children. I have introduced many services for customers.
Unibail Rodamco has introduced a four-star label for shopping centers. And with this type of new service, I can use my hotel experience: customer satisfaction is in the heart of everything. Right now I am preparing the file for the Part Dieu shopping center certification next September.
Is there anything you’d like to tell candidates who are thinking of enrolling in Vatel and students?
What makes Vatel stand out from other schools in the hospitality field, is the fact that they’ve understood that you have to be confronted with the realities of this job as young as possible and for the longest time possible. Even if sometimes practical application work seems to take forever and internships seem long, this is the very thing that will allow you, later on, to be more performing than the others in your profession.
After that, the values that Vatel teaches you when you are studying, remain an asset both in your professional and personal lives, as long as you embrace them without reservations. So my advice to candidates who are being interviewed would be to speak about your values and to learn what the values the company has. But be careful; there’s no cheating here. Either you believe them because they are also your values, or the recruiter sitting across from you will see right away that it’s not true.
Serving others is a priceless quality in the hospitality industry, but not just there. Students with a degree in hotel management are attractive to employers: their qualities make them champions in all types of professions.Read more
The 26th Eurhodip conference took place in Istanbul from October 16 though 20th, with the theme “Together, let’s build bridges.” Roughly a hundred participants from 25 countries and 35 schools attended this event.Read more
With schools throughout the world, nearly four decades of development, the art of hospitality raised to its highest level... And at the heart of the curriculum that made the group’s world recognition: the professors, heralds of Vatel pedagogy.Read more
Senior F&B Instructor at Vatel Bangkok, Isabelle Ferchaud is also the Vatel application restaurant Manager.Read more
Each year our Group School directors, getting together for the Vatel International Convention, use today’s experiences to continue to invent tomorrow’s schools for our future hospitality professionals.Read more
Vatel cultivates the qualities required to be a good professional in the hospitality industry: being fluent in foreign languages, knowing how to work with other cultures... Hoteliers are attracted by Vatel students’ resumes, as Vateliens can tell us.Read more
François Perraud feels both a hotelier and a financial controller, an expertise that he likes to pass on to Vatel students.Read more
Jeremie de Fombelle has always loved resorts and has seen many of them, before coming to Mauritius. And this is where he really fell in love! But economic competition is stiff. How can you stand out, if not by the quality of your management?Read more
A professor of marketing, corporate promotion and negotiation, Sophie Lot loves adult education and teaches at Vatel Switzerland.Read more
Thanatat Boonpeng: a young Vatel graduate at Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok.Read more
Every day, Vatel students and instructors prepare for class, study, and fan the flames of their curiosity, thanks to the cutting-edge digital library provided by the ScholarVox platform. Come right this way for digital access to knowledge!Read more
An MBA specializing in ecotourism opens in Madagascar. This island has all it takes to materialize this demanding approach of responsible and innovative tourism.Read more
New ideas, enthusiasm, the desire to embrace a gourmet universe: Jerome Ferrer’s story has all the ingredients that inspire the best “success stories” to strategy professors!Read more
The hospitality and tourism industries are particularly concerned by sustainable development. And what if Vatel alumni played a key part in this transition towards more environmentally friendly hotel management?Read more
Travel broadens the mind, as the old saying goes. It also leads to unconventional restaurants. Let’s meet two Vateliens who founded Le Kaya Restaurant in Tignes.Read more
Besides having a Bachelor or an MBA Vatel, what does being a Vatelien mean?Read more
Throughout their entire careers, Vatel alumni remain in touch with their schools. This is also true for Kevin Tessieux, who has never forgotten that he was also once a student, and who now shares this knowledge with students today.Read more
Chahrazade Baroudi, a Vatelien since 2013, describes her job as Marketing and Communication Manager in IDAM, Alain Ducasse’s restaurant on the top floor of the Doha Museum of Islamic Art, in Qatar.Read more
Future hospitality professionals, welcome to Vatel’s 100% management simulation serious game! For an entire week and on three continents, MBA students met the challenge of managing a 4-star hotel and a resort in the Indian Ocean. The winners are...Read more
Who is Gaelle Garnier, the new manager of the network of 35,000 Vatel alumni throughout the world? Let’s meet a Vatelien who works with Vateliens!Read more
The 25th Eurhodip conference, which Vatel took part in, took place in Croatia. Targeting responsible tourism, this conference allowed participants to have more information on opening higher education courses in the field of sustainable development.Read more
Designed to address the needs of the global hospitality industry, the Marco Polo program strengthens the international profile Vatel students have and has just received the prestigious Best Innovation in an Educational Program Award.Read more
Graduated in 2011, Alexis Bouche began his career in England. Six years later, he returned to France and is now the Sales Manager of the 5-star hotel, Villa Maïa.Read more
Nearly 40 years old, and now 50 campuses in 32 different countries: Vatel Group opened its first school in Paris and is continuing to grow and duplicate its innovative educational concept in schools abroad.Read more
Trained at Vatel Nimes ten years ago, Chloe Wu has a brilliant career in China. She no longer works in the hospitality industry, but has not forgotten her passion of hospitality and service...Read more
The Vatel International Research Center in Hotel and Tourism Managementhas just published the 10th edition of its Journal, which targets research and reflections on changes taking place in the hospitality and tourism industries.Read more
Curiosity, humility, team spirit... A Vatelien shares his commitment to values his school transmitted to him.
The same international spirit that students have Vatel and 4 students in nursing undertake a humanitarian project in Madagascar.Read more
A traveler - salesman - ambassador, Marco Polo introduced Asia, at that time nearly unknown, to Europe. This inspirational fate has given its name to Vatel’s international exchange program, where students can study at another Vatel campus for a year.Read more
The most senior representatives in the international hospitality industry give Vatel the Best School Hospitality Award. An entire profession thus acclaims them.Read more
Learning the skills needed to be a manager, quick employability, international careers... Vatel, the passport that gets you hired. See the video.Read more