NEW JOBS FOR VATELIENS: after one year in the Six Senses Zighy Bay, Irene Fenart was hired as the Arabian Spirit Company Customer Service Executive and now as Sales Manager - MICE for Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts
When she was in her second year at Vatel Bangkok, Irène Fenart was won over by the philosophy of the Six Senses Resorts & Spa Group, with a presentation at school. So she promised herself that she would do everything possible to be hired there as soon as she finished Vatel Paris.
And she kept that promise! Right after graduating, in June, 2013, she was hired by Six Senses Zighy Bay in the Sultanate of Oman as the Sales Coordinator. Eight months later, she was already promoted to Sales Executive.
Irene, what made you want to attend Vatel?
Attending Vatel was really a fluke for me. I was getting ready to take some general business school entrance exams when one of my friends told me about Vatel. I was attracted right away by the “group” dimension that the school had. Also, being able to go abroad as part of the curriculum was another asset. For me Vatel was an opportunity to mix higher education with the discovery of different cultures. I still remember that when I was talking to the Head of Studies and that when she asked me what I could bring to Vatel, I answered that one day I’d open a Vatel Campus in Australia.
What is your strongest memory of these 5 years?
Without a doubt, the educational team in Vatel Paris and Vatel Bangkok. All of these people were and remain the cornerstones of my professional development. I owe them a lot. Their support and the trust they placed in me all along my studies, in the Vatel Concept Award and the Park Hyatt Student Prize were priceless for me.
What did you learn during your Vatel years and by participating in inter-School and external competitions?
For me, my Vatel years were the beginning of a great story. It was a learning experience in a very special type of industry, one where you are always working overtime as a part of your job. Our number one priority is customer satisfaction. The mixture between theoretical courses, practical work and then internships was salutary for me because I wanted to learn, discover new things, and above all, continue traveling. During my time at school I changed cities or countries every six months. And once again, I have to thank each and every one who helped me advance, either by taking me under their wings for an academic year, or during an internship. And I was lucky enough to represent our School, twice. It was a very enlightening experience for me to compete against Vatel’s best students, as well as students from some of the best hotel management schools all over the world.
How did you get the job you are currently doing?
In my second year in the Marco Polo exchange program in Vatel Bangkok, a representative presented us his group: Six Senses Resorts & Spa. This was a revelation for me and the humanitarian dimension this group had, with five-star service in very isolated places, while respecting the environment and helping local communities, convinced me. It was a very innovative concept. And from that very moment, I promised myself that one day, I’d work with them. When I finished Vatel, I logged onto their recruitment site and there was a job vacancy in the Sales & Marketing department of the Six Senses Zighy Bay, in Oman. And as I’d already lived in the Indian Ocean, Europe, Australia and Asia, I said to myself that it was about time that I got to know the Middle East. So I applied for this job, and was hired as the Sales Coordinator, at Six Senses Zighy Bay. It took me quite a few weeks to get my working visa for Oman.
Tell us about the Six Senses Hotel. Why is it so different?
Its 82 villas are located between the sea and the mountains. They have Oman architecture and are very large, each one with a private pool. With an average stay of between six and ten days during the peak season - from September to May - we have to propose a large variety of experiences, either from a culinary point of view (3 restaurants and 3 bars) as well as many activities: our spa, maritime, mountain and air activities. Six Senses Zighy Bay is the only resort in the world where you can come in by paragliding.
And after only eight months you were promoted. Tell us about this.
Just a few months after I started, my direct manager resigned. I was then alone on the site, as the Sales & Marketing Manager was in Dubai. And at the same time I clinched a big deal for a large French cosmetics group who wanted to launch their new perfume in the Six Senses Zighy Bay Hotel. Sixty journalists, split into two groups for a ten-day stay, was a very interesting experience.
I do have to admit that sometimes I had to improvise and deal with many awkward situations. This event opened the doors for me to manage the MICE segment - Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing and Exhibitions - in the resort.
Because I was representing my company more at events, I was able to participate in the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai, at the beginning of May. That reminded me of student career days and fairs where I presented Vatel.
The Sultanate of Oman, the Middle East: are these lands of opportunities for Hotel and Tourism professionals?
Zighy Bay is located between two worlds. Muscat, the capital of the Sultanate of Oman is a six hour drive, whereas Dubai is only a two hour drive. The Sultanate of Oman targets a touristic sphere where people are looking for roots of these countries: their customs, inhabitants, geography, etc. whereas the United Arab Emirates target a more ostentatious type of tourism and one that is constantly changing. Dubai will be hosting the 2020 World Fair, and by then about fifty five-star hotels will have been built. Huge efforts have been made to transform the Middle East, which for a long time was only known for its oil fields or a stopover between Europe and Asia, into a unique destination for tourists. And in my opinion, this is just the tip of the iceberg, as the Middle East has a huge potential.
A huge potential for Vateliens too?
I really do think that having gone to French schools is a competitive advantage in the international hospitality industry.The world attributes a lot of qualities to France and French people: our culinary heritage, our know-how and our expertise in the hospitality sector. It’s hard to explain. Because of its history, French culture has always included the art of hospitality. It’s a mixture of a type of life style and education. I don’t want to stereotype anyone, but I think that as a French person, some things are more evident for us. For example: gallantry, discretion, sophistication, devotion, details, etiquette and protocol, things like that. These relatively innate values for French people are strengthened into a sound foundation during the weeks of our practical application work at Vatel.
Each and every culture is unique and brings something specific to our field. And that’s what makes it so strong. At Six Senses Zighy Bay Hotel, we have 370 employees from about thirty different countries and we all work together every day to create special and unforgettable moments for our guests.
What do you think the future holds for you?
I was lucky to meet my fiancé in Zighy Bay. He’s from the Netherlands, and we’ve decided to continue our international careers together, and that’s something really important for me, because I’d like our future children to have a childhood like I did, roaming all over the world.
I like working in the MICE segment, because you have to work a lot with all the different departments in the resort and the organizational/relationship part is really important. I’m hoping to expand this activity, which is a difficult one, because of the geographical locations of all the Six Senses Resorts. Most of the Group’s resorts are very isolated, from a geographical point of view.
Since the American Group, Pegasus Capital acquired us in 2012, there have been many changes in the Six Senses Resorts & Spa Group. In the next five years, many resorts will be opening throughout the world and particularly in Europe, Latin America and in the Indian Ocean. I’m hoping to have the opportunity of participating in an opening for this Group that I love so much.
Our ambition is to continue living for the next few years in isolated parts of the world before going back to civilization. I hope my experience of working with people will open the doors for a job in the Sales & Marketing department in the headquarters of a group in about ten years. And that’s just the beginning. I hope that the future holds lots of surprises and opportunities for me.
Thank you so much for interviewing me. It was really a great opportunity for me to share what I’ve done so far.
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