After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in international hotel management on 2008, it did not take long for Médéric Demelle to attain his goals. He has been the General Manager of the very elegant Boutique Hotel in Bordeaux since 2012, perpetuating the Vatel spirit by sharing his experience with students, whom he regularly takes on as interns.
We interviewed this man who loves his job and knows what he wants.
- You were appointed General Manager of the Boutique Hotel in early 2012, thus fairly soon after graduating from Vatel in 2008. Could you please tell us about your work experience since then?
Well, first of all I went to Argentina for 7 months, where I was a managerial assistant in a Relais & Châteaux establishment in the middle of vines. I also looked after concierge services and reception. Then I came back to France to work at the Réserve au Pavillon du Château Rabat in Talence as a receptionist and, once again, as a managerial assistant. As this was not really what I had in mind, and I wanted to leave, the owner offered me the possibility of making an audit of the hotel, which I did. Then I went to do volunteer work in Vietnam, for a bit of a change before going back to my chosen career. When I returned, I contacted my former employer, who appreciated my work, and he offered me this job as General Manger of the Boutique Hotel.
- Do you think that travelling abroad once you left the school enhanced your professional opportunities?
For this type of hotel, yes, because we welcome guests from all over the world. My foreign experience opened my mind to many things and taught me what customers are really looking for according to their nationality and culture.
- The Boutique Hotel opened in late 2011. Please tell us about this establishment.
The "boutique hotel" is an Anglo-Saxon concept that is somewhere in between a guest house and a luxury hotel. This initiative was gradually introduced in France, first in Paris, and then in major provincial cities. This is the first boutique hotel in Bordeaux. We are housed in a magnificent 18th century building in the historic centre of Bordeaux and have 12 rooms, a wine bar, and an atrium looking onto an inner courtyard with trees. We work hard to provide personalised service as well as a luxurious, unabashedly modern decorations that customers can buy if they so desire. Everything possible is done to welcome guests warmly and make them feel at home.
- Could you please describe your job as General Manager?
Most of my job obviously involves managing the staff and human resources. This goes along with making sure that guests are satisfied, because it is absolutely essential to be open to their comments and to call ourselves into question, if necessary, to improve things. Last, but not least, the position involves looking ahead and defining goals in order to have a development strategy. For instance, we are going to create 5 new rooms as well as a spa.
- How did your education at Vatel help?
It's not easy to say at the beginning, when you have just graduated. But, once you've started working, and as time goes on, you see how useful the training is. What I found really advantageous was the foreign internships, and the experience I acquired there. The alternating course/job placement formula opens your eyes to many things, both on a practical and administrative level. That was highly useful to me.
- Did the training you received meet your expectations?
The first year was somewhat difficult because it was very "operational". However, I understood afterwards that this was necessary to test students' motivation to see if they really should continue on this path. I found the 2nd and 3rd years much more interesting.
- You assist Vatel students all year long, as well as during two-week practical internships in the summer. How would define working with them?
During the course of my career, I have worked for both small and large establishments. I explain to students that you learn many more things in places like the Boutique Hotel, because you acquire an overview of all aspects of running a hotel and hands-on experience, and there is far less compartmentalisation between different departments. As a Vatel alumnus, I am well aware of the expectations of the young people who come here to learn the business.
- What message would you like to share with future students and graduates of Vatel?
If they are truly enthusiastic about working in the hotel and restaurant business, they must give their all to succeed. As for myself, my aim was to become a manager, which I have achieved. I was lucky, and had the right opportunities. You need to give all you've got for what you love.