Before he was 30, he had already managed a hotel in Cambodia, saved two five-star hotels in Thailand and Bali with financial difficulties and he is now preparing to open a 300 room hotel in Shanghai.
A Vatel Paris 2000 alumnus, Jeremie de Fombelle was asked to sponsor the Class of 2006 of his own school, because of his fascinating and irreproachable career path!
An exceptional Success Story follows!
Before Cambodia, I already had previous experience with the Victoria Hotels and Resort Group - 4 star leisure activities. I was in charge of their small Sales and Marketing office for Europe, located in Paris. All their hotels are located in South-East Asia. I had worked for this hotel chain in my final internship in Vietnam. Because they were happy with my work, they offered me this job in France. But I really wanted to remain abroad, in Asia, and work in an operational job and I left to manage the restaurant of this romantic little hotel in Cambodia.
It was a crazy bet for me and for the owner too! I didn’t have a lot of experience but I had lots of common sense and above all, lots of motivation. It wasn’t very well paid either, but I learned a lot. This was quickly quite successful and the hotel owner rapidly promoted me to manage the entire hotel.
After that you joined the Orient Express Group, where you managed the Residence Phou Vao 5* Hotel in Laos for four years. Then, another three years in the Napasai Orient Express 5* in Thailand, and finally a year in the Jimbaran Puri 5* in Bali. Tell us more about your “Orient Express” years. How did you jump from one company to another? What differences did you noted about team leading in Bali, Thailand, Laos and in Cambodia?
I’m firmly convinced that a career is made up of decisive meetings and a bit of luck. The way I joined Orient Express is a perfect example of this. I met with the managers of this mythical hotel group that owns the Ritz in Madrid, the Copacabana Palace in Rio, the Cipriani in Venice, the famous Orient-Express train and 45 other unique properties throughout the world, quite coincidentally.
They needed a young Manager for their hotel in Laos. I got the job and 10 years later, I still don’t believe it! I was under the age of 30 and managing an Orient Express hotel. This was the true beginning of my career. I loved working all these years for Orient Express. I owe them a lot. Really, I do. I also gave them a lot. When you love your job, you get good results! That was the case in Laos.
After Laos, the group gave me a bigger hotel to manage on the Koh Samui Island in Thailand. This Resort was in dire financial straits. Everything had to be redone and it needed serious upgrading. That’s what we did with the team and frankly, it was an exciting job! The scenario in Bali was the same as for Thailand: an Orient Express Group Hotel in a superb location, though it had poor results. Once again, they called me to be the fireman!
These three countries, though every different, did have one common denominator: an unheard of sense of hospitality. Managing a hotel in one of these countries is a great opportunity. I think that in our Western countries, this unequaled sense of service is no longer the case. There are also some Asian constraints that you don’t have in Europe, but the main thing to remember is the strong sense of hospitality that you have in this region of the globe.
What do you think of the luxury hotel sector in Asia after all these experiences?
Consumers have a huge advantage with luxury hotels in Asia: when compared with Europe or the United States, the prices are really cheap. If I stay at the Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok or at the Metropole in Hanoi - my two very favorite hotels in Asia - I won’t be “broke” for the rest of the month. I don’t think that would be the case if I stayed in the Ritz the next time I visited Paris. And I can promise you that service in the Bangkok Oriental is just as good as at the Ritz!
You have been preparing the reopening of the five-star Wanda Realm Hotel Changzhou for August, 2014. This is a 300 room hotel near Shanghai. Could you tell us about the Wanda Hotels and Resorts Hotel chain?
Wanda is a very large Chinese group specialized in real estate, shopping centers and movies. It had a 24 billion dollar turnover last year. If you want to compare, last year LVMH in France had a 27 billion euro turnover. Wanda’s owner, the wealthiest man in China, according to the Forbes Ranking, wants to make Wanda Hotels and Resorts one of the global leaders in luxury hotels. This group is growing by leaps and bounds, with 30% of uninterrupted annual growth for the past seven years. Half of their hotels are managed by Sofitel, InterCon, Starwood, etc. But most of the 20 hotels they’ll be opening this year will be under their own brand name: Wanda Hotels and Resorts.
They have huge resources, and a growth rate to match. I wanted a new challenge after having spent so many years with Orient Express. I wanted to dabble in “business hotel management” and roll out an opening; I didn’t have that yet on my resume, and I wanted to do this in a booming country! The Changzhou Wanda, next to Shanghai, was like a dream come true. My wife and three children were ready to follow me, so off we went to China.
What are you doing to prepare this opening?
Working a lot! When you open a hotel it always means a lot of work, but in China, it’s even more than I would have believed! The hotel will open on August 8th. A group hotel has never missed its opening date. So we sure aren’t going to be the first!
My colleagues monitor construction work to make sure that specifications are complied with and the deadlines are respected. I’ve already got a team of about fifty people in the offices with me, but most of the personnel will arrive next month to attend our training sessions that we’re setting up. The hotel will be delivered in stages until July, and we’ll be having a soft opening then. But before that we have to order all the equipment, make sure that we’re within budget, set up all the teams and our Sales and Marketing strategy, get all the permits, recruit and keep on recruiting! It’s an enormous job, but such an exciting one at the same time. You have to have good team members. It’s a human adventure.
What advice could you give to Vatel students who would also like to manage a hotel?
Be patient. Work hard. Make sure to communicate your results. Speak fluent English as quickly as possible. Make sure you have good support teams and know how to delegate, but not too much! Accept that you’ll fail, because that will make you grow and bounce back.
How did what you learned at Vatel help you to succeed in your career? What memories do you have of Vatel?
I’ve got great memories of the time I spent at Vatel. Vatel is a guarantee of seriousness and credibility in the small world of hotel management. It’s also a great network all over the world. If I had to do it again, I wouldn’t change schools. I still remember the interview I had with Mr. Magne, who, at that time, was the Vatel Paris School Director. He trusted me and I owe him a lot. I’m also very proud to be the sponsor for the Vatel Paris class of 2006.
What is your one year project? Five years? And ten years?
I find it difficult to look ahead so far. First I have to open this hotel in China and make sure it’s a success. And that’s going to be a lot of work! I also hope to work one day again in South-East Asia: Thailand or Vietnam for example. Both my family and I love these two countries. Why not a job in General Management or even a job in Corporate in the medium term in one of these countries.
In the longer term, maybe I’ll come back to France and open the hotel I’ve always dreamed of. But there’s no rush. I’m 38 now, in no hurry, and my projects could change by then! Depending on whom I meet and that little bit of luck that I talked about, and hope to continue to have.
Deux semaines après que l'Université ait annoncé que le personnel non-enseignant pouvait se présenter au bureau, les autorités locales ont decrété l'état d'urgence suite aux conditions météorologiques défavorables qui prévalaient alors depuis mercredRead more
Some 110 students will start university term as from Monday 19th April 2021 and would return to campus for face-to-face learning sessions, as guidance from local authorities allows…Read more
Since December 2020, Vatel Business school Mauritius has launched a new concept called "Be our guest".Read more
Given this difficult situation that we are currently facing, we are proud to announce that we are welcoming our October batch students this Monday, 26th for another year of engaging learning opportunities.Read more
RED RIBBON WEEKRead more
It is with great joy that we welcome our students back to Vatel schools. Of course, the virus is still around and so. we must all – cheerfully - respect the health measures put in place in our schools and training restaurants and hotels.Read more
Reconnect with nature and learn beyond the four walls of their classrooms!Read more
In line with our social commitment ‘Education for all’, we had provided training sessionsRead more
We were honored to welcome His Excellency the Ambassador of France Emmanuel CohetRead more
Despite the tough times prevailing the hotels in Mauritius, their hospitality remains promisingRead more
During the second half of March, Vatel Maurice organized a photography competition.Read more
The April intake has been postponed for three weeks behind the start date, originally planned for April 6. On April 27, 2020, more than 150 students took the path of their keyboard and screensRead more
Since the advent of Covid19 the world has changed and our industry has suffered the worst crisis it has had, since modern tourism has existed.Read more
The Covid-19 pandemic has greatly impacted the tourism industry. Vatel Group has decided to provide hotels and restaurants with free access to its online platform of training modules, Vatel E-learning.Read more
CORONAVIRUS – Note d’information N°7Read more
LET'S STAY CONNECTED, UNITED AND SAFERead more
CORONAVIRUS – Note d’information N°4Read more
CORONAVIRUS – Note d’information N°3Read more
The hospitality and tourism industry puts people in touch with an ever-increasing and constantly changing world, making it the only one of its kind.
Read our mission.
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
LE GRAND BOND DU TOURISME EN AFRIQUE QUELLES OPPORTUNITÉS POUR MAURICE L’Ile Maurice a réussi à se positionner comme une destination touristique reconnue internationalement Pourtant elle accueille relativement peu de touristes en provenance du coRead 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
L’ « Option Croisière » comprend 2 types d’enseignements : les enseignements « obligatoires et légaux » et les enseignements « généraux. »Read more
You are a passionate hospitality professional looking to a rewarding future? Join our flexible MBA program to add value to your net worth. Get connected with our pool of experienced lecturers. Extend your network by becoming a Vatel Alumni.Read more
Senior F&B Instructor at Vatel Bangkok, Isabelle Ferchaud is also the Vatel application restaurant Manager.Read more
Dans le cadre de son expansion locale et régionale, Vatel Hotel & Tourism Business school recrute des enseignants qualifiés pour intervenir au niveau Bachelor et MBA.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