“Above all, always be exacting and persevering in your job.You have to set yourself short, mid and long-term professional objectives and make sure you have the resources to reach them. Remain humble and respectful to others. And last but not least, when you are open-minded and critical, these are qualities you’ll need for your entire career!”
This advice was given to Vatel students by Alain D’Addio, the Operation Manager of the Novotel Moscow City, a Russian four-star hotel. This Vatelien has more than one feather in his cap and regularly hosts Vatel students from the Vatel Moscow School. Vatel students yes, though they sometimes become a part of his team, after graduating.
NEW JOBS FOR VATELIENS: In May 2014, Alain d'Addio was hired as the Novotel Moscow City General Manager. Coming soon: his new interview.
Hello Alain D’Addio. For the past three years you have been hosting Vatel students for their weeks of practical application courses or internships in your hotel. What do you think about their knowledge and skills?
For the past several years, I’ve realized that Vatel students are much more professional than the others we are employing in our hotel. It’s easy to see right away that they’ve made the choice to spend their entire career in the hospitality industry. Because of this, they’re very involved in their work and in the everyday life at the hotel. They’ve also got an international outreach, something that gives them a true added value, especially here in Russia.
Speaking about Russia, what are the main differences between working here and in France?
As you know, I’ve worked abroad for over 15 years. So it’s hard for me to compare these two beautiful countries. What I can say though, is that Russia currently offers many more career opportunities than France. There’s still much to be done in our service based industry, which is really lacking in qualified personnel.
You’ve been working abroad for 15 years? Tell us about that please.
My final internship in Vatel Nimes lasted for a year, instead of six months. I did it in the five-star CNIT Sofitel, which was taken over by Hilton, and was recruited right away in their sales department for another year in this hotel.
After two years, I decided to leave France for an international experience. The Accor group gave me the opportunity to work in one of their largest hotels, the Novotel London West four-star Hotel in London. I spent eight years there and had many different positions: Events Manager, MICE* Sales Manager and Corporate Sales Manager.
I then left Accor group as I was hired as Sales Manager in another hotel in London, the Charing Cross Hotel, Guoman group.
Then Accor rehired me after just a year to be an expat in Romania, where once again I was the Sales Manager in charge of a new brand: from Sofitel to Pullman. This was a two year mission. Then I had the opportunity to change departments and go into operations as the Deputy General Manager for a two year mission in the Novotel Moscow Sheremetyevo.
After that I was chosen to participate in the launch of the Novotel Moscow City as the Operation Manager. So now you know everything!
What does an Operation Manager do?
I do a lot of different things, making my job very interesting. I’m in charge of recruitment, training, managing our teams and putting in place operational standards and marketing the Novotel brand. I’m also involved in setting up our sales strategy and monitoring our service quality indicators.
But above all, I guess you could say that my job is to serve our guests in the best possible way, to give them an experience they’ll remember so they’ll become repeat customers for the Novotel/Accor brand.
Could you tell us about the Novotel Moscow City Hotel?
The Novotel Moscow City is a four-star hotel with 360 rooms in a contemporary decor, offering all services that international businessmen have come to expect. Our bar and restaurant, MC Traders, serves dishes inspired by Russian, French, American and Asian cooking.
Our Hotel also has a conference and banquet room that can seat 400 for cocktails and a fitness room with a sauna and Turkish bath.
What are you short, mid and long-term projects?
Now I’d like to be the General Manager of a hotel, either here in Russia or elsewhere, but in any case, abroad.
When you chose Vatel, were you already this determined?
For sure! I chose Vatel in general and Nimes in particular, as I wanted to be inside of a hotel, with both theoretical and practical courses and instruction. For me, the fact that first year students worked every other week in the application hotel was the tipping point in my decision. That allowed me to quickly apprehend how the various departments in a hotel worked, but also allowed me to be more credible to my employers when I was doing my end of the year internships.
Do you have good souvenirs of the time you spent at Vatel?
I have lots of very good souvenirs of the three years I spent at Vatel Nimes. What really impacted me was the fact that we, even as first year students, were all expected to work with discipline and exactitude by our departmental managers.
I still remember our Head Waiter, a very charismatic person who always lined us up in front of his desk before each service and who checked things like the color of our socks, if our tie was correctly done, and if our shirts were correctly ironed. Everything had to be perfect, or else we were punished! Today, I’m also very demanding with myself and my employees. That also allows me to get the very best from my employees with, of course, the goal of offering the highest possible level of service to our guests.
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