Recently established in the canton of Vaud, Vendôm Premium*, the custom-made placement agency is now ready to deploy its service on the Swiss market.
Vendôm is structured on two distinct pillars: a network, vendom.jobs, and its placement branch Vendôm Premium, gathering luxury expert collaborators on the field. Today, Vendôm boasts an international extended network with nearly 80,000 qualified professionals.
Céline Teppe, general manager of Vendôm Premium Switzerland explains why this Swiss licence was created, and particularly how the Vendôm brand eminently brings a new dynamic within a highly demanding and specialized market. She also seizes the opportunity to underline the company’s founding principles: entrepreneurial spirit, unswerving passion for the profession, unwavering perseverance and deep faith in human qualities.
Vendômjobs.ch – Can you present your career history?
Céline Teppe – My first experience at the Grand Hôtel InterContinental Paris was, to some extent, the event that really triggered my career. I acquired many competences there, first as a receptionist, and then by climbing up the ladder and being confronted with increasing levels of responsibilities in a very “corporate” environment. My next experience at the Royal Evian presented an obviously quite dissimilar context due to its scale and its different procedures. I learned a lot from the values connected to the reception and the accuracy of service. I continued my career in Switzerland, the country I still live in, with an initial position at the Royal Plaza Montreux & Spa where I managed a large team at the reception. This experience was enriching at a management level. By personal choice, I decided after that to pursue my career at the Clinique La Prairie, where I stayed almost 9 years. That experience was truly extraordinary and immersed me deep into an indescribable luxurious environment, where I was able to develop various skills: market research, business, and international customer relations. My next challenge at La Réserve Genève was huge. I was hired as the first SPA sales director, in charge not only of the European market, but also of the Russian, UAE and Central Asia markets; again, this was a very formative position for me.
Ultima Spa by La Prairie, Ultima Gstaad
VJ.ch – How did your vocation to pursue your venture into entrepreneurship come about?
C. T. – After almost twenty years at the head of various operational and managing positions, I wanted to experience a new achievement, also at a personal level, that would allow me to make good use of my acquired knowledge in luxury hospitality and to release my potential. My encounter with Laetitia Girard, CEO of the Vendôm Company, was the trigger I needed. I realized that I shared many values with her on a professional, as well as a personal level. Rapidly, our approaches became complementary. Laetitia is a passionate, visionary and very persevering leader. I love this combination of risk-taking dynamics and strong human values. I am firmly convinced that the richness of encounters can make every individual find their way and prosper. For my part, this encounter was the solution to overcome my limits once again and that was completely in line with my professional operating mode: never stay in your comfort zone. I strongly believe in tenacity, audacity and in the fruit of your work, but also in the capacity of seizing opportunities put before us. The Vendôm adventure was for me!
VJ.ch – In what way do vendom.jobs and Vendôm Premium Switzerland stand out within the dedicated offer to luxury hospitality and gastronomy professionals?
C. T. – Vendôm’s added value comes mostly from the combination of the network (a targeted and international visibility) and the placement agency, which comes as an additional element aimed at addressing the real shortage in our business sector. Its worth also lies, I believe, in the fact that the initiators of this adventure all come from luxury accommodation, where they held various decision-making positions. Therefore, they have a global vision of the sector and a strong awareness of situation issues in the field and of the realities of the market. The resulting approach is more flexible with respect to the sector’s actors, recruiters or candidates.
Mandarin Oriental Geneva
As I mentioned, my choice to engage in Vendôm Premium Switzerland was obvious, as we share so many common values. For recruiters, I think that Vendôm’s greatest advantage lies in its deeply human-oriented and considerate structure and approach. Our attitude is very personalized with an attempt to comply as much as possible with recruiters’ issues by openly determining their expectations. Our global vision and individualized follow-up is key to be one step ahead and easily anticipate market developments.
VJ.ch – In your view, what are today’s recruitment specificities in the luxury sector?
C. T. – It is definitively a deep matter of personality and of being able to outdo yourself. Feeling attraction for luxury is not enough. In that respect, we often use the word “experience” in luxury because the material aspect is actually not a finality at all; this “experience” is global and calls upon feelings and emotions… Our entire environment aims at transporting the client. Of course, when you work in this sector, it is important to be able to put yourself in your customer’s position, to deliver well beyond the customer's expectations and to perfectly satisfy the complementarity of the services and the exceptional nature of the venues, as a whole.
In recruitment, one can rapidly perceive a person’s qualities, namely the passion and everything that exudes from a person’s approach. We are looking for talents full of will, able to experience personal development and make a company evolve; competences cannot prevail if a true engagement and a deep desire to work in this sector are missing. Competences do not go hand in hand with performance and therefore are not always a benefit.
VJ.ch – Why decide to operate in Switzerland?
C. T. – With more than 250,000 employees, the hospitality and gastronomy sector is one of the first Swiss employers; the country’s hotel schools are among the most renowned in the world because of the quality of their comprehensive theoretical as well as practical training. All these qualities make Switzerland a flower of hospitality, ranked in the top 10 in the world classification of tourism competitiveness, and an extremely promising market.
As for recruitment issues, they are generally the same as elsewhere. However, here candidates must adapt to the Swiss recruitment methods. Each country has its own cultural characteristics, its own approach towards people, as well as its own recruiters. The prerequisites are also very high. Settling in this country was meaningful to us as it allowed the integration of its ecosystem, values, cultural richness and forging of durable links with various partners. The canton of Vaud also appeared to us as the ideal gateway towards European and international markets and, why not, towards setting up in a German-speaking canton in the future.
Just like the Vendôm brand, Vendôm Premium Switzerland has a thoroughly new way of approaching the market, as I mentioned earlier. Its human-sized structure allows for a closer, more individualized and targeted relation with the customer. Even if we operate in a very competitive environment, I believe that our specialization and expertise in the sector make all the difference and perfectly satisfy the requirements and excellence level of Swiss actors.
Royal Savoy Hotel & Spa, Lausanne
I should add that I am particularly fond of Switzerland. This country opened some important doors for me and gave me opportunities for career development in an international context that suited my expectations.
Moreover, its values strike a chord in me.
For more than 15 years, Switzerland has belonged to my everyday travels and discoveries with its cultural mix, its variety of landscapes, and its authenticity.
Today, thanks to Vendôm Premium Switzerland, I am proud to continue working along this line.
VJ.ch – Is there an experience that particularly impressed you and resounded in you in such a positive way that it always remains a reference point in your career?
C. T. – I always think of my experience at the Clinique La Prairie. It was an extraordinary position. We operated like a family with important human qualities; I still have many contacts there today. I do not recall a particular anecdote about that period: my whole experience in that company is simply positively memorable to me. Undoubtedly, the confidence that management showed me at the time gave me the opportunity to evolve. That company also integrates a true vision. Routine was absent. We always focused on the next step and in finding a way to go further. I rediscover a lot of that extremely tangible and visionary dynamism in my work alongside Laetitia Girard.
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General Manager of Vendom Premium Switzerland
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Photo credit cover: La Réserve Genève