Since Isabelle Boutteville graduated as the Vatel Paris Valedictorian, twenty years have already gone by. For ten years she worked in many different departments: Banqueting, Sales and Special Events Management in prestigious hotels known throughout the entire world, including the Hotel de Crillon, the Four Seasons George V as well as the mythical Savoy Hotel in London.
Thanks to this vast and rich experience, in 2005 she was hired in the office of President of Excel Place, the leading certification organization for services on a national level, to assess and certify luxury hotels.Isabelle Boutteville tell us her Success Story and give us a few tips besides.
Why did you decide to go into the hospitality industry?
When I was younger, I was interested in languages and traveling, and as I had lived in Canada, working with different cultures also really interested me. So it was just natural that I was attracted to the hospitality industry, which included all of these aspects. My love of service-related jobs was confirmed as I continued my courses at Vatel.
Do you have any particular memory of your Vatel days that you’d like to share?
The choice of hotels where I was to do my internships was a very strategic one. You could even say that they are the deciding factor in how we begin our professional lives. I personally wanted to work in luxury hotels. In particular, I remember that for a very short instant, I wanted to look for an internship on a beautiful tropical island before boarding the Eurostar with my resumes to find a mission in a London palace. That was a good decision too, because thanks to my first internship in Versailles at the Trianon Palace, I was hired at Claridge’s in London, and then at the prestigious Hotel de Crillon.
These first experiences really impacted my career as the choice of the hotels and positions that I had made me even more detail oriented, and ready to ‘go the extra mile.’* This attitude then took off crescendo, on a daily basis, at Excel Place.
You graduated in 1996 as the Valedictorian from Vatel Paris. Could you tell us where you worked after that and in which departments?
The very prestigious hotels where I did my internships, (Trianon Palace, Hotel de Crillon and Claridge’s London) really opened doors for me. Because of them, I was able to continue my career in internationally known hotels such as the Four Seasons Hotel George V Palace in Paris and the oy in London. My daily work in these hotels made me see the importance of each and every detail.
I discovered the Sales and Banqueting departments in the Crillon. And then I was responsible for organizing the end-of-the-year special events in the Savoy, in London. I then was transferred to the Reservations Department in the Savoy and Four Seasons George V. Then I went back to what I had always loved the most, special events organization in the amazing banquet and conference rooms in this Parisian palace, ranked the best hotel in the world.
These ten years went by at lightning speed and allowed me to be in direct contact with our guests, to work in many different departments, to be aware of all the hidden hustle and bustle behind the scenes in the kitchens.
And 20 years after I enrolled in Vatel, I’m now celebrating my tenth anniversary of Excel Place, the specialist in quality assessment. Now I’m serving other professionals who love this great industry that we work in.
Excel Palace is ten years old. Can you give us ten qualities that you see as essential for each and every Vatelien?
When you’re working, especially in a service related industry, there are several key qualities that you must have to become a part of the team and love your job:
- Love serving others
- A welcoming smile
- People-oriented skills
- Being a good team player
- Willingness to foster exchanges and give feedback
* Many consulting cabinets promote going the “extra mile” which means doing much more than is expected of you as well as self-transcendence and pushing yourself to the limits. This concept is well known by athletes and can easily be applied to businesses.