Capucine Viguier, Project Manager JO&JOE brand, shares her vision of international mobility & how it became a source of fulfilment in her amazing career.
1/ Why did you choose the hospitality industry? And more specifically the AccorHotels Group?
I’ve always been amazed and intrigued by the scenes from everyday life taking place in the hotels. I feel a host of emotions when entering a lobby where the design is an integral part of the guest experience. So, that’s what drew me to the hotel industry: the sense of detail, the breadth and depth of what goes on “behind the scenes” and this concern to provide a high-quality service. It's this whole complexity that attracted me. It’s like a never-ending show and most guests are unaware of all that’s hidden behind the curtain. On a personal level, continually trying out new hotels is also one of my passions. Discovering innovative concepts, totally immersing yourself in different surroundings and so on. As well as providing a complete change of scene, it's also inspiring for my work and one of the essential factors, in my view, is working in a setting where I feel fulfilled.
The human factor above all
I love pleasing others and I needed to work in an environment where kindness and goodwill are a key element. The hospitality sector, particularly within the AccorHotels Group, allows very strong bonds to be forged. The hotel industry is a motivating meritocratic environment: the more you work, the more chances you have of developing and getting where you want to be! The possibilities are immense. It’s a sector that suits me as, in everyday life, I am 300% committed to the projects I undertake. It is undoubtedly a fascinating environment, filled with passionate enthusiasts.
A dynamic sector
AccorHotels never ceases to develop and innovate. I have to tell you that I’m someone who gets bored quickly, I have this need to learn something new every day, and you can't get bored in such a group. It's the only business that allowed me to have such a global experience, trying my hand in so many different departments. I was lucky enough to follow a 1-year Management Training program in Bangkok, where I was able to work in F&B as well as on reception and in reservations and operational marketing!
2/ As a project manager for JO&JOE what are your everyday challenges?
As a member of the JO&JOE Lifestyle team, I’m in a division that is the perfect embodiment of entrepreneurial drive. You always have to challenge yourself and think differently in order to innovate. Lifestyle is really a state of mind.
I’m currently in charge of the opening of the first JO&JOE in Paris. This opening is unique as I have to deal with a three-fold challenge:
Openings: in the short term, I have to coordinate operations on a daily basis to open on time. That’s where the phrase “no two days are alike” really takes on full meaning: I’m involved in every area (operational, technical and strategic): from devising the sales and marketing plan to recruitment, setting up systems, revenue management, introducing the F&B concept, and budgets. What I love, in addition to this diversity, is starting from nothing and having it all to create. I need this challenge and each opening is a new chapter to be written.
A new brand: JO&JOE is positioned as a pioneer in its field, the alternative hotel sector, breaking the conventions of the traditional hotel industry. Because JO&JOE is neither hotel nor youth hostel. The “Learning by doing” approach applies perfectly in this instance.
And lastly, the brand's viability: the long-term challenge is to ensure JO&JOE is a viable player in the eyes of investors. As this product, which won people over with its prototype in Hossegor, will see the light of day at the end of 2018, with its flagship in Paris.
3/ You started as a Guest Service Agent in Bangkok and you are now Project Manager for our brand new JO&JOE brand. What is it like to work abroad? How does international mobility become a source of fulfilment in a career?
I’ll start with what you’re all expecting: an experience abroad lends added value to your profile. But above all, working abroad gave me a sense of freedom, as well as producing a “wow” effect right from the first moment. My experiences abroad followed on, one after the other, making me want to differentiate myself and enjoy really unusual experiences. I learnt an enormous amount in terms of management adjustment (from Bangkok to Berlin), dealing with totally different management methods from one country to another. The Asian culture and dynamism appealed to me so I decided to stay in Asia after my experience in Bangkok and to continue this quest for discovery and wonder by finishing my Masters in Shanghai. Another advantage of not closing any doors is that you have more opportunities!
4/ Would you say that AccorHotels fosters international mobility?
AccorHotels offers immense opportunities to discover career paths and to travel, if you’re mobile. It's great at accelerating the pace for business networking. All career paths are atypical, there are no well-trodden paths (or hardly any more). There are suitable programs and Management training sessions. In fact, I myself benefited from a one-year accelerated international mobility program that allowed me to head to Bangkok. Above all, it's a personal choice and you have to be able to seize opportunities. It’s thanks to this experience that I’ve gained key skills to have an overall view of the operations side: reservations, accommodation, Food and Beverage, operational marketing. That also enabled me, within a very short period, to know what I liked and what I was less keen on, and to step out of my comfort zone. In addition to mobility, I’ve also had the opportunity to work for various brands around the world: Pullman, MGallery by Sofitel, Novotel and now JO&JOE. I’ve taken part in 3 big pre-opening operations for hotels that were fulfilling and intense (MGallery Cures Marines Trouville, Pullman Roissy CDG Airport and the Novotel London Canary Wharf flagship).
Besides the skills acquired, I'd characterize AccorHotels as one big family: borders fade away, cultures mix with each other and we forge lifelong relationships. I’m proud to be a part of this dynamism. In summary, in the space of 4 years, as I've moved around, I’ve forged strong, lasting ties with my colleagues and managers with whom I’m in daily contact. They are now my friends.
5/ Where would your dream job be located? And what would you like to do in 10 years?
I can't tell you where I’ll be in 10 years. In any event, it will be a big city, where something's always going on. I’d say you choose, first and foremost, your managers and the people around you even more than the nature of the work that you do. I’ve therefore not got any precise location in mind, as for now I feel really fulfilled within the JO&JOE division and I want to continue this adventure. Being able to participate in developing the brand, growing it and building a lasting relationship. What really motivates me? That entrepreneurial spirit deep down within me lets me think that one day I’d maybe like to create or co-found my own business so as to always feel this excitement of creating value.