Laetitia Girard, CEO and founder of The Vendom Company has a created an enterprise with both digital tools and the human touch, to improve the hiring processes for bringing top talent to luxury hospitality and starred gastronomy. Founded in 2015, The Vendom Company serves the competitive luxury hospitality marketplace with passion, purpose and polish. Laetitia speaks about the luxury hospitality industry with graciousness, warmth, passion and positivity. Her vision is powerful as are the platforms and systems she’s created that have begun in Paris, now being licensed as a part of their expansion in Switzerland and are poised for global growth.
The role they play is an important one for luxury hospitality as the industry evolves in response to changes to the market landscape and customers needs as new generations and new markets emerge. A unified voice, that fosters rich encounters, education, positivity and new development ideas. The spirit behind The Vendom Company vendom.jobs and Vendom Excellence is bridging digital tools with human relationships and interaction for the benefit of all involved. Putting humanity back into the hiring and HR practices while benefiting from the efficiency of the digital process, is at the heart of what they do. This approach makes finding those talented rare gems, less rare. This company under Laetitia leadership and vision is doing great things for hospitality and starred gastronomy and we anticipate even greater things
We had the immense pleasure of speaking with her at length to discuss her perspectives on luxury and her work in improving hiring in luxury hospitality.
Q – How did you get your start working in the field of luxury and what drew you to it?
The opening of the Park Hyatt Paris Vendôme in 2001 was my first step in luxury and I learned a lot from this experience. I have always been passionate about languages, travel, and the desire to surpass myself, to live by emotions. Putting my foot in this universe confirmed my vocation, I met people who were passionate, committed and who never stopped questioning themselves. Luxury is a journey of meaning and values that I appreciate.
Q – Tell us about your company and its mission/vision?
VENDOM is an exclusive network in luxury, specialised in recruitment. Its main axis is to bring together the best professionals and the best recruiters. VENDOM was born out of a frustration of a recruiter and that of a candidate. For the first one, not to find the right talent. For the second one, not to find the right opportunity.
Because, in recruitment business, we deal with a multitude of media and information is getting lost in the mass, Vendôm wants to unite, gather, and provide a relevant recruitment information, as well as accompany people in their career development. We are a specialised luxury network, offering controlled recruitment.
Q – What do you enjoy most about the work you do?
By essence, moving the lines with extraordinary people is what we enjoy the most. As our network grows, we have a huge chance to come across many cultures and different entities of luxury, and meet passionate professionals who have a common sense for detail and a desire for excellence.
Luxury is a collection of emotions created by all these professionals; this contagious energy is what makes me vibe.
Q – What was the best advice you received about being in the luxury business today?
Undoubtedly, to be attentive and know how to care for customers. I had a great opportunity to work with exceptional personalities. I considered them as artists and poets, with the desire to tell a story. They took me along with them on their journey, and I wrote another story by creating VENDOM, making the virtuous path simpler.
Q – What are some of the biggest changes you expect to see in luxury hospitality post Covid? / How do you see the market evolving and what are the implications for brands?
Immediately after the crisis, travellers certainly will expect stronger sanitary measures and social distancing. Hotels are shifting in this direction, notably by reducing customer volume, and by offering formulas that allow for more privacy. During the crisis staycation concept has soared. People who were able to travel stayed in places closer to their homes, while hotels targeted new markets.
Luxury brands have long talked about personalisation, and this will move towards even more diversified offers for ultra-customized guests’ experiences. Nowadays, many so-called luxury brands have competitive offers, but true luxury always comes at a high cost, hence at a high price. For the rare and the unique, people always are willing to pay, regardless the amount.
Travellers will certainly also be looking for more private villas, favouring family, and close friends, as well as alternative transport solutions. Travel agents will have to work on these aspects.
The very definition of luxury will change. Security, individualisation, privacy will be among the key concepts. Emotion will also be a key factor. In this crisis that upsets us, the notion of emotions and feeling alive will be even stronger, the customer experience will require a tailored-made experience.
In recent years, many hotels 6 resorts have invested in sustainability. This trend will no doubt be reinforced, while travellers want to move away from densely populated areas. An even greater development of ecotourism is emerging. Secluded areas in wide-open spaces, allowing more people distancing, will be privileged by luxury travellers.
Q – Where do you see the luxury business heading overall and as it pertains to your line of work?
First, towards providing more attention to customers, their expectations, as well as great attention to their privacy and health. The luxury sector is the best place for its employees to build one-to-one privileged relationships with clients, and not just routine ones.
Second, by developing people in the field, and let their personalities blossom, so that every associate can become a genuine ambassador of the brand.
I like the vision for luxury business that François-Henry Benahmias, CEO at Audemars Piguet, formulated on our last Web luxury conference: “Business with love “. Which relates back to the above. Luxury and the human, the human and the emotional.
Q – What are your personal philosophies about luxury as a mindset and approach to living? How do you think people could get more out of luxury beyond acquisition?
It is undeniable that the younger generations are already concerned with responsible and environmentally friendly consumption. This is now present in almost all areas of luxury: fashion, beauty, catering, living experiences, resorts… This accountability transforms “consumers” into “social and environmental actors” by participating in the preservation and sustainability. The quest for meaning is also now a major trend in the luxury industry. More than ever, we must have in luxury the link between image and content. We will be much more attentive to it in the future, we are all responsible for the choices we make. Luxury will be a quest for excellence and virtue.
Q – What do you wish was known about luxury that thus far is not being talked about?
That it is oriented more and more towards a quest for meaning, as I have just mentioned, but also a more human, authentic adventure. We were talking about the younger generations who are really moving the lines, because they are the consumers of tomorrow’s luxury. It is certain that many cannot afford rare products or extremely luxurious experiences. However, it is less and less rare to see young influencers promoting vintage pieces from major brands.
In my opinion, the excellence of the great houses (jewellery, tableware, etc.) proves that luxury is also a heritage that continues to be transmitted while holding, as close as possible, the aspirations of its consumers.
Luxury is defined by its precision, finesse, and rarity. Once again, the lines will evolve and give meaning to this rarity and this meticulous work behind luxury. Dare to talk about crafts in luxury, it is beautiful, true, and so powerful when you know the precision of the gestures and behavior of a team behind every luxury product or service.
Q – Where meaning and humanity is concerned in luxury, how can luxury brands / properties and customers of luxury connect to ‘meaning’ in these evolutionary times for how luxury is conveyed and engaged with?
Many brands already do so for a large part and continue to work, notably by integrating themselves into their cultural, social, and natural environment. Many offer trainings programs aimed at integrating less advantaged populations or people in hospitality-related businesses.
Programmes to reduce waste, or redistribute unconsumed products, but also to use materials less harmful to the environment while being in a peaceful agreement with local authorities. Preservation, conservation of flora and fauna, have become in a few years, not only a real concern, but also an important factor to attract customers. Luxury can therefore be a formidable laboratory of virtuous ideas that emerge thanks to this emulation between professionals and consumers.
Q – How do you think we should articulate luxury in hospitality today and into the future?
Certainly, around the human factor, and focus on the individuals: their history, their culture, their profession, their family. Increasingly, luxury hotel professionals, while maintaining support for CRM, are focusing on interaction, and training their teams in this direction. The relationship between individuals, within the teams, but also between collaborator and client. Then, once again, I will say: listening, discretion, empathy, and benevolence.
Q – Luxury should be about how it’s experienced, it’s about feeling, an emotional connection and evocation. How do you think Luxury can be more charming and resonate more on an emotional level?
The emotional impact is, undoubtedly, the strongest factor to create customer loyalty.
And, as a direct consequence, to yield customer self-identification to the brand.
The challenge is certainly strong for luxury brands. We must be able to determine what can create this emotional impact: feeling unique, surprise, confidence, ease … The largest share of luxury buyers can afford anything, or almost anything. On the other hand, small, highly individualised attentions create wonder and even admiration.
Of course, the current virtualisation of contacts can be a real challenge to create this bond of strong confidence. For this, listening and exchange, even remotely, are paramount.
Q – How do you think that customers can get more out of how they relate to their engagement with luxury?
Undeniably, for future generations, it is a question, as I said, of finding meaning in their consumption. And soon, this will certainly go beyond simply joining a brand, a “tribe,” via social networks.
Becoming an actor in an exchange with the brand. Going back to the essence of luxury: an art of living, but in keeping with new lifestyles, perhaps less globalised, or simply more human.
For more information about The Vendom Company visit https://www.thevendomcompany.com