Graduate Insight, François Jestin
“You don’t become a hotelier overnight, it takes work.” A powerful statement from François Jestin, who graduated in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in International Hospitality Management, and today is Deputy Executive Housekeeper and Laundry Manager at the luxurious Bvlgari Hotel Paris. After gaining experience in large establishments such as Le Meurice and The Peninsula Paris, François discovered the Bvlgari Paris group following the opening of their hotel in the French capital. He has agreed to give us a look behind the scenes at a professional experience full of development opportunities.
BEING PART OF THE OPENING OF AN ESTABLISHMENT: “A CAREER ACCELERATOR” for François jestin
Tell us about your company and your role?
In 2021, the Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts collection decided to continue its expansion with the opening of its seventh location in Paris, after Milan, Bali, London and Beijing. That’s how, four months before the opening of the Bvlgari Paris, I had the opportunity to join the team at this new establishment.
In the role of Deputy Executive Housekeeper and Laundry Manager, the opening of a new hotel is a real challenge that you have to manage on a daily basis. Purchasing, supply, setup and outfitting of the hotel were my first tasks, before addressing the employee component which involved recruiting the 50 staff, along with induction and training.
Today, I am involved in the daily running of the department and I ensure the comfort of our very demanding clientele, as well as rigorously upholding the quality standards of our establishment.
What was your background and why did you choose this profession?
After several internships in housekeeping, on reception and in project management, I got my first permanent contract in a company specialising in hotel management and the opening of new hotels. Starting out as a Project Manager, I had the opportunity to progress quite quickly to the position of Deputy Project Director.
Following this experience, I decided to join the Bvlgari Paris team, because I wanted to be closer to the ground and have a more operational component to my role. The project for the opening of the Bvlgari Paris appealed to me immediately, I knew that it was going to be an extremely formative challenge and a real career accelerator.
What SKILLS do you think are essential FOR your role?
To work in my department, which we call housekeeping, you need to have certain essential technical knowledge and skills, such as knowing the legal framework in relation to human resources (managing a schedule, holidays, employment rights and obligations), understanding the basics of management, and also being aware of the technical constraints of a hotel (furnishing, accessibility, safety).
Nevertheless, the most important capability for me, and for everyone around me, is interpersonal skills. Discretion, professional integrity, dynamism and endurance are the foundations of our daily duties and the quality of service that we maintain.
Can you give us an example of a project?
As the laundry manager for the Bvlgari Paris hotel, it was my job to construct the entire department, it was a real challenge! I’ll never forget the first fittings, welcoming our first seamstresses and laundry crew, the first uniforms being put on … Today, I manage more than 2,500 items of uniform. One hell of an adventure!
What do you like the most about your everyday work?
Every day we prepare the most beautiful rooms and suites for our guests. We find out what each of our residents prefer in order to offer them much more than a simple stay – a truly ultra-personalised and unique experience. We achieve this goal with the help of our housekeepers, room attendants and team members. It’s a really rewarding team effort and that’s what I like about every day.
What aspect do you find the most challenging?
In my job, there is definitely no routine, every day we start from scratch, nothing is set in stone, unexpected events are our daily routine! We must plan for each of our actions and put the necessary operational resources in place. Our job requires time and staff, we cannot afford to make mistakes in the daily planning of our tasks.
How did the Institut Paul Bocuse provide you with the skills needed to CARRY OUT YOUR ROLE?
The Institut Paul Bocuse has enabled me to be extremely flexible, to adapt to any type of professional situation. As the apprenticeships and internships progressed, I became really versatile. Today I am able to help out in any department of the hotel and, at the same time, to carry out the tasks entrusted to me on a daily basis impeccably.
What advice would you give to future students who are interested in thIS TYPE OF profession?
Don’t waste a moment, every day is a new opportunity to learn, and in the hospitality industry there is so much to discover and learn. To progress quickly, you need to work, and work hard, to acquire the necessary skills. You don’t become a hotelier overnight, it takes work! And don’t forget to learn what you can from experienced professionals, they have a lot to pass on.
Join François Jestin as part of the new generation of managers and leaders of the hotel industry of tomorrow: enrol in our Bachelor in International Hotel Management.
Included in the six specialisations in the fourth year, the specialism in Luxury Hospitality Management is an additional opportunity for our students to acquire the practical and theoretical knowledge to gain access to this professional environment of excellence.