Benjamin Vacher, a Vatel 2013 alumnus, is now the Communication and Marketing Manager of the Palais Sebban. A true gem of Moroccan-Andalousian architecture, with 25 rooms and suites, in one of the most beautiful riads in Marrakesh, right in the heart of the Medina. Find out more about Benjamin and his job here.
What did you want to do when you were little?
When I was little I hesitated between the two things I loved the most: soccer and cooking. I dreamed of being the Head Chef - something my mom conveyed to me - or a soccer player. Well actually I thought I’d really like being a sports journalist, influenced by my dad. Both of them taught me the importance of working well and I thank them for that.
What did you like about international hotel management?
The word “international” which, alone, makes you think of a lot of things. Especially exchanges, traveling, discovering other cultures, and so on.
What made you choose Vatel?
For me it was when I went to an Open House Day in Vatel Lyon, when I still had another year of high school left. The fact that this school is internationally known, with a mixture of theory and practical applications, having a degree recognized all over the world, four months of internship at least. All of this, which for me was essential, convinced me.
What is your best memory the time you spent at school?
We could probably write a book, there are so many of them. Not only for courses that I took, but also because I was involved in campus life at Vatel, as I was active member of the Student Services Department.I think what most impacted me is how the mixture of theoretical courses and practical courses fits our jobs so very well. We sort of feel that it will, when you understand Vatel’s educational concept, but when you haven’t done it, it’s hard to imagine how good this really is. Vatel is really a springboard giving you a head start for your first job!Today, I realize this. To succeed as a manager in a hotel or restaurant, you have to be able to do all the jobs of the people you’ll be managing, without underestimating any of them. And I’d like to take advantage of this opportunity to thank the Vatel Lyon practical application structures: the Restaurant, the Vatel Gourmet boutique, the Cafe Vatel, because of the great professional and human experiences I had there.
How did you get the job you currently have?
In jobs involved in the international hospitality industry, more than in other branches, recruitment takes place using a professional network. I was recruited by Julien Haroune, my classmate, who is the Operational Manager of the Palais Sebban.
The Sebban Patio and the Oudaya Suite
What does your job consist in?
I’m the Marketing and Communication Manager. On a daily basis I work in close cooperation with Julien on our hotel’s global strategy. This was a job that didn’t exist before I came, so I had to design and put in place:
- a short, mid and long-term marketing plan;
- communication tools for our hotel (a presentation booklet, being present on Facebook, TripAdvisorresponses)
- adding value to our internal events (Riad current events and external ones (our city’s events such as the International Marrakesh Film Festival, and the Marrakesh du Rire [Comedy Show], etc.
As well as ensuring the sustainability of these actions on a daily basis, my job consists in increasing room occupancy rate as well as the number of people served in the restaurant. That means we need a sales strategy (customer loyalty program, promotions, participation in trade fairs, etc.). A varied and exciting job!
And in the midst of all this work, you created Hospitality Agency with Julien.
Hospitality Agency is both a management company and a Marketing and Sales consultancy, specialized in hotel and restaurants in riads and luxury hotels. We founded it as a complement to our activities for Palais Sebban. We got this idea after having studied the Marrakesh market and its many professional needs. Marrakesh is a city that thrives because of tourism, but where there is a lack of qualified personnel to manage its many hotels. In the Ochre City, as that’s Marrakesh’s nickname, no one has services like ours. We’re ready to develop them with our peers in the profession.
What do you like the most about hotel management?
The fact that nothing is fixed and that we always have to change, learn and discover new tools. That’s the beauty of this job.
The Palais Sebban Restaurant and Pool