Meet Virginie Rouault – Director of Sales Europe citizenM and Chapter Leader Paris WHTT
I have always been driven by both intuition and logic, helping me to always come up with solutions. My strength lays in problem solving as I see problems as challenges and more importantly life experiences. Puzzles are one of my passions over the weekends! Being quite people driven eager to build connections and explore everyone else’s needs. It most certainly impacted my own vision of sales which is to me a similar to the design thinking process; empathize, define, ideate, prototype and test.
It’s all about active listening to define the initial problem and as a result convey the appropriate solutions to clients or in my case even my team.
My partner would also say that I care about things around me and that my superpower is that I have quite a big memory aptitude, so I can’t be fooled easily!
How does your strength play into the work:
In my current role as Manager Sales Europe at citizenM which I grew into, I had the opportunity – especially this year in these challenging covid times – to strengthen my leadership skills in and definitely make use of my problem solving skills. With a full remote approach and less opportunities to meet in person, it’s all about creating new dynamics as well as listening to continue to further strengthen collaboration between team members. Resilience is also key in these times, you have to be flexible, ready to change direction anytime while providing new creative/innovative solutions. Bringing people to work together as a team while achieving their own personal path as well is what drives me everyday. It certainly requires a lot of focus on observing, listening and aligning towards the objectives. Somehow I see myself as the link that helps the magic happen supporting this process both for the team and the company.
Imagine your best hospitality / hotel experience – what does it look like?
To me the best hotel experience is the one that at heart is purely driven by real caring. I remember a few months ago being at a bar of a hotel ordering food for the evening with a voice and a nose that could say I had a cold. 10 minutes later the same guy that took my order came back to me spontaneously with a warmed tea nicely prepared with a slice of lemon and he said ‘this is my secret flu recipe, I thought you’d appreciate me sharing that recipe with you tonight!’. What a genuine touch that simply was the expression of a human being to another. Such an attitude requires passion, attention and care. I am a huge advocate of technology supporting the customer journey and removing frictions so that employees can focus on creating those moments/connections (against administration tasks) that should always be at the heart of your experience while staying in a hotel. In the near future and even more post covid I really see hotels becoming a place fully part of the local community where you can cowork, meet, eat, attend events, exercise and…sleep. 2 examples in France of this growing trend are The babel community or Le grand quartier.
What brings you the greatest joy at work?
The passion and excitement of a team member when he/she finally has a yes from a client after working so hard on tailoring the best solution for them! They feel so proud of themselves as a result and you can’t remove that smile on their face when it happens.
My advice for women in hospitality and travel-tech:
Forget those boundaries you sometimes create for yourself just because of the status quo and the establishment. They are no limits and you can certainly create your own journey and follow a path that nobody ever did before you! Be curious, learn constantly and never stop exploring new areas. Connecting with industry peers or people you would consider as mentors is a part of that learning experience, getting to know others, their challenges, their perspectives, their path…and most importantly let’s make friends along the way!