Jerome Serot graduated from Vatel in Lyon in 1994. He founded his first company in 1999 and his second one in 2004: The Marketing Factors, recently rebranded as SmarteHotels, specialized in optimization of centralized Global Distribution Systems for reservations e-distribution and booking engines for independent luxury hotels. SmarteHotels’ headquarters are located in San Antonio, Texas and there are three branch offices in New York, Minneapolis and in Spain.
What is your current position?
I’m what people would refer to as a true entrepreneur. I’m the CEO and founder of SmarteHotels, a company targeting independent hotels and small hotel chains that are trying to optimize their systems and booking engines.
What did you do before attending Vatel?
I majored in economy and science in high school and then enrolled in Vatel.
Because of a trip to Thailand! A long stay at the Bangkok Mandarin Oriental Hotel after I graduated from high school. Life in this palace fascinated me. When I came back to France, I started looking for the best school to study hotel and tourist management. That was Vatel.
What do you remember the most about when you attended Vatel? A story to tell?
I have too many anecdotes to tell. I had the opportunity to be a part of the Vatelien team that organized the integration week-end for new students. We went to the city of Arles in the south of France, in the Bouches-du-Rhone region. This is a great memory.
Could you tell us about something that was done or said while you were attending Vatel (either in your theoretical and practical courses or during an internship) that still influences you today in your professional life?
When I was doing an internship in England, at Knutsford Chersire to be exact, the hotel manager told me, “what’s most important is not what you actually say, but what the other person understands.” I can say that I apply this each and every day, and that it has helped my in my job.
What have you done since you graduated? What opportunities have you had?
After I graduated, I joined the events department at the Lutetia Hotel in Paris. This is a four-star luxury hotel in the Latin Quarter in Paris that belongs to the Concorde Hotels & Resorts Group. This first job allowed me to lead the opening of the first Marriott in Paris on the Champs Elysees. It still is the only five-star hotel on the “most beautiful avenue in the world.”
Then I left for New York to open a DMC (Destination Management Company). These destination management companies, also known as “receptive agencies” are specialized in local tourism: transportation, accommodations, restaurants, activities, trips, logistics, linguistic assistance, etc.
Then in 1999, I founded my first company in New York, “Private Entrance Collection,” specialized in Sales & Marketing for luxury trips and representation of hotels on the New York market. Life then took me to Dallas and San Antonio, Texas, where, in 2002, I was the Sales and Marketing Manager for La Mansion Del Rio and Watermark Hotel, that was being opened.
Always pushed by my entrepreneurial ambitions, in 2004 I founded a new company in San Antonio: “The Marketing Factors,” a company proposing a multitude of services in sales and marketing for independent hotels, and which also represents Hotels & Preference in the USA. “TMF” has recently changed its visual identity and even name and has now been rebranded as “Smartehotels.”
“Vatel made me more open-minded and allowed me to meet people who contributed to making me who I am today.”
Aurélie Ponce - Operations manager for the Cheval Blanc Paris Hotel / 2006 Alumnus
Vatel Hotel and Tourism Business School in Bahrain marks the commencement of admissions for the academic year 2024-2025, a gateway to guaranteed employment in the dynamic field of international hotel management.Read more
In partnership with "Fact" magazine, Vatel Hotel & Tourism Business School proudly acknowledged and honored 18 students for their outstanding contributions to the successful organization of the "Fact Dining Awards Bahrain 2023" event.Read more
VATEL Group, specialized in teaching Hospitality and Tourism Management, is proud to announce the nomination of Karine Sebban-Benzazon as CEO of our Group.Read more
Vatel Hospitality and Tourism Business School recently exhibited its stellar academic programs at the high-profile International Education Fair held in Sharjah, UAE from October 18-21, 2023.Read more
the General Director of Vatel Bahrain, assumed the role of the Kingdom of Bahrain's representative at the 17th annual international convention of the Vatel Group, The event took place in the Republic of Rwanda, AfricaRead more
Shaikh Khaled bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, General Director of Vatel Hospitality & Tourism Business School, met with Eric GIRAUD-TELME, the newly appointed French Ambassador to Bahrain.Read more
Vatel Hospitality & Tourism Business School held an induction day for its new students of the academic year 2023-2024.Read more
In a landmark collaboration, Vatel Hospitality & Tourism Business School and Swiss-Belresidences Hotel have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) aimed at bolstering their ties.Read more
With limited available seats, the deadline for admissions applications swiftly approaches, set for the evening of Thursday, September 21, 2023.Read more
Taking active involvement in 'Youth City 2030' this year, the Vatel Hospitality & Tourism Business School in Bahrain is delighted to present an insightful session in partnership with the Gulf Hotel, on 'The Dining Protocol and Etiquette'.Read more
The open day event, presented by Vatel Hospitality and Tourism Business School under the theme "Discover Hospitality" in collaboration with the InterContinental Regency Bahrain Hotel, saw an impressive surge of participants.Read more
The meeting centered around forging collaborative ties between the college and the hotel, capitalizing on their distinguished partnership, and devising strategies to enhance student development and leverage the hotel's extensive expertise.Read more
Vatel Hospitality & Tourism Business School has joined hands with the Intercontinental Regency Bahrain Hotel to announce an upcoming open day titled ‘Discover Hospitality’Read more
The Ministry of Education in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has officially recognised Vatel Hospitality & Tourism Business School in Bahrain as one of the recommended higher education provider for Saudi students to enrol in.Read more
Vatel Bahrain and Jumeirah Gulf of Bahrain Resort and Spa have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to provide training opportunities for college students and enhance cooperation in the fields of hospitality and tourism.Read more
Dr. Mohammed bin Mubarak Juma, Minister of Education and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Higher Education Council, visited Vatel Bahrain, College of Hospitality at its headquarters in Al-Jasra.Read more
H.E. Mr. Nabil bin Yaqub Al-Hamar, the Media Affairs Advisor to His Majesty the King, paid a visit to the headquarters of the Vatel Hospitality & Tourism Business School in Al Jasra.Read more
Jameel bin Mohammad Ali Humaidan, Minister of Labour met with Shaikh Khalid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, Director-General of Vatel Bahrain.Read more
Manama, June 22 (BNA): Rawan bint Najeeb Tawfiqi, Minister of Youth Affairs, received Shaikh Khalid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, Director-General of Vatel Hospitality and Tourism Business School.Read more
Vatel Bahrain participated in the evaluation panel for student performance in Vatel Nîmes, France. The Grand Oral takes place in June each year, and successful students are awarded a bachelor’s degree in international Hotel Management.Read more
Vatel Bahrain & Conrad Bahrain Financial Harbour signed a MoU to strengthen bilateral relations and cooperation between the two parties, and work to provide training opportunities for Vatel students in the fields of hospitality, and tourism.Read more
Vatel Bahrain, in collaboration with the Gulf Hotel, honoured 43 of their students for their successful participation in the Formula 1 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix, as well as the 146th General Assembly Meeting of the International Parliamentary UnionRead more
Vatel Hospitality & Tourism Business School continues its academic achievements as it maintains the 11th rank in the world, among 160 universities worldwide, according to the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023.Read more
Vatel Hospitality & Tourism Business School won the International Student Ratio Award in the Global Higher Education Exhibition “GHEDEX 2023”.Read more
The Vatel Hospitality & Tourism Business School in Bahrain organised a field trip for foundation year students in cooperation with The Art Hotel & ResortRead more
Vatel Bahrain organised a student site visit to various archaeological tourist sites in the Kingdom of Bahrain, including the Pearling Path.Read more
Manama, Apr. 18 (BNA): Vatel Bahrain will double its admission capacity to provide the local tourism scene with more highly skilled national workforce, Director General Shaikh Khalid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa announcedRead more
Exhibition World Bahrain signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Vatel Bahrain to provide mentorship and career guidance and opportunities to students, host various guest speakers and attract mutual beneficial opportunities.Read more
Foundation year students at Vatel Hospitality & Tourism Business School participated in workshops entitled "Etiquette in Hospitality", to acquire the skills required to start their practical training in accordance with international standards.Read more
The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain and Vatel Bahrain signed an agreement that further strengthened their partnership in developing future leaders in luxury hospitality.Read more
The Supreme Organising Committee of the Bahrain International Airshow (BIAS 2022) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Vatel Bahrain – International Hospitality School.Read more
The General Director of Vatel Hotel & Tourism Business School in Bahrain, Shaikh Khaled bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, visited Vatel's campus in Nimes, France, where he met with the college's leadership and several topics were discussed.Read more
General Director of Vatel Bahrain stressed the importance of strengthening relations and links between the college’s branch in Bahrain, and other Vatel locations across the globe, especially Vatel’s headquarters in Lyon in France.Read more
Vatel Hospitality & Tourism Business School attained a new academic achievement by ranking 11th in the world in the “QS World University Rankings” in Hospitality & Leisure Management, by subject, for the year 2022, out of 150 universities worldwide.Read more
More and more human communities consider ecotourism to be a solution that promotes their way of life, and preserves their culture and biodiversity surrounding them.Read more
Martin Rousset, a Vatel Nimes student, flew to Antananarivo for Vatel Madagascar’s specialization in ecotourism management for his last MBA year.Read more
The tourism sector, one that now attracts millions of young students throughout the world, is in tune with globalizationthat is currently being overturned by inequalities and environmental threats.Read more
Vatel Rwanda started in 2016, we began to prepare the first intake for 2018, headed by Nicole Bamukunde, a Rwandese graduate of Vatel, and who has worked in startups in her country, which is totally renewing itself.Read more
This last week of November, 339 5th year students competed in English for 1st place on the podium.Read more