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BE OUR GUEST: Value Retail Management Ltd., which runs designer outlets across Europe, and Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne, the hospitality management school, have joined to develop The Academy by Value Retail program. The program aims to channel the expertise of the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne into the skill sets of Value Retail employees, such as leadership development. The partnership will last for three years.
The debut course took place in February at Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne in Beijing, and the second will take place at Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne in Switzerland in September. Courses run from one to five days, depending on the individual and country.
Value Retail is the first international retailer to partner with Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne. “Our business model is based on an international savvy shopper from around the world or a domestic, sophisticated customer, who is traveling and making a time commitment to come to shop with any of our villages,” said Desiree Bollier, chief executive officer of Value Retail.
“Evolving our business model, year-on-year and fine-tuning it, clearly we looked at our services, and it was critical for us to elevate the experience. We really needed to partner with true expertise in the industry of hospitality. Lausanne just made a lot of sense,” she added.
The partnership is a first for Lausanne, and something of a risk: “We were a little skeptical because we weren’t sure,” said Yateendra Sinh, chief executive of Lausanne Hospitality Consulting, a part of the school. “This is a new direction for us as well. While we are good at hotels, whilst we are good at engineering experiences, we’ve not worked in this dimension of shopping destination. They are talking about destination management: How do I make a great day out for the family? How do I make a great day out the Chinese clients who flew half way across the world to arrive here? That becomes very interesting for us. We are learning. It’s much more about seeking human experiences, and stories we can tell.”
Bollier added that Value Retail needs to be “in the experience business. The only way customers will continue to come to us is because we can actually really create moments that are not forgettable.”