Who are you Aurélien Vionnet?
I am, among others, the founder of PMS Thaïs since 2004. This makes me a 38-year-old man who lives in Toulouse and works with his teams in Montpellier.
What has been your career path so far?
My father was the manager of a hotel in the Jura. I naturally spent a few summers working there. Then I went to work as a restaurant waiter at a campsite in Clairvaux-les-Lacs. It must be said that the family, pays rather badly…(laughs)
After graduating as a software engineer, I was hired at Thales Alenia Space in Cannes as a research and development engineer for satellite flight software. I did that for 7 years.
And I learned a lot. Technical things that allowed me to develop something that works, but I especially learned that I was not made for big companies and their functioning. The salary is good (very good) but that didn’t stop me from being very frustrated by the sterility and the heaviness of everything that was undertaken there (when something was undertaken…). This observation, coupled with the fact that I already had as a graduation project a hotel management cloud planning (it was not yet a PMS) that brought me 17 000 € / year, motivated me to resign and try it. And then, I have to be honest, the risk was limited by a leave of absence to create a company and 20 000€ of help from Thales.
Basically, I had the project, the budget, the time, the desire and the motivation to try to start a company.
Where were you 10 years ago?
Precisely, in 2013, I wanted to leave the space. In 2014, it was time to leave.
New life, new city.
The most challenging part of your job?
Frankly, there really isn’t any left.
Starting and learning ALL aspects of a company was a sport. I was a developer and I had to become a salesman, a support person, a marketer, an accountant, a manager and an HR person at the same time. I was generally bad at a lot of things.
Now, we have a company that runs, top people in each position, a nice work environment, no pressure from investors or profitability, and above all happy customers. And this last point is the key to everything. We don’t force anyone to work with us and we don’t lock them into stupid contracts.
It allows us to work with people who are happy to be there and that changes EVERYTHING on a daily basis.
Your greatest professional pride?
To have a profitable business while being surrounded by people I love to work with. I hope the feeling is mutual, but I believe it is.
Where will you be in 10 years?
At the same location, but with more resources and more customers.
Thaïs may become the French leader in cloud PMS, who knows… But that’s not the main objective. It will be more a consequence of the work we’ve done. My personal goal is to feel good about myself and I don’t need to be the best or the strongest for that. I mostly need the recognition of the people around me (and of course some money so I don’t have to worry about it).
Your first time with Revenue Management?
The first time we worked with a Revenue Manager was with Pricematch. They used Thaïs APIs to play with a PMS easily and test their automatic rate injection.
Your best time with Revenue Management?
Connecting an RMS like revbell to Thaïs in such a simple and efficient way is a good experience for us and our customers. As is often the case, it is the connection between two systems that makes the difference in the day-to-day use of the solution. It took us 3 days to develop the connection, without even bothering us, and today it works perfectly.
What does N&C mean to you?
A great team. I knew N&C thanks to revbell. It’s the point of contact we had, and then I knew the teams starting with Florent Manotta, and I’m delighted to work with all of you and to offer a solution composed of our two tools to our customers.
For the less experienced in Hospitality, what is a PMS?
A PMS (Property Management System) is simply an internal and central management tool of a hotel. It was originally used as a planning and billing system, but nowadays it is much more than that.
It is the basis of the entire digital system of a hotel. It’s where all the other systems plug into to work. From CRM for customer relations to Channel Manager for distribution on OTAs, to RMS for price recommendation… Everything is connected to the PMS.
Basically, it’s the hotel’s own database, with nice interfaces (GUIs or APIs) that everyone plugs into, and revbell first.
A few words on Thaïs?
It’s a great PMS of course! And I’m not the only one saying that, otherwise it doesn’t really count I guess. It’s the PMS of the present that will be there in the future. As our site says so well, we’re helping hoteliers and restaurateurs get back to their real business. They can take care of their customers and their teams in the field while managing and distributing their rooms simply on their software without spending their days struggling with gas plants.
For the next interview, who would you like to read and why?
A member of Synapse, so he could explain to us his concept and why, it’s great to have a French label that certiﬁe the connections between partners in the Hospitality sector.