Welcome to my work abroad dream at Crowne Plaza Guangzhou City Centre.
First of all, I will like to introduce the area of Guangzhou. The language that is spoken is mainly Cantonese, Mandarin, and English. Guangzhou is an amazing place to live as a foreigner in my personal opinion. You are able travel to different parts of China, Hong Kong, and Macau by train, metro, bus, and ferry. It also allows you the chance to travel around Asia with less travel time and expenses. As well, many foreigners within the Guangzhou area gather around to places like “The Brew”. The Brew is a Canadian operated pub that hosts the best North American burgers and wings within Guangzhou. On my first day in Guangzhou and Canada’s Day, I went to The Brew to meet with my new coworkers and fellow foreigners in Guangzhou. It is really a mix of Canadian pub atmosphere and Chinese pub culture. During, my free time, I usually walk around Yuexiu district for around 30 minutes in different directions and visit “The Oppa House” to eat Korean food. So far, I have explored places like Panyu, Zhujiang New Town, and Tianhe District. Within a few weeks, I will be visiting Hong Kong to get a new phone since mine doesn’t work here and it is less expensive in Hong Kong. Overall, I feel that working for the IHG brand is suitable for me because it allows me the chance to grow and learn from my coworkers and guests. I am really excited to stay here for 1 year and possibly longer.
My life as an intern in Crowne Plaza Guangzhou City Centre has been exciting and eventful. I am a Guest Service Management Trainee, at Crowne Plaza Guangzhou City Centre. The Crowne Plaza Guangzhou City Centre soft opening was on June 25th 2011. Crowne Plaza Guangzhou City Centre is an exclusive international 5-star standard hotel that features 460 guest rooms and suites with a city view or Bai Yun Mountain view. It is known as the 63 Building with 3 restaurants, gym facilities, lobby lounge, 2 ballrooms, and 9 meeting rooms.
Overall, I work five to six days a week depending on my days off. I have different shifts throughout the week. I am living at the hotel, which is convenient since it only takes me six minutes to clock in. As well, I am able to greet guests on my way to work, which makes it a good start to the day.
Today is July 6th 2015 in Guangzhou, China. My shift today starts from 7:30am until 4 – 5pm. For most of the day, I am located at the front desk or Fresh Asian Buffet Restaurant (Fresh). The first thing that happens in the morning is an early morning briefing for the Front Desk, Concierge, and Guest Service staff. It is a way for everyone to understand what is going on within the hotel for the day and expectation from our managers. After the meeting, I check through my emails and do online Opera training. My Opera training is about making reservations, and checking-in and out guests. I talk to myself to practice how to speak to the guests. An Example would be “Welcome to Crowne Plaza Guangzhou City Centre, how may I help you?”. This way I can smoothly work as Front Desk staff.
Around 8am, I head up to the 5th floor to Fresh Asian Buffet Restaurant. On the way, I greet guests “Good Morning” in Chinese and/or English. Once, I arrive at Fresh. I look around the restaurant to make sure all the names for the dishes are in the correct spot and head to tables to greet guests. While I greet guests, I ask if they would like any coffee and get to know their experiences within the hotel. At times, I assist with seating guests to help the hostesses. Overall, it is important to make sure that nothing at the buffet table is empty by advising fellow staff or getting it myself. The challenge for me is about knowing the correct Chinese word for an item or request by a guest. This is because I am an English-speaker with a beginner level of Mandarin Chinese. Another important task that I have at Fresh is to give out guest satisfactions survey cards to understand the guest opinions during their breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The survey is given to help improve the restaurant by the guests’ needs and experiences.
Other locations that I visit during the morning are the Crowne Executive Lounge Floor on the 56th floor, 50th Premium Lounge, or the Lobby. Today, I headed to the 56th floor and 50th floor to check on the morning food arrangement, staff, and guests. Once, I check over everything. I head back to either the 5th floor or front desk. Since, I am training to work on the front desk I head back downstairs to learn Opera and study information about the hotel.
Around 10am, I head up to Fresh for breakfast with coworkers. Usually for my daily meals, I can eat at the tenants canteen or Fresh Asian Buffet Restaurant. After breakfast, I visit the 3rd floor to check on events held today. Since I do have class and work assignments. I take time to do projects for the hotel and reflect on my progress with my coworkers.
Around 12:30, I am a lobby ambassador. I help to direct guest to the front desk or other locations within the hotel. It is important to make sure that guest are directed to proper locations and ask if they need help with their bags. Once, I have stayed within the lobby for a while, I either head back to practice Opera or head up to fresh to help with lunch. I do almost the same thing for lunch at Fresh except I don’t ask people for coffee. I check to see the names are correct, food is fully stocked, and staff is okay. After that I stay for lunch for about 30 minutes.
Once, I have finished my lunch, I head back to the front desk to have a briefing again at 2:40pm. The briefing is to inform the new shift staff of today events and information. Once, briefing is over I stay in the front desk office to review Opera training and information. I check on the front desk staff to help get documents for them. As well, it is a chance for me to learn first hand about front desk tasks. Some of the tasks are about getting documents and scanning passports. If the front desk isn’t busy, I will be the lobby ambassador or I will go back to Opera training.
Lastly, the day ends looking through my emails and saying goodbye to my coworkers. I clock out to end my shift and head upstairs to rest for an early morning shift again.
One of the best things, that I like so far working at Crowne Plaza Guangzhou is having the opportunity to communicate with international and Chinese guest. My coworkers help me to improve my language abilities because we learn from each with English and Mandarin. I have learnt a lot about the area and Chinese culture. As well, I had the opportunity to go to the 63rd floor known to be a formerly used helicopter landing of our hotel, in order to see the panorama view of Guangzhou. I also had the chance to visit other hotels to learn the differences and start individual projects. I am simply living up to my dreams because the staff here is friendly, outgoing, creative, and respectful. They are all leaders in their own way. I wouldn’t be successful in my training without their help and encourage. There have been endless experiences that I would love to mention working here for my internship. However, it is easier to experience it for yourself.
Take a leap of faith and work abroad.