I am currently completing my internship at the Sukhothai which is a 5 star luxury hotel located in downtown Thailand, Bangkok.
I am presently the front office management trainee from June 11th, 2013- November 11th, 2013. I have been participating in a lot of training and heading to different departments so I do not have a set routine yet. I originally started off my training with the concierge department to learn how they operate with the front desk. I also received training and spent a few days with the reservations department, the housekeeping department, the business center, along with a few hours in other outlets within the hotel such as the spa to learn how they operate as well. My work environment is well air-conditioned as the weather is very hot here and I am still learning the Thai culture/language as the days go on.
As everyday is very different, I decided to choose one of the recent days I was at front desk to complete my blog. As a management trainee I perform the duties of and get trained by the duty manager.
I commute to work by walking, as the condominium I live in is a 15-minute walk from the hotel. I wake up to get ready for work at 07:00 a.m. and I am out the door by 07:40 a.m. (This will change, as I will start at various times through out my term here). During my walk to work, I pass many sidewalk food vendors selling plentiful amounts of Thai food, most of which would be considered a ‘unique’ breakfast in North America.
By 8:00 a.m. I am at the hotel greeted by the hotel security guards at the employee entrance. Everyone at the hotel is very friendly and I am always welcomed by warm smiles upon arriving to work. I sign in with my fingerprint, go to the uniform department to pick up my suit and change in the locker room for my shift. I then head to the staff canteen for breakfast and chat with friends I have made from various departments before heading up to the front desk to begin my shift.
At 8:30 a.m., I sit at the front desk and perform basic duties like answering calls, reading emails, making keys, prepping the afternoon shift, read the duty manager log, and check guests in/out of the system. I also have to go to the back and memorize VIP guest names and faces so I am aware of whom they are when they arrive at the hotel.
It’s a little different at this hotel, as when guests come to sit, we have to stand, Wai and say Sawadee Kraup to them, which is a Thai greeting. Also, when we check guests in, we physically walk them to the room, giving them a hotel orientation along the way. Each guest also receives a room orientation as we have a variety of different suites, which highlights all the features of the room (E.g. you have to put the keycard in the socket for the lights/A/C to operate, show them the Japanese toilet if one is present , show them the complimentary fruit/chocolate truffles, electric curtains), along with any other special requests they have made (Photo F). This process increases the time it takes to get the guest to the room especially when we have to follow the LQA (Leading Quality Assurance) standards the hotel follows.
Around 12:00 p.m. I head to the staff canteen for an hour to eat lunch. During lunch, someone always asks me if the food is too spicy or asks me ‘who taught you to eat spicy food?’ Food is very important to the Thai people and they are very impressed that I can eat spicy food as foreigners in the past brought their own food because they could not eat the canteen food. For the Thai employees, the canteen has regular food and they are probably sick of it, but to me, every meal is a new experience as the food changes daily.
At 1:00 p.m. I head back to the desk and greet guests as they begin to arrive at the hotel. Around 1:30 p.m. a guest called down because they are feeling ill so we called the Global Doctor for them. I brought the doctor up to guest’s room when they arrived and obtained a report from them prior to the doctors’ departure. I keep track of the timings, details, and follow up with the guest later on, as I will have to create a report for the duty manager log. I also have to coordinate a get-well card for the guest as well. I’ve been here for 3 weeks now and I’ve seen guests get diagnosed with a variety of illnesses ranging from bronchitis, appendicitis, and gastroenteritis.
At 2:30 p.m. I attended the briefing for the afternoon shift. After that meeting, I went to the business center to attend another meeting about upcoming groups that will be staying at the hotel in following weeks.
At 3:45 p.m. I update the safe and stay with the front desk to help out where needed.
At 4:00 p.m. the duty manager brought me up to train me how to open the safety box in the guest room when the battery runs out or any other issue with it arises so I am aware on how to do it when I am alone.
At around 5:30 p.m. I begin making the incident reports for the duty manager log and assist in writing other duty managers logs as well.
At around 6:00 p.m. I begin to close my shift by finishing up any left over work that has accumulated over the day or deal with any issues that might arise and usually leave around 7:00 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. which is not that bad as it is not unusual for other staff to work 14 hours in a day. Working a minimum of 10 hours a day for 5 days a week is still something I am getting used to as I get exhausted by the end of the week. After I am done my shift I head down to the canteen and eat a quick dinner before changing. I then sign out and walk home. I spend weekends swimming in the condominium pool and enjoying the view of Bangkok from the balcony. There are a lot of local markets nearby and many temples/site-seeing places to visit. I rode in a tuk tuk, which are famous in Thailand and enjoy the wonderful culture I am blessed to embrace.