Royal Roads Tourism

Victoria, BC

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A Day in the Life of a Shangri-La Suzhou Hotel Internship! – Joe Chen

Shangri-La SuZhou hotel(SLSZ) is located in the SuZhou New District. SuZhou is a major city located in the southeast of Jiangsu Province, adjacent to Shanghai. It is one of the fastest developing cities in China, has over 2,500 years of rich history. The integration and conflicts between traditional and modern culture make this city very unique.

As one of the most luxury five star hotels in Suzhou, SLSZ has 410 rooms,  include 275 Deluxe Rooms, 86 Horizon Club Rooms, 29 Premier Suites and 20 Serviced Apartments. At the first floor, the hotel has a Lobby Lounge, it provides 78 seats and offers cocktails, wine, soft drink, snacks and the library, next to the Lobby Lounge is the hotel’s Café Soo, “Soo” is the pronunciation of “Su”. Café Soo has 196 seats and provides breakfast/lunch/dinner buffet. As SLSZ has a lot of Japanese customers, a Japanese restaurant is available in the same floor. At the 2nd floor are three ballrooms and a Chinese restaurant – Shang Palace, it offers different Chinese cuisine. Spa and gym are located at the 5th floor. The building includes totally 51 floors. From 6th floor to 27th floor are lending to other companies. Guest rooms are available from 28th floor to 51th floor. The Horizon Club Lounge is located at the 48th floor and servers only from floor 43rd floor to 48th. After one month working at the concierge (June 6th to July 11th), I moved to Horizon Club Lounge and started supporting the Food and Beverage section (another section is front desk).

Different department has different shifts. In Horizon Club Lounge there are four types of shifts-A,B,D,S. Because Horizon Club Lounge provides breakfast buffet from 6:30am to 10am, colleagues of shift A need to start working from 6am to 3pm, Shift B is from 14:15 to 11pm, mainly support the “Happy Hour” dinner buffet, Shift D is the manager’s shift which is from 8:30 to 17:30. Shift S is from 7am to 11am and 5pm to 9pm.

Here is a day in my life of the shift B

After lunch I went out from home to the bus stop. It was 12:45pm when I got the stop. The bus arrived very soon. It took me about half an hour to get the hotel. After I changed my uniform, it was about 1:45pm. It took me quite a while to wait for the elevator – because it located at the 48th floor. When I got Horizon Club Lounge it was nearly 2pm. I walked around to check the whole area and stayed at the Horizon Club front desk to wait for my colleagues. Another shift B colleague Grace arrived at 14:10.
Shift A Sandy and Joy handed over to us. Ten minutes later, Grace and I went down to the Back Office. Front Office includes six small departments. They are front desk (FD), back office, business centre (BC), service centre (SC), concierge and horizon club (HC). All B shift staff from each small FO department will get together at the back office before we start working every afternoon. The duty manager Peter shared the customer information with us. The occupancy was around 70% and there were several VIP arrivals need to pay attention. Grace reported that our coffee machine was broken and we would take the coffee machine from business centre to replace ours. Peter agreed because BC rarely uses it. The department meeting ended at 2:35. I went to the BC to get the machine and grace went to floor B1 to get our linens.
One of the major tasks of B shift is to prepare for the “Happy Hour” and tomorrow’s breakfast buffet. Grace needed to stay at the front desk to do same paper work and handle guest’s check in/out. I stayed in the kitchen to fold the napkins. I need to prepare for 76 seats; each needs need to 2 napkins which means I need to fold at least 152 napkins. Besides these, I also need to prepare the tableware for today’s evening and tomorrow morning. It was a very “boring” and “lonely” two-hour period. Sometimes we will have some guest come in and request for some snacks and soft drinks. But because we only serve horizon club guests (Floor 43rd to 48th) and most of them are business travelers, very few customers will come during the afternoon. 16:57, the S shift Amy came and I went to have dinner. We have 30 minutes to finish it and have a little rest. When I went back, everything was set perfectly. We have five hot dishes, fresh vegetables and salads, smoked salmon, fruits, nuts, desserts, ice-cream and cheeses.

All of these food and drinks are free during these two hours. My job is to lead customers to their seats, offer drinks, add dishes and take empty plates. I will also chat with the customers to get their comments and suggestions. Some regular customers and long-stay customers are very familiar with us. We usually have around 30 customers per evening, and today there were 27.

After the “happy” hour we need to put everything back to the kitchen. It took Grace and me half an hour to finish it. After this, one of us will count the drinks to calculate the cost and another one will count the tableware in case if we lost anything. When we finish this it was about 21:00. Shift S need to move some clean plates to the outside because we need them for tomorrow. Amy’s tasks were all done after she finished this. My next mission is to set the table. I need to change the linens on the table, put egg menu, pepper and salt, toothpick, sugar, and jams on the middle of the table with a strict order. This task took Grace and me about an hour. About 22:15, everything was done. I can finally have a rest. About 22:45, I started to close the area. All the air-confectioners needed to be closed, the meeting room, two side entrances, kitchen, two storages all needed to be locked. Grace was at the front desk to close cashier. It was almost 11 o’clock; we called the security to come up to check everything. When I got home, it was almost twelve o’clock. There are many details I do not have enough time to explain. My supervisor said that it usually took a trainee two to four weeks to become familiar with the Horizon Club Lounge F&B section and only after three months a trainee can start touch front desk tasks.

Here is the picture of my supervisor Betty

and the manager Annie

I was just accepted by the Shangri-La Hotel and Resorts Corporate Trainee program. It is a 16-month training program. From August 15th, I will start my first phase at Shangri-La Suzhou Hotel with a two-month Hotel Orientation. I will go to ten departments to get a clearer understanding of hotel operations. It is really a good chance for me to see how things work at a hotel and experience the Shangri-La philosophy.


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A Day in the Life of a Shangri-La HK Intern – Derek To

Greetings from Hong Kong, KOWLOON SHANGRI-LA.
My name is Derek To and I am currently interning at the Kowloon Shangri-La as a Sales & Marketing trainee. I was born in HK, and grew up in Vancouver. A not-too-familiar culture adds to my learning experience. My Professional Profile is built up with working experiences ranging from three to five star properties. I’ve been exposed to front and back of the house in various departments ranging from Front Office, F&B, Housekeeping, and now Sales & Marketing. I breathe in this breath of fresh air, to learn, adapt, and retain all opportunities I come across in the future, particularly my passion for F&B management.


Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a vibrant city that needs not sleep nor rest.

Over looking the Harborview

Its nightlife speaks of another tale, check out the Symphony of Lights. The usual guest comment that I get in the hotel is, “It’s so different here, everything goes at such a rapid pace!” I nod and smile, only because it’s true. During the day, the streets are filled with children rushing to school; employees rushing to work; moms rushing to the grocery market, maids rushing to complete their ten thousand chores.

Despite the rush, this cosmopolitan hotspot is renowned for its spur of tourism and international tradeshows. If I were to describe Hong Kong using a traffic sign, I would choose the yield sign. People in Hong Kong are like hamsters on a treadmill, they just keep going and going. The traditional brakes have long been deteriorated by the intervention of efficiency. Slow is a sign of incompetent and weakness, so there is no such thing as a period or a 4-way stop.

People in Hong Kong are disciplined long-distance runners because they energize themselves with food, work, and stress. That usually gives them the direction needed to accelerate and survive. However, Hong Kong has a lot of roundabouts. Therefore, yield is not a sign of respect but the way to survive. Brace yourself to any oncoming traffic because you can never be too sure. Go when it’s safe enough, because it never is safe enough (if you know what I mean).

Many have asked me, “Why have you come back to Hong Kong, Derek?” The tale that I tell also acts as a reminder to help reassure my decision to come and develop my career path. The opportunities to develop my professional portfolio are more promising and exciting here in Asia. Despite the pollution, overpopulated density, major hygiene issues, and long and stressful working hours, I’ve decided to board the train of opportunities, taking with me the moral essentials that I’ve picked up back home in Vancouver.

hospitality from the heart

Kowloon Shangri-La

My internship with Kowloon Shangri-La Hotel has been an amazing learning opportunity. A family professional environment gives me full potential to exercise with passion, my own personal values and ethics in a relatable authentic themed setting. I yearn to grow in an Asian culture that integrates the passion of tradition with the international brand of knowledge, talent, and experience.

A Must-Watch Sentimental Ad: Shangri-La Culture

Our values, Shangri-La & me The flavor of service is engulfed in rich Asian culture; immersed with grace and sincerity. The tranquility of peace and comfort arouses with selfish desires to come back for more. Together we are trendsetters, driven through innovative achievements and committed to lead as Asian World Class Leaders.

Routine Schedule

The minute hand strikes at 7:30, a crisp whisper of hot and humid air breathes over my shoulder, swiftly awaken. The dawn of another day unwinds to unleash a new day of challenges and opportunities.

Snake-Line up

I hustle onto the bus, hop on the metro train, bypassing street traffic. Yet to find myself fighting against another set of traffic – people (lots and lots of it). In any case, foot traffic is much simpler and more predictable than street traffic. A brisk pace to work beats a cup of caffeine or a bud of cigarette each morning. I arrive to work and approach my cubicle, 2 floors below ground level; there, I begin my day as a Sales & Marketing Trainee. Duties that I do include price comparison on all types of events and functions across competitive market segments. I review all types of menus and pricing strategies, and also perform data analysis, re-summarization, and competitive pricing through extensive research and consultations. I’ve been appointed to assist in the organization of future Graduation and Christmas packages to plan and budget for next year’s selection of menu items, package offers, and cost. Organization and preparation is key.

As an Events Management trainee before, and now a Convention Sales trainee, I’ve experienced a new set of challenges, dealing with MICE, groups with 50 rooms and above, handling inquiries, initiating site inspections, drawing floor plans for different types of events, recording dmc systems, and issuing proposals and contracts. Systems that I got to familiarize with included Opera, Delphi, StarCite, CVent, and Meeting Broker. Unlike operations, S&M is about being one step ahead of operations. Everything is built up on organizing and preparing for the function itself – the finale. It is such an eye-opener opportunity to have witnessed the different roles each department played and how one’s output leads to the next. Together, we are a 5-Star culture performing with modesty and integrity.

A Tourist Myself


Early June I had the chance to experience the metropolis of the Asian Las Vegas, Macau, a ferry ride away from Hong Kong.

Macau VS Vegas

Having been to NV Las Vegas on several occasions, I was able to make observations and comparisons. During my visit, I differentiated a subculture that speaks of social instability wrapped in gold. Despite the grand scale of luxury and world class hotels and resorts, I noticed local community suffered from insufficient resources and education. Social poverty and the lack of guidance to train the right ‘fit’ of personnel emphatically offset the trend to expand on local tourism. Macau chases to alleviate its tourism brand image to build world class reputation and international recognition. Nevertheless, booming of tourism will only further lag local communal development. The structural exterior display of the city expresses international appeal; however, the internal shortage of soft skills and the inadequate level of service and etiquette inevitably burden potential expansion. Together, they define an overall discrepancy; thus hindering full potential growth of entertainment tourism in the Asian Las Vegas.


On the brighter side of things, I was delighted to witness the new and exquisite Galaxy Macau group, of which it consists of Galaxy Hotel, Banyan Tree Hotel, and Okura Macau Hotel. Others hotel I’ve also visited include MGM, Wynn, Venetian, and Mandarin Oriental. I was fortunate enough to stay at Ponte 16 Sofitel Hotel and had the thrill to explore the museum of Michael Jackson and be reminded about world class luxury.

Buffet @ Venetian Hotel

Lunch buffet at the Venetian Hotel Macau. Also holding the 7th International HOTEL EXPO this November!

Durian Ice-cream

My all time favorite fruit in a mouth-watering form, durian ice cream. Local cuisines that represent Macau include Portuguese tarts, crab congee, pork/beef jerky, almond biscuits, and durian ice cream.

*More pictures of the new Galaxy Hotel groups are available on my facebook.


Early August, I paid a trip to one of the small islands located south of Hong Kong, Cheung Chau Island for a one day trip. There I got to see and experience a smaller remote island that was filled with local culture and exotic seafood! The dumbbell-shaped looking island was another hot spot for tourism. Narrow streets, dried herbs, and people, lots and lots of people were the first things that came to sight. With a taste of a different culture, I visited a few monuments and temples that were presented as landmarks of the island.

Under the blazing sun

Biking around the island made it possible for me to expand my horizons to see and explore the beaches, the winding roads, the rock carvings, and the Cheung Bo Tsai Cave (Pirates of the Caribbean).


Fisheries was the dominant agricultural industry; their main source of tourism and revenue. They are renown for their fresh and wide selection of seafood. Definitely a mouth-watering local experience.

*More pictures of Cheung Chau cuisine (SEAFOOD Fiesta!) are available on my facebook.

**I have stumbled upon a lot of hardships in just a short period of time, both personal and professional. I know the day that I look back, the mountain I was climbing on, was just a grain of sand after all. At the end of the day, a balcony view like this, I restore myself with an open-mind; looking far towards a future of opportunities soothes all obstacles. “It’s worth it” At peace and content; my mind. Embracing what life has to offer, I sit down and begin to write a new chapter…the adventure of a hotelier.

Balcony View

Upcoming Tradeshows and exhibitions:

(*My favorites)

*Food Expo

Asia’s Fashion Jewellery & Accessories Fair

Computer & Communications Festival

*German Bier Fest

*Wine & Dine Festival

Restaurant and Bar Convention


HONG KONG Tourism Hot Spots

Dim Sum

Tsing Ma Bridge

The Peak

HK Board of Tourism

Ocean Park

HK Themed Streets

HK Airport

Lan Kwai Fong