Royal Roads Tourism

Victoria, BC


1 Comment

A Day in the Life of the Destination Marketing Intern at Tourism Victoria – Bradley Cottrell

Bradley Preparing for the Tourism Victoria Membership Forum

Membership Forum Preparations


I am Bradley Cottrell. For my internship semester in the Bachelor of Arts in International Hotel Management program at Royal Roads University, I have stayed in Victoria, BC and have been working at the corporate office of Tourism Victoria, which is a non-profit destination marketing organization for the city. My official title during this internship is the Destination Marketing Intern and a large portion of my day is spent engaging the community of members and fans of Tourism Victoria in meetings, events and social media.

Being from Calgary, Alberta, I had moved to Victoria specifically for school at Royal Roads University. I have grown to love this city, and felt that with my previous marketing background that a corporate position was the best to go after. Although the program is called international, staying local where I could build upon the reputation and brand that Royal Roads has established gave me great leverage into finding an internship that matched my personality and interest. This also has also given me a strong possibility of turning an internship and education into a full career with many paths to pursue.

My work at Tourism Victoria is varied and I do not have a set day by any means. The only constants I can count on day-to-day is the three kilometre walk in and the three kilometre walk home along the Songhees West Song Walkway. I love that living in a smaller city I have the ability to walk to work every day even though I do not live in the core.

Also, since Victoria has one of the only functioning inner harbours in the world, I get some pretty cool scenes along the way like this:

I am usually up around 5:30 a.m. and get a breakfast meal in my belly to start the day. I like to do some light exercise, shower and pack some snacks and a lunch before heading off to work to start at 8:30 a.m. When I started, I needed about an hour to walk the 3 km’s into the core from my home. After buying some proper footwear and not stopping to take pictures for a blog, I cut that time down to about 35 minutes. In comparison to living and working in Calgary where I lived outside the downtown core, I would have an hour drive minimum at best most days and after a snowfall, usually much more.

Part of my morning walk to Tourism Victoria

Once at work, I like to check out the analytics and statistics of how various projects are going since the day before. In my two months at Tourism Victoria, a couple large-scale, never before done, experiential marketing campaigns were launched in target market cities such as Vancouver, Seattle and Calgary. Being able to work with and learn from the Director of Destination Marketing, Trina Mousseau, has been an experience so positive that I struggle to adequately describe it.

The Fairmont Empress Hotel in Downtown Victoria

A large part of gathering tangible data to analyze the next day and making sure key marketing messages are received by the target markets is interacting with both the Tourism Victoria membership companies, as well as the community at large. The Twitter hashtag #Bradtheintern was specifically created by Margaret Doyle with me in order to brand myself within Tourism Victoria as a social contact. This has been picked up by some of the most influential people in Victoria’s hospitality industry and with most things so far in my internship, I feel honored to be part of it.

Tourism Victoria is located here at Bastion Square

Social Media is an ongoing project throughout the day and I often times find myself adding comments, answering questions and conversing with the community on Facebook and Twitter. Something that has made this blog post vastly easier to compose is that I have been tasked with reviving the “Going Local” blog for the company. This plan behind this blog was originally for many industry and community experts to impart knowledge that the average visitor would not know and help them get a more rewarding tourist experience. Being that I am not an expert at anything (except maybe procrastinating writing any blogs), the scope of “Going Local” has changed slightly to provide a local tourist point of view from a perspective of someone who lives in the city, but is new to the experience. My fit in the role was obviously an easy choice. The blog has taken me all over the city and I have had a wonderful experience being a local tourist. I get away with asking all the silly questions and have an easy time making light of it because there is no language or culture barrier.

The View across the Harbour from the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort & Spa

These are about the only regular activities I do each day. Many other tasks fill up my time, as I am sort of a “Johnny on the Spot” jack-of-all-trades type person around the office. Each day absolutely flies by, and I rarely even stop to take a lunch break. Whether I am creating a potential marketing campaign to launch on short notice, writing a press release, going to festivals and events like the Dragon Boat Festival, I am motivated and excited by the prospects of what another day will bring.

#Bradtheintern covering the opening of the Victoria International Buskers Festival

While my internship may not have the glamour of being in an exotic land or tropical location, there is a quantifiable take away that I get from being able to attend meetings and shake hands with the owners and executive managers of the hospitality businesses in Victoria. Between the education with Royal Roads University and the hands on experience I have received with Tourism Victoria, I have no doubt that I will be able to join many of my classmates and alumni in going international once again when the right opportunity comes along.

The Russian Tall Ship "Pallada" Paying a visit in the bustling harbour

Advertisements


2 Comments

A Day in the Life of: Jenny as Hostess in Market by Jean Georges, Shangri-La Hotel, Vancouver

logomarket

8:15am
“Beep… Beep…. Beep….” goes the alarm early on Monday morning. After hitting snooze one too many times, I finally drag myself out of bed and jump in the shower to prepare for another day and a week of organizing tables, controlling restaurant flow, answering phone calls and greeting guests to our restaurant. I quickly shower, dry my hair and pull it back with the assistance of a few bobby pins into a slick bun. Carefully apply my makeup, spray a few squirts of perfume and off I go. Usually it’s a 25-minute walk to the Shangri-La Hotel, but today I am a little behind schedule and I am lucky to get a ride from my good friend Dave. While he gets the car, I run to Starbucks, which is conveniently located at the bottom of my building, get a Grande Triple Latte for myself, and a Grande Mocha for Dave. I jump into the car with Dave outside the garage. It’s a quick 10-minute drive as I quickly run to the staff entrance around 10:50. I get to the change room pull my tights on along with my black skirt and top. I quickly add a splash of lipstick, adjust that last bobby pin, and top it all off with my lovely purple and pink scarf and hit the elevator button. I get off the on the third floor and greet my colleagues and friends; drop my belongings in the closet take one last look in the mirror, and open the door to the restaurant.
11:00am
I get an enthusiastic wave from Erika (a fellow hostess) who is busy on the phone making reservations. Before I get a chance to check out how busy our lunch is going to be the phone rings.
“ Good Morning, Market by Jean Georges, this is Jenny- how may I assist you?”  – A phrase which now is just a roll off the tongue but was once quite a mouth full.
“ Oh good morning Jenny, this Vivian calling from Mr. Ian Chang’s office and Mr. Chang would like to have lunch with you today.” A familiar voice replies.
“Certainly Vivian. How many people will be dinning with Mr. Chang today?”
“ Just two people.”
“ Wonderful, and what time did he prefer?”
“ Well, he would like noon if there’s availability.”
“ I can offer you 12:15 or 11:45 for Mr. Chang?” I say as I smile through the phone. ”
“ Yes, 12:15 is great.”
“Excellent! Is this a special occasion, or is there any dietary restrictions for Mr. Chang’s reservation today?”
“ No, it’s a business meeting, but if we could get a quiet table by a window, that would be great.”  Vivian replies.
“ We will certainly do our best to give Mr. Chang our best and quietest table available. So, I will confirm this reservation for today, at 12:15, for a party of two, under Chang.”
“ That’s great Jenny, thank you so much.”
“ Thank you Vivian. Is there anything else I can do to further assist you with today?”
“ No, that it for now – thanks”
“ Wonderful, Thanks so much for calling Vivian, we look forward to seeing Mr. Chan  -bye!”
This is the first of about 50 -70 phone calls I will answer today. I finally get to say hi to Erika and we discuss how the lunch flow will be.
“We have the new GM coming in today, so we will save table 41 for him, and Mr. Benoitte will have his usual table 22. Try to seat table 13 & 21 right away so we can flip them. We can take two walk-in deuces to the dinning room, and we have a little more flexibility in the….”
“ Ring….Ring”  Erika is interrupted by yet another phone call.
While she takes the phone, I have a quick look through the reservations, having a close look at the larger parties, special requests, our PX’s (VIP’s) and any other special notes with reservations. But before I can finish, the phone rings again. While Erika finishes up her phone call I answer the phone and kindly ask them to wait. I check with Erika to make sure the PX email has been sent to Jean Georges, the table set up has been passed on to the servers, and the servers have been inputted in the computer. Erika, who is always on top of things, has it all done! We need to focus on returning voice mails, e-mails and familiarizing ourselves with the lunch service reservations.
I quickly get back to my phone call, and thank the man kindly for waiting. This phone call was regarding a lost credit card he thought he had left on Saturday night. I take down all his information and fill out the lost and found sheet, and insure him someone from the hotel will call him back as quickly as possible.
Then I return a voice mail. It was regarding a lady who wanted to book the private dinning room for 10 people next Friday night. However, the private dinning room or the “Market Room” as it is called in the restaurant, was already booked for the first sitting so, the only time I could offer was 9. They were uncertain if this would work with their schedule, so I also suggested that they dine in our café, which provides the same full menu and great service in a less formal, more intimate atmosphere. As I explained it wouldn’t be in a private dinning area, but we could accommodate the party at an earlier time. The lady was delighted! So, I continued on to confirm the reservation for 10 guests in the café. Additionally, I found out they were celebrating a Birthday and offered them our special cake which is not on our dessert menu- a double chocolate brownie cake, covered with Tempered glazed chocolate and topped off with seasonal berries (A dream come true for any chocolate lover!). It also comes with a personalized inscription and a birthday candle. They were thrilled with this special surprise pre-ordered birthday cake and went ahead to order enough to fill all the bellies at the table. This is great news for me, because at the end of the month, whichever host sells the most cakes gets a free and well-deserved pedicure from the hotel’s award winning Chi Spa!  So, it was another point for me.  As soon as I hung up the phone (feeling great about my reservation and cake sale) our first guests of the day arrive a little early for their 11:30 reservation.
“ Welcome back Ms. Wang. Is it still a party of 4 today?”
“ Yes, the third will be joining us shortly.”
“ Wonderful, do you prefer to din outside on the terrace or in the dinning room today?”
“ I think I will dine inside today.” She says as she studies the grey skies that are cast over the city.
“Lovely, our dinning room doesn’t open for another 5 minutes, so we welcome you take a sit on the couch and we will seat you shortly” I say with a smile.
She agrees to take a seat and takes a newspaper while she waits. I go and check with the servers to see if they are ready to begin service.

11:30am
The servers say a warm welcome and good morning as I walk by and greet them for the first time today.  After studying the dinning room to ensure every knife, fork, napkin and glass was perfectly in place, they give me the go ahead to begin service. As I walk Ms. Wang to her lovely table in the dinning room, I think to myself, “ here we go, another day!”
The next two hours are filled with greeting guests upon arrivals, catching up with some regulars, showing people to their table, directing guests to the bathrooms, answering phone calls, returning voicemails and helping to flip tables when needed. It’s a busy and fun time that always seems to zoom by.
1:45pm
At about 1:45 things begin to calm down and the rush of a hectic lunch is over. I let the dinning room servers know that there are two more reservations for the dinning room, and where we will seat them. This way they can begin to set the other tables for dinner service.
At about 2pm, Erika goes for her lunch break. While she’s gone, I seat the last few guests for lunch, and then begin to call back all the big parties (5 guests or more) for this evening’s reservations.
“Good afternoon Ms. Chan. This is Jenny calling from Market Restaurant. I just wanted to confirm the details of your reservation for this evening.”
“ Oh yes, of course Jenny” says the quiet voice.
“ Ms. Chan, will it still be a party of 5 at 6:15 this evening?”
“ Actually there will only be four of us this evening, my sister couldn’t find a babysitter.”
“Oh well that’s too bad hopefully next time she’ll be able to join you. We do look forward to seeing you and your 3 guests this evening at 6:15.”
“ Thank you for calling”
I hang up, a slightly excited that the babysitter couldn’t show up, because it is what we needed! We were a bit tight for our large party flips, but with this down size, we can easily accommodate everyone comfortably!
Once the callbacks are completed, I begin to look at the evening’s reservations, to see if there are any pre-ordered cakes. I print off the information and fill out the cake sheet for the pastry chef. Erika usually arrives back with a full belly around 2:25. We both examine the evening’s flow and see who we have dinning with us.
Between 2:30 and 3pm, all remaining and new voicemails and e-mails are returned. Additionally, we collect all the lunch menus and let the servers know we are only offering the Café menu. Usually our private dinning room is free so we leave all the menus on the table, awaiting some attention. I returning to the hostess stand and answer a few more phone calls.

3:00pm
Around 3, I go to private dinning room and begin to flip menus.  Usually some servers who are cashing out join me, and we catch up on the afternoon or previous evening’s events. This is nice break because I get to sit down. My feet have gotten use to the long hours now, but at the beginning my feet were not use to 8 hours in heals 5 days a week.  Once the menus are finished and returned to the different server stations, the evening’s hostesses have arrived- Marlena and Sevi.
Marlena is usually busy making for the floor plan for the evening’s service, while Sevi is on the phone trying to squeeze in a few last minute reservations. Erika and I go through the evening’s reservations and fill the PX sheet for the kitchen. We write down all large parties, any PX guests we have coming in and lastly, any allergies or special requests. The sheet gets printed and Erika delivers it to the kitchen.

4:00pm
Just as I begin a new task two guests come in.  I ask if would like to join us for drinks or some appetizers. They inform me, that they just want to look around the restaurant, so I give them a nice tour, describing the different atmospheres we offer. Then they take a look at the menu and decide to make a reservation for the follow week. I go through the reservation process with them; noting their name, phone number, party size and special request. They left pleased and excited for their future reservation.
While Sevi sends the PX email to Jean Georges, I go for my lunch break. Staff dinner tonight is chicken potpie, spinach, tomato, cucumber and cheese (not a surprise). Before I sit down, Sevi arrives! She joins me for dinner and we catch up. It’s always fun sharing break with her because she is my closest friend in the restaurant. However, before we know it, we are needed back in the restaurant. Once we return, Erika says her good byes, and leaves for the day.

5:00pm
Marlena goes to get her lunch, leaving Sevi and I to ensure the tables are set correctly, answer the phone and ensure all voicemails have been returned. We have a few early arrivals that are just looking to joins us for some after work drinks. They often enjoy seating on the Terrace, which is outside and over looks Alberni Street, or in our lounge, which gets quite crowded in the evenings.
Before long, Marlena returns and we are all ready to begin the evening’s service. For about 15 minutes it is a slow beginning, or I like to call it “the calm before the storm”. However, once 6:00 hits, we are at full speed- greeting and seating guests while also answer phone calls. It ‘s during this time its important to ensure proper communication is used through the hostess and management team.
7:00pm
After a quick hour passes, things begin to calm down again, and my manager Paul tells me I can go home! I thank all the wonderful staff, especially Sevi and Marlena and off I go to change out of my uniform. I leave the Shangri-La knowing I’ve completed another great day of work, and I am confident I contributed to creating a positive experience at Market by Jean Georges to many guests.
It is such a privilege to work with such great and supportive team and I am honored everyday to learn and develop with Shangri-La Hotel. I’m off for the night to do my nails, put my feet up, and prepare for another day at Market by Jean Georges tomorrow.

market girls

Myself and the hoestess team