Royal Roads Tourism

Victoria, BC


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A Day in the Life at The Westin Bayshore by Alejandro Medina

The Westin

I am going to narrate my day from sunrise to sunset or in other words from dusk to sunrise because I have been working different shifts and a variety of roles during my internship. I do not have my own place to live until August 1th; that is why, I have stayed in different places here in Vancouver.  I am staying right now in East Vancouver, which is a very hippie area, I drive from here to the Bay- shore in downtown Vancouver and I have the pleasure to enjoy the scenery on my way to work passing by the Science Museum, BC Place Stadium, Rogers Arena, and Art Gallery everyday or night.

I will describe only the graveyard shift since that one is the most complex where I have three different roles combined in just one shift which are: Lobby, In Room Dinning, and Valet Parking. I park at the staff parking, I go change and when I am all set I swipe in, pick up a radio from the back office and I do shift briefing with PM team and Manager on Duty. After that I remove the Elixir and prepare a fresh one placing it at the lobby, and then I check the number of arrivals, car in the driveway to park or cars to be pulled, any special request, and bag pull information in the red folder at the lobby. Usually after that I start receiving in room dinning orders where I have to prepare the food, set trays and deliver it to guests to their rooms; meanwhile, I also I can get miscellaneous request from the Lobby or Command Centre such as: taking tooth paste, roll away beds, and so on to the guests’ rooms.

Lobby

Usually after the IRD orders’ slow down at about 1:30 am during the night I start my mandatory tasks that I have to execute. I bring outdated newspaper to the recycling bin as well to deliver Global news paper to every single floor and also specific guest inquires with papers such as: USA Today and Wall Street Journal. And then clean bell closet and ensure that bell storage looks neat and tidy and polish at least two bell carts with metal polish. After that upon notification, I deliver ECO’s from front desk and ask a command centre agent for expected departures report; also, I check for door menus hanging on guests’ door know hangers, if a guest qualifies I slip a $5 dollar voucher under the door with its respected room number. When I return  I go to the command centre with any breakfast order that I find during that walk.

After my lobby’s tasks I go to the IRD area and prepare one tray with butter balls I leave them in the fridge for AM IRD. Also, I ensure that pop and juice are sufficiently stocked. Next, I restock plates, cutlery, glasses, linen, bread, etc. I separate coffee filters, clean all coffee urns and wipe down machines. Then I set up the 6:00 am-8:00 preset orders from the door knob menus and I make sure coffee is brewed at approximately 6:00am and then pick up bakery item from the kitchen. During the last hour I do complete a thorough sweeps “pick trays and tables from hallways and service elevators” I go back to IRD area and I put everything away on the Queen Mary and I take all the dirty dishes to dish pit area located in stewarding. After a long and hard shift I return radio to charger and I talk to coworkers about shift briefing.

City view

Bike RideOn my days off I was looking for a place to live, finally I found an apartment just two blocks away from Jo’s place FYI he does not know that. 

Since last week I have enjoyed my days off with my wife going for a walk or riding a bike at the Seawall, and Stanley Park and having a great time in this beautiful city called Vancouver.

City Background

 

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A Day in the Life- by Peggy Liu

waterfrontSince the beginning of June, I began my internship with Shangri-La, Vancouver. As a Service Leader in the Housekeeping Department, my shifts are fairly stable – Starting at 10am and ends at 6:30 pm (Sometimes longer, depending on the how busy a day is). Before I go into detail of my work, I will expand in a little deeper about the brand Shangri-La Hotels and Resort. It is a Hong Kong based company that runs two other brands, “Kerry” and “Trader.” The first Shangri-La Hotel is based in Singapore and since then has evolved to become one of the finest hotel ownership and management companies in the world. Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts primarily operate in Asia. It has two properties in Canada. One is in Vancouver and the other is in Toronto. Here is a list of countries that Shangri-La operates in.  Shangri-La Vancouver has recently received the 5 diamond rating from AAA. The hotel boasts of its high quality amenities and attentive services from employees. As a result, my attention to detail and eye for precision comes into play as all of our guests expect the very best.

Shangri-La’ golden rule is all about treating strangers as family. In their commercial video, “In Our Nature,” depicts of a human stranded in a snow storm and was embraced by a pack of wolves who kept him safe and warm during the tough time. This moving commercial really shows what the Shangri-La employees are striving for everyday when they come to work.
White Rock

As for my current situation, I am currently living in the city of White Rock. It is a community that is a little bit outside of the mainland Vancouver so for me to get to work, I commute by taking the bus first then transferring onto the skytrain. Roughly it takes me about 50 minutes to get to work each day.
Here showcases all that White Rock has to offer year round.
hotel1

 

At 10am, I start my day. When I first come into the office and sit down in my desk, my first task for the day is to check our PMS for any important arrivals for the day. Shangri-La Vancouver, as one of the high end luxury hotels in the city, hosts MANY important guests range from celebrities to CEOs of companies. Sometimes in a day, we may receive as many as 60 rooms to check and as a result, it is my duty to ensure that that these important arrivals can check into their rooms in a timely manner while meeting the high standards that is of Shangri-La. Once the VIPs and our high guest loyalty guests have been checked, I double check the arrivals times for these guests in another report to make sure that our Housekeeping team can clean the rooms on time for guest arrivals. Shangri-La also offers a loyalty program called the “Golden Circle.” There are Gold, Jade and Diamond members, with the most loyal guest starting at the latter. For our loyalty guests, we also ensure that their rooms are as close to perfection as well and provide extra amenities such as a nice coverlet for the bed and welcome tea in a fancy Chinese teapot.

hotel2Once the checks are done, I start my floor run. It is very important to maximize my floor run efficiently so I always need to make sure that our Room Attendants know which rooms are prioritize to clean first and the needed amenities that needs to go into the room.

Usually time flies when I do my floor run since almost every single day in the Summer season is 100% occupancy thus ensuring that I am always on the go! Also, the rooms at Shangri-La Vancouver range from 42 sqm / 450 sqf to 130 sqm / 1,395 sqf (and some have balconies as well), inspecting these rooms definitely takes time. Furthermore, it is very important to coordinate guest check ins in a timely manner to ensure that our department have enough rooms to provide the Front Office to check new arrival guests in to.

At 4pm, this is when the day starts to wind down. At 4:30pm is the time when Room Attendant goes home, and by that time, generally majority of guests have also already checked out. This is when I return to the office and start my Turndown report. At the Shangri-La, Vancouver, because we host many important guests, so to complete their experiences, we provide these guests with turndown services.

 

Grouse MountainAt 4pm, this is when the day starts to wind down. At 4:30pm is the time when Room Attendant goes home, and by that time, generally majority of guests have also already checked out. This is when I return to the office and start my Turndown report. At the Shangri-La, Vancouver, because we host many important guests, so to complete their experiences, we provide these guests with turndown services.


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A Day in the Life at Tui China – By Elva Han

Greeting from Beijing, China! First of all I hope you are all doing well and enjoying your internship. I am Elva Han. Starting from June, 2011, I have worked at TUI China as an operator in the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing, and Exhibitions) department.

Front Desk & Company Logo

China has long been a popular tourist destination thanks to its rich historical and cultural attractions, as well as its breathtaking natural landscape. China’s economic development and reform has helped the nation become the second largest economy in the world as measured by GDP. Domestic Chinese travel is no longer the high growth segment it used to be within the travel industry, rather there is more emphasis being placed on exciting, exotic outbound travel. Many more Chinese can afford expensive outbound travel in order to experience different lifestyles and environments. With rising living standards, China’s outbound tourism has been developing fast. In 2011, outbound travelers reached 47 million (that number is more than the total population of Canada) to more than 130 travel destinations around the world. In spite of my major in hospitality, I decided to do an internship with Tui China, one of the premier international tour service agents in China. Due to the Germany-based company background, our clients are mainly from automotive industry like BMW, Porsche, VW…

The transition from academic to professional life is not easy. It requires learning a great deal of soft and hard skills. I am trying my best to manage daily business. I have learned a great deal and believe my experience as an intern will be highly beneficial to my future career.

Office Building on Chang'an Avenue, Beijing

My daily work schedule:

I wake up around 6:30 am with a 10 to 15 minute “cooling period” to allow my sleepy eyes to open. My morning routine lasts about an hour. Soon after that is completed, I enjoy my mom’s home-made breakfast and I let myself enjoy “my day of appreciation”. My journey is started at 8:00 am sharp and of course it is always enjoyable and exciting.

Traffic jam on the way to office

Driving in a big city like Beijing is not easy. You have to be very astute in selecting the most efficient route without getting trampled by the daily rush hour. It is really hard to comprehend a city like Beijing which has over 20 million residents and over 8 million vehicles. Thank god, I always manage my time fairly well.

My day is about to start at 9:00 am, but before that I need a little boost; a grand sized iced latte; always my favorite.

Iced Latte, my favorite

Walking toward my office and waving hello to my colleagues, I have just a few chats to bring myself closer to the working environment. I thought the transition would be difficult at the very beginning, but when the time came to work I was proved wrong. It takes just a matter of time for me to get used to my new situation.

Turning on my computer and checking my emails is always the first thing to do. A routine morning meeting hosted by the division manager is very important. He assigns every single task to fellow division members and discusses various issues relating to Chinese Outbound Tour Groups, such as travel itinerary, visas, accommodation, transportation, and so on. I normally have a small coaching session with the division manager right after the meeting in order for me to have a better understanding of the company’s operations as well as for my division of the daily business. Around 10:30 am, I start discussing issues with my co-worker on an outbound tour itinerary. There are lots of detailed issues that need to be ironed out in regards to selecting locations, suitable accommodation, dining, and transportation. After the discussion, we go online and browse location information, check hotel prices, and talk to embassy people in regards to visa applications.

The sea of cubicles~~

There is 6 hours difference between China and Europe. I communicate with prospective clients in Europe to confirm our tour itinerary with them. Cross border communication is very interesting. I find it a useful position filling the gap between Chinese and European clients and gaining first-hand information. I then confirm the itinerary schedule and determine whether or not it is viable for our client’s budget. I have a final talk with my coworkers on the tour itinerary and report to my manager. What intense and fast-paced work.

My little cubicle~~

Suddenly, my cell phone is ringing. My mom is asking me what I want to eat. It is almost 6:10pm. Let’s call it a day so I can set myself free.

On the way home~!

Here are two links that you can look at in order to get more details about Tui China:

Tui China  http://tui.cn/en/

Tui China press conference video http://www.tudou.com/programs/view/UIF_96xh1I0/

This is about Beijing, the Capital city of China:

Visiting Beijing http://english.visitbeijing.com.cn/

Here are links that you can look at in order to get more details about the projects that I participated during the internship:

BMW Mission 3 http://www.bmw.com.cn/cn/zh/insights/events/pool/mission3/2011/overview.html

BMW: The M festival, 24H RACE NÜRBURGRING.  http://www.m-power.com/_open/b/varlink2.jsp?lang=en


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Emily Williams, Public Relations Intern at Four Seasons Hotel Toronto

When I was 9 years old, I spent a week with my family at the Four Seasons Maui over Christmas. I will never forget the outstanding experience I had as a child.  I remember, one afternoon while playing by the pool, I turned to my mother and said,

“This is my favourite place in the world…can we come back every year!?”

Four Seasons Maui

Photograph retrieved at http://www.fourseasons.com/maui/photos_and_videos/#image-maui-resort-MAU_686

Today, as I complete my Bachelor of Arts in International Hotel Management at Royal Roads University   (@Royalroads), that vivid but distant memory has stuck with me. I believe that particular day was the defining moment of my passion for hotels and in a way, marked the beginning of my ‘career’ in the hospitality industry. It had always been a dream for me to work with Four Seasons and when the opportunity came up I was thrilled to be able to intern with Four Seasons Toronto.

Royal Roads University

Friday June 17th- 2:30 pm

Excited, intimidated and anxious would only begin to describe how I felt as I stepped off the airplane. A blanket of warm air swept over my body as I walked through the glass doors of the Pearson International Airport

Toronto.

I sat on the airport shuttle, staring eagerly out the window en route to downtown. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the CN tower for the first time! A quick 45 minutes ride, and I arrived at The Best Western hotel downtown, http://www.torontoprimrosehotel.com; my new home for the summer.

Over the next few days I spent some time exploring Toronto, learning the subway system and enjoying the beautiful weather.  Toronto surprised me. The city was packed with ethnicity, beautiful architecture, extensive cuisine, high fashion, arts and most importantly, opportunity. I found myself quickly adapting to the Toronto life style and gaining a rather high appreciation for the city, even the sporting events!

My first Toronto Jays Game

I eagerly awaited my first day of my internship at Four Seasons Hotel Toronto

Monday Morning…

As I set out onto the bustling streets that Monday morning on my way to work, I felt oddly at ease considering the long journey ahead of me. My previous hospitality experience allowed me to feel fairly confident with the new role I was undertaking. Upon arriving at Four Seasons Toronto, my new boss Angela, Marketing Manager, greeted me in the lobby of the hotel; she was fantastic! Angela showed me around the beautiful property and introduced me to the rest of the team. Shortly after, we sat down and discussed a brief framework of what I could expect for my internship this summer. It sounded almost too good to be true!
It didn’t take long for me to recognize that all my previous assumptions of the Four Seasons brand were very accurate, and my distant childhood memories were confirmed. The company itself was extremely well structured, service was consistent, and what impressed me the most was Four Seasons seemed to always be one step above other leading chains and competitors.  Outstanding colleagues, exceptional amenities, and fantastic service, it was no wonder Four Seasons was a global hospitality leader in luxury.  I knew very early on, this internship would be one of the most valuable experiences for me both professionally and personally.

A special personalized amenity prepared for a little girl staying at the hotel. 

Over the course of the next few months, I was assigned to work on various projects related to public relations and communications. Although the hotel was extremely well structured, my work days were quite the opposite.  Each day was quite different from the last, which made this experience so valuable. Some of my  responsibilities were, answering general inquiries from the public and media, plan coordinate and execute special projects, assist with communication materials such as press releases and social media, coordinating magazine and television interviews with the Concierge,  and capturing photos of new products and promotions to upload to various social media platforms. Although, aside from these tasks, my main focus for the internship was assisting Four Seasons Toronto prepare for the Toronto International Film Festival 2011 in September (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/26/toronto-film-festival-2011_n_909717.html)

Having never been to Toronto before, this event really sparked my interest and I felt incredibly fortunate to be a part of it. There was a lot of hype around TIFF and Four Seasons Toronto was very much involved in many of the events.

July- Preparation for TIFF

Four Seasons Hotel Toronto hosts a luncheon on the first Saturday of TIFF yearly for George Christy, a former columnist for the Hollywood Reporter, along with several of his guests, close friends and the media.

George Christy- http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0160690/

 

This is the 27th consecutive year the George Christy Luncheon has taken place at Four Seasons Hotel Toronto and is considered a high profile event for the hotel.  This year, I was Mr. Christy’s “personal assistant” intern. His arrival to the hotel was set for early September however; I was in contact with him in July to being preparing for the event. Prior to his arrival I helped build the guest list, contact guests and potential invites and ensure his upcoming visit to Toronto would be executed flawlessly. During the actual event itself, I would be responsible for the guest list at the door while also assisting George in any way possible.

Aside from assisting with Mr. Christy, I was also able to be very involved in planning for the TIFF events hosted in Avenue Bar, Four Seasons Hotel Toronto’s legendary lounge. I was able to contribute ideas and suggestions for some of the events such as, theme, décor, invitations, wardrobe and cocktail ideas.

Four Seasons Hotel Toronto has been a major player in the Toronto Film Festival for many years, although this year was specifically important. A new Four Seasons Hotel Toronto is currently under construction in the neighbourhood, and in about a year, the team will move to their new home down the street.   http://www.fourseasons.com/toronto-new/.  Therefore this year’s Film Festival is the last TIFF to be celebrated at this property, as next year the new hotel will be open.

 

The new Four Seasons Hotel Toronto.  Set to open Summer 2012

-Under construction

Urban Toronto’s “Photo of the Day”  Retrieved: http://urbantoronto.ca/news/2011/08/photo-day-lifetime-developments-and-menkes-sexy-four-seasons-hotel-and-private-residenc

In the next few months, I really am looking forward to continuing my journey with Four Seasons Hotel Toronto.  The city of Toronto, specifically the hospitality industry, is constantly evolving however; Four Seasons has consistently maintained their brand integrity and their presence in the market place.  Four Seasons has exceeded my expectations as a company from both a guest and an “employee” perspective. As I look to the future, I hope to continue to develop professionally establish a long term career with Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.


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A Day in Life at the InterContinental Hong Kong – Kenneth Chan

Hello World! This is Kenneth Chan blogging all the way from Hong Kong. For my internship, I am working in InterContinental Hong Kong as a F&B Trainee in the Harbourside Restaurant. At Harbourside, guests can choose either a la carte or buffet options. Most of the guest that comes usually chooses the latter option as our buffer is one of the best in town (Also the most expensive for our dinner buffet). Our lunch and dinner buffet is very popular so bookings are  almost always full everyday (Bookings should be made two weeks in advance  for the best sittings). This restaurant is called Harbourside because……..it’s beside the harbour!! Jokes aside, actually InterContinental Hong Kong is located at the edge of the Victoria Harbour which separates Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. Harboursidefaces towards the harbour so that’s where it got its name; it has a spectacular view at the harbour and Hong Kong Island.

A view of Harbourside from the hotel lobby above

A View of the harbour from Harbourside

So, let me show you my day in life as a trainee in Harbourside. I’ll will  be using my afternoon shift that starts at 2:00pm and ends at 11:00pm for this blog as it shows lunch and dinner buffet.

Getting to work

One would imagine all the tall buildings and skyscrapers when I mention I live in Hong Kong but it has a fair share of rural places too and that’s where I live. (With my sister and her two dogs, the only reason she is living so far out from the city center) I live pretty far from hotel and usually take me about 1.5 hours to get to work so I would leave my house around 12 in the afternoon. To get to the hotel, I would need to take a bus to the Light Rail station. From there it would take me to the MTR(Mass Transit Railway) station which would take me all the way a station very close to my hotel.

A = My house, B = InterContinental Hong Kong

Roles

Before I go on, I should really talk about some of the positions that I have been trained.

There are five positions that I have been trained in at the restaurant and they are Front Server, Back of House, Hostess, Bartender and Manager.

Front Servers – Take food and drinks orders, serve food and drinks, make drinks (ex: Ice Lemon Tea, Hot Cappuccino), Collect empty plates for buffet guests, clear tables, place table settings

Back of House – Buffet table setup and maintenance during meal periods, Checking stocks, picking up linens

Reception Hostess – Lead guests to assigned tables, replying guest inquiry, answering phone calls

Bartender – bar operation, cocktail mixing, wine cellar control, checking inventory.

Manager – Supervising staffs, checking buffet tables, handling guest comments and complains, prepare the daily F&B log

Afternoon Shift

When I start my work at 2:00pm, the lunch buffet would almost be finish as it ends at 2:30pm so the first thing I do is to check which section of the restaurant I have been assigned to and go to help out at that section. My position at this time is a front server and I would clear empty plates off tables and take and make drink orders. Speed is everything in every Hong Kong job so everyone is in a rush at this time (even the guests) when guests starts to order their complementary drinks that comes with the buffet. Once the guests start to leave, I would start clearing tables and put dinner table settings down for the night buffet bookings.

By 3:30pm, most guests would be gone except the chatty people who can chat for hours and new guest would arrive for our afternoon tea set. Since there is significantly less guest during this time, I would use this time to fill up my section (Cups, plates, utensils and towel) and check to see if the table settings are in the correct order.

Today is a little special because there is a wine tasting class at 4:00pm. This class is provided by InterContinental to give the employees knowledge about the upcoming promotion wines.

A Picture with the wine trainer and my colleagues

Around 5:00pm, it’s lunch/dinner time! The staff canteen “Chopsticks” is very close to the restaurant so it is very convenient for me and my colleagues. Sometimes I might see fellow classmate Vicky Chan and RRU Alumni Sara Ngai eating as well but I only see them mostly during my morning shifts.

Everyone enjoyed their lunch 🙂

My break ends an hour later at 6:00pm which is just before start of the dinner buffet at 6:30. At this time, I will help out the reception hostess and lead guests to their assigned table. Once most guests have arrived, which would be around 7:00, I will go back to my assigned section to help out. As I help emptying plates of guests’ table, I will also need to check up on other servers as well as the buffet table to see if everything is in order. This is part of what being a manager is about and also the role I am training today.

mmmm...lobsters.... Too bad I can't have them

Colorful and tasty, what more can you ask for?

At 8:00pm, most guests attention will be directed towards the outside view as it is the time for the “A Symphony of Lights” which is the World’s Largest Permanent Light and Sound Show. Other notable scenery include various boat tours with some awesome looking sail boats

This boat attracts many cameras including mine

Around 8:00 to 9:00, as people start to settle in and had a few plates of food in their stomach, I will check up on the guests to see if they enjoy their meal and if there are any problems. As 10:00 approaches and the dinner buffet ends, it is time for me to start clearing tables, put down morning table settings and help with closing the buffet.

At 11:00pm, my day is finally over but not everyone else as the restaurant is still open until 12:30pm. I sign out, get changed and make my way home.

A picture taken just before I leave

Going home is a bit faster at night as there are fewer people (although it is still much more than Victoria in day time) so I get would get home around 12:30pm. After the daily hygiene activities, email checking and some internet surfing. I finally get on the bed around 2:00pm and get some much-needed sleep.

Life as an InterContinental Hong Kong Trainee

There are many other trainees at InterContinental Hong Kong from many schools throughout the world with me and Vicky being the representatives from Canada. We have many activities together which includes our monthly meeting, the trainees outing and volunteer activities. Check out some of the pictures below. Alternatively, go read Vicky’s blog for more pictures

Volunteering at Po Leung Kok

A outing with all the trainees and ex-trainees at Shek-O. It was a fun day

There are 5 trainees including myself just training in Harbourside


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A day in the life of an Intern at Le Meridien, Bangkok!

Sawadee-ka! I’m Amanda Fikowski, currently a Management Trainee at the Le Meridien Bangkok and will be working here til November.  Let me tell you about interning in one of the busiest countries in the world!

A day in my life —

Bangkok is indeed a crazy city – a mix of good and bad – endless traffic, crowded streets, inviting bars and restaurants, appetizing Thai dishes, a mix of people from all around the world, and SHOPPING – and to be working here for 5 months seemed too much for me to handle! Can’t help but feel mixed emotions on the excitement and dangers of living in one of the most favorite cities in the world, and also the most dangerous. Walking into the Le Meridien Hotel on my first day even increased my doubts of me being able to survive the following months. It is a five-star hotel in the midst of Bangkok’s business area (during the day) and the popular “Patpong” at night. (Google it and find out what it’s all about!)


A typical day for me

I wake up in the morning, jump in the shower, and have a cup of coffee before starting my day. It takes me 5 minutes to walk to the hotel which makes my life so much easier! After working 10-11 hour shifts I don’t want to have to think about a typical train, bus, or taxi commute in the middle of Bangkok traffic!! Entering through the back entrance and scanning my thumb on the attendance machine makes it official and work is about to start! After changing into my uniform I walk to the Front Office and begin my shift. The team starts with a daily briefing of what’s ahead of us for the day. Any updates or important notices are shared to make the flow of work during the day easy. I walk to any of the front counters and print daily reports that we go through during the first half of the day at the same time checking-out guests and assisting them with all their queries. I started gaining responsibilities after a month of training and just learning everyday processes, where now I have my own paperwork to do at the end of my shift summarizing all transactions I have done during the day and making sure that everything was done properly. The first month was definitely ‘heavy’ with a lot of new things to take in. The learning didn’t stop in that first month though because everyday something new still comes up that I have yet to learn.

Lunch or dinner breaks at the staff canteen is something I always look forward to because it introduces me to different kinds of Thai food. Most are always so delicious, but there are some too spicy for me to eat. I’m sure you all would hate me for posting these pictures of Thai food! 😉

Everyone in the Front Office team are nice and friendly and if you ask me, they are all driven, capable, and good at what they do! Definitely inspiring. They know when to have fun and when to be serious. I got along with most of them very quickly which made it easier for me to transition into this new work environment. Parties are thrown at least once a month celebrating promotions, and bidding farewell to some of the best who are off to a bigger and better position in other hotels. So much opportunity for growth in this industry that’s for sure!

Now to move on to the best part of this job! The people I meet everyday are what makes this job fun and fulfilling. We get a mix of business and leisure travelers from all around the world, and it’s great that we get to interact with them. Yes we do get difficult guests, but the ones who are so warm and kind to you makes up for the ill feelings that others give. We get a lot of returning guests and it’s always fun welcoming them back and knowing that they actually remember you from last time. The most challenging guests however, I have yet to talk about: the Japanese. They are majority of our market and it is always a challenge to communicate with them as most know very little English and zero Thai. Having worked here for 2 months now, I have learned to speak Thai-style English, Japanese-style English, and of course picked up on a lot of Thai words – enough to have short, basic conversations with people!

The hotel is pretty consistent in terms of occupancy and guest reviews. Upon check out of guests and after asking them about their stay, we are encouraged to invite them to share their experiences on TripAdvisor (so long as we have comfortable conversations with guests)… Click the link to read some! http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g293916-d1026220-Reviews-Le_Meridien_Bangkok-Bangkok.html

So far, this experience has been more than I could ask for. I have already learned a lot and I know I will continue to do so. The hotel is progressive, together with the people who work hard to make it the best hotel in Bangkok. Two more months to go here, so for any of you who are done with your internships, and anyone who has some free time, come and visit and get a taste of Bangkok!


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A Day in the Life at the Westin Bear Mountain -By Tristan Bankasingh

Hello and welcome to my Day in the Life blog describing my internship as a Bellman at the Westin Bear Mountain! Like many jobs in the hospitality industry every day can be different, fun and exciting. Therefore, before I describe my day I would like to point out key critical features that are unique to the Bellman position at the resort. One feature is that the Westin Bear Mountain doesn’t have a separate Concierge Department; therefore, all bellmen work for the Front Office Department.

Myself with Amy Hamilton-Front Office Manager, Paul Patterson and Ryan Bartlett. Paul and Ryan are veteran bellmen who've done it all and seen it all.

The other feature is the fact that there are two separate hotel buildings. The main building where everyone check-in/out of the resort is known as the Clubhouse Building, and our second building is known as the Fairways Building. Both buildings offer the same type of hotel rooms; however, the Fairways Building has hotel rooms that are pet friendly. This feature means that during arrivals and departures the bellmen have to be prepared to move at moment’s notice to provide guest assistance in both buildings throughout the shift.

 The Clubhouse Building

   The Fairways Building

So now that I’ve finished describing the critical features of the resort, I’ll now speak about my day as a Bellman. The majority of the shifts that I’ve worked at the Westin Bear Mountain have been the evening/closing shift. On weekdays they start at 3:00pm and they end at 11:30pm. On weekends the closing shift starts at 4:30pm and they end at 1:00am the next day because generally there are weddings and various events over the weekend, which allows the bellman to provide assistance to any guests. My day starts at Metchosin, a suburb of Victoria. Usually two hours before my shift starts I’ll prepare myself for the day, including showering, brushing my teeth, shaving, combing my hair, etc. Appearance is a huge aspect in the hospitality and tourism industry; therefore, I have to ensure that I look professional. I change into my uniform, grab a quick bite to eat and then drive through the small town of Metchosin towards Langford, another suburb of Victoria where the resort is located. It usually takes me 30-45 minutes to get to the resort from my house and it includes a drive up a winding road to the top of Bear Mountain. I usually get there ten minutes before my shift starts so that I can sign in, speak to the Front Office Manager and the bellman on during the opening shift about anything that I need to know about.

Here are the following things that I do when I come on shift:
-Log in to the computer and check the arrivals and departures list;
-Check the Golf Tee Times for any late afternoon/evening golfers; and
-Check the Valet Parking box to see how cars we have in the Valet Parking Lots.

Throughout this time guests could be arriving at any moment. When they arrive I inquire if they’re coming to play golf or to check in at the hotel, and then I proceed with the arrival procedure such as welcoming the guest, assisting with luggage, escorting them to the front desk and escorting them to their room regardless if it’s in the Clubhouse or Fairways Building. Once settled in their room, I describe the features of the room to the guest and then wish them an enjoyable stay.

For guests who are coming to play golf, I ask their last name of the group they are playing under and the tee time, explain where the Pro Shop is so that they can register, take their golf bags and drive them to back of the resort where the golf courses are located.

The storage closet where golf bags and luggage are stored. Don't let the picture fool you, usually there are a lot more bags than this!

A video of myself welcoming a guest who is coming to play golf can be found here:

Myself and Amy Hamilton, Front Office Manager and the BOSS!

That is the main part of my duties. However, other duties that I do are:
-Assisting with room moves;
-Making deliveries of various items to hotel rooms;
-Shuttling guests in our vehicle to various points around the resort;
-Ensure that inside and outside of the lobby is properly maintained so that it’s at a standard expected of a Westin resort;
-Cleaning and maintaining luggage carts; and
-Being available to assist the guests with any recommendations or places to go while they are staying here in Victoria.

So finally after 8 hours, my shift is over. Since I’m usually working the closing shift I have to make sure that everything is secure for the night. The garbage has to be emptied, the bell podium has to be placed inside and any golf bags that are on the Golf Bag Drop rack are stored inside the storage closet to prevent them from being stolen. Finally, I put away my keys and radio, have a chat with night audit, count all of tips collected for the day, sign out and then begin the beautiful drive down Bear Mountain towards my house in rural Metchosin only to do it all over again the next day!

A pic of the Clubhouse Building at night. Sweet Dreams!

Here’s a slideshow of various pictures taken while at work:

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Here are various links that you can look at in order to get more details about the Westin Bear Mountain:
www.bearmountain.ca -Resort’s Personal website
http://bearmountain.ca/Golf/RatesTeeTimes.aspx -Golf Tee Times information website
www.facebook.com/bearmountainresort -Westin Bear Mountain’s Facebook page
www.twitter.com/bearmountain -Westin Bear Mountain’s Twitter page
www.westin.com/bearmountain -Resort’s Westin website


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A Day As A Trainee in InterContinental Hong Kong! By Vicky Chan

A day in life at ICHK…

Working in the back office

Hey everyone,this is Vicky Chan reporting from InterContinental Hong Kong (ICHK)… I am here to share with you a day of being ME in the Instant Service Center (ISC) in ICHK. First, let me share with you my hotel background info and my department. ICHK is a 495 rooms 5 star hotel owned by InterContinental Hotel Group.  ISC is an operator call center that not only handling internal and external calls, but we also provide one-step seamless service to assist the guests’ special requests via phone service.

Now you know a little about my department and hotel, let me share with you my training experiences in InterContinental Hong Kong.

Commuting to work…

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A Day in the life of an Intern at COAE by Piercarlo Natera

Intro

I’ve been procrastinating about getting started with this blog as I wasn’t too sure on what to write and how to really start it. Now that there is less than a week left I have no choice but to start and what better day than today. I had a really great day as I went White Water Rafting on the Elaho River courtesy of the company I am doing my internship for, Canadian Outback Adventures & Events (COAE). I will tell you more about the company further down the post but first let me tell you what an amazing day it was! The rafting as well as the people I went with was phenomenal! So thank you COAE and the super awesome rafting crew. It’s already my third time rafting this summer and every time I go I have a ball!!!

Unlike almost everyone in the class who went abroad I decided to stay in BC, which I consider home now, because I just love it here; even more now that I live on the North Shore. I love my backyard and I just can’t get enough of it. There is so much to do and it’s just beautiful.

BC hasn’t always been home for me. I am originally from Cancun, Mexico. My dad is Mexican, my mom is Canadian, French-Canadian, and I was born in the U.S. So I am basically a mutt! A good friend of mine I met when I lived in Pemberton called me The Quebexican. Although I consider myself a mutt I feel very lucky and fortunate of having a multicultural background. It has created tons of opportunities for me as well as made my life way easier. I can work across North America with no problem as well as I speak three languages. I am sure you can guess which ones. Anyways, enough about me and more about the company I am doing my internship for, and most importantly, what A day in the life of an Intern at COAE looks like.

Who is COAE?

COAE provides corporate team building events, group activities, and training and educational programs as well as is an adventure tourism outfitter. The company was founded back in 1992 and its mission statement is Live Stories Worth Telling. Our team building events are based on popular t.v. shows such as Amazing Race, Survivor, Iron Chef, Cake Boss and the list goes on. To see the full list of team building events go to www.canadianoutback.com. It is a very exciting time for the company as the American Outback Adventures & Events (AOAE) division has just expanded their operations to the North East U.S. area as well as COAE also open a new division called British Outback Adventures & Events (BOAE). Furthermore, there are some interesting projects on the way but I can’t talk about them as of the moment.

A day in the life of an intern…

It’s hard to describe exactly one day because everyday has been different for me so far; at least almost every day.

I had never worked for an event company so this was my first time venturing into the world of events. Most of my internship consisted of being out on events and assisting in any way or form. Normally I meet the event coordinator at the head office in North Vancouver, which can range anywhere from 5 am to 10 am, and from there we load up the van with all the equipment we prepped on the days prior to the event. We then head to the event’s location and meet up with the rest of the staff unless it’s a travel day, which we then all meet at the head office. Once we arrive at the location we do a staff briefing. After the staff briefing we start setting up the course for the event. This can vary depending on the event but it usually takes about half an hour to an hour and a half. From there everyone breaks off and goes to their designated stations. Most events run for about 3 hours in total. Once the event is finished we take down the stations, pick up whatever trash is left behind by the participants and load up the van so we can head back to the head office. By the time we get back to the head office it has already been a long day. All that is left to do is unpack the van and put everything away. That is what a day out on an event looks like.

When there are no events a typical day would look something like this

• Get in to the office between 8:30 and 9:00 am.

• Check my emails and respond to any important emails.

• Help Event Coordinators with logistics and prepping for any upcoming events.

• Prepare budgets

• Contacting suppliers

• Printing course material

• Going out and buying supplies for upcoming events

• Go on site visits to get familiarized with event locations

• Translate documents from English to French as well as contact suppliers in Montreal

Describing my internship in one day really makes it no justice. I have put together a little video showcasing events I was on this summer, which is more an accurate representation of what being an intern at COAE.

I hope you enjoyed this video. I’ve had tons of fun during my internship and I’m very satisfied with my decision. In fact I’m so happy with the company that I will be working with them once I finish. Lately I’ve been training for my new role in sales. I will be joining the sales team as a sales representative. I look forward to what the future has to bring and I wish all my fellow classmates success.

Hasta pronto!!!

Piercarlo Natera


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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.

PEARL OF ASIA

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

MACAU

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.

MJ

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.

CHUENG CHAU ISLAND

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

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