Royal Roads Tourism

Victoria, BC


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A Day in the Life @ The Butchart Gardens- by Wayne Jenkins

For a look at where I am on the globe, just zoom out from this map.

https://www.google.ca/maps/@48.5631463,-123.4665519,1384m/data=!3m1!1e3

Blue Himalayan Poppy, Jenny Butcharts' Favourite -photo by W. Jenkins

Blue Himalayan Poppy, Jenny Butcharts‘ Favourite -photo by W. Jenkins

Located on the Saanich Peninsula north of Victoria the Butchart Gardens are a tourist highlight when visiting British Columbia. Consistently listed in the top gardens of the world to visit, they are a stunning display garden that is visited by over a million people a year. A far cry from the original cement plant that brought Robert and Jenny Butchart to the area, they are still family owned and operated, and are open 365 days of the year for the enjoyment of all seasons.

 

The Sunden Garden - photo taken by W. Jenkins

The Sunken Garden – photo taken by W. Jenkins

To get here each day I drive 22.3 kilometres, mostly through rural farmland roads, until I arrive at the main gates to the Gardens. Thankfully, after giving the secret signal (flash my headlights) the traffic directors point me to the outside lane normally reserved for buses so I can avoid the 5-15 minute wait the other lanes of cars must endure to get onto the site. Once on the property I park in the employee lot and if I have time visit the staff restaurant, the Poppy Seed, and have a cup of tea. After logging in at the time station, I sometimes do a quick wander through the Italian, Rose, and Japanese gardens in order to have a point of reference to talk to my passengers throughout the day.

The Italian Garden - photo taken by W. Jenkins

The Italian Garden – photo taken by W. Jenkins

I must be able to talk about what they’ve seen so staying current with the displays is very important. Now and again I’ll drop into the visitor’s centre where there is an on duty gardener to see what new flowers have been planted out.

Each morning the boat I’m piloting must be given a complete going over in order to ensure the safety and comfort of the passengers. Starting with the inspection of the bilge, the operation of the bilge pumps, high water warning system, fire detector systems and battery charge status I then move on to familiarizing myself with the tide table for the day to plan each route based on where exposed rocks or shallow areas may be. Then I move on to checking each piece of safety gear from life jackets, flares, first aid kits, kisbee ring, towlines, anchoring gear, and paddles. After that a quick once over of the windows and it is time to greet my first batch of passengers.

I have met people from all over Europe, Russia, India, South Africa, Malaysia, Mexico, Colombia, Zimbabwe, Singapore, China, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Brazil, United States and many more countries. Every day and every trip is multicultural. I must ensure I am mindful of all cultures to ensure I don’t say or do the wrong thing.

My New Office- photo by W. Jenkins

My New Office- photo by W. Jenkins

Once everyone is seated I brief them, as required by Transport Canada, on the safety equipment aboard the vessel, touching on life vests, first aid equipment, firefighting, and lastly, how to use the radio equipment if I’m unable.

Once underway I start my narrative about the gardens, the local waterways, and parks. I also cover the history of the gardens and how they were initially a cement plant and the development of the exhausted limestone quarry by Jenny Butchart, into what is now the Sunken Gardens.

Sunken Garden Pond in Spring- photo taken by W, Jenkins

Sunken Garden Pond in Spring- photo taken by W. Jenkins

On a typical trip we’ll see a combination of harbour seals, river otters, and bald eagles, masses of moon jellyfish, blue herons, purple martins, and racoons. After 45 minutes we return to the dock where I see everyone off the boat and after a quick once over to make sure the vessel is all clean I invite the next set of passengers on board.

I love this job! It is so relaxing and pleasant meeting all the people from around the world and giving them a little introduction to the area in which I live. I’m not sure I could find a job that has less stress than this one, I actually go home refreshed each day. What a contrast to the old office job I used to live.

Below is a short video of some of the gardens and my new office.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=93nj99Ypzxw

 


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A Day in the Life at the Magnolia Hotel and Spa- by Abdulmohsen Almuhanna

 

Hotel entrance

Honestly, I can say this specific experience is the most interesting experience in my work life so far. I remember in 2012 when I went with my instructor and classmates to the Magnolia Hotel & Spa in a field trip for one of my second year courses ( IHMN240) Introduction to hotel operations. I was amazed of that hotel and wished if I could work for this great hotel one day. In June 1, 2014 the dream came true and I was hired as a night auditor.

 

I consider myself a lucky person to work for Magnolia Hotel & Spa in Victoria since I love this gorgeous city and I do not want to leave it. Magnolia Hotel & Spa located in the heart of Victoria down town and few steps from the harbour with a spectacular view which attract both tourists and business travellers. In the hotel we have six different types of rooms that make us Victoria’s Favourite Downtown Boutique Hotel. Magnolia hotel has been known for its message for years and consider one of the best message provider in Victoria. The hotel ranked hotel number three of 57 hotel and been rewarded as one of the best hotels in Canada.

front desk

As a night auditor I usually start my shift at 11:15 pm until 7:15am five days a week I love my late shift since I am a night bird and use to work in night. However, I worked couple weeks in the morning and enjoyed it as well when I was in training. I like to arrive 5-10 minutes earlier to talk with the front desk agent who will pass me on what I need to know to make sure that we deliver the best possible service to our valued guests. For example, if we have a guest who has not checked in yet to I make sure that we do not sell all the rooms and keep a room for the expected arrival guests, special request or services that we need to deliver to a guests in a time manner since the hotel is very consistent with the service that we deliver to the guest who has a high expectation based on the great reputation that the hotel gained for years.  

Counting CashMagnolia hotel’s team is very professional team in terms of providing high standard services to our valued guests and they encourage us to as employee to work harder. I usually start my shift by counting the cash float from previous shift to make sure that we have the right amount of money. I start my shift by reading and updating the daily shift report which will be sent at the of the day to the management who need to know what happened during the day in the front office after the managers leave the property. I check the hotels emails to see if there is any news from the management team who we do not see in the night and want to pass us important information. Also I check the email to response to the guests who always have questions about their staying with us and to confirm their reservations. In the hotel we are very careful about some essential reports that we like to update them in a daily basis and save them in safe place we call them emergency reports. I confirm all wakes up calls by using the internal system to make sure that our valued guests get wake up on time. I conduct the bucket check and match the registration cards to the hotel operation system, link accounts to members profile, ensure all parking services charges are applied. I reconcile restaurant room service; refresh food & beverage, and spa to make sure that we charge all of guest for their purchases. The main thing during the night auditing is to print all posting journal for all each transaction type and attach paper backup to make sure of the accuracy financial transaction by comparing the guest invoice and what we have in the system. For example, if room number 712 has a dry cleaning service for $13, 25 I must go to the guest profile to check guest name and match it with the laundry bill since some times the front desk agent charge the wrong room or the current guest instead of the actual guest who already checked out.

front lobby

In the hotel we have two parking lots one in the hotel and the other one is out of the hotel as a night auditor its essential for me to make sure that all cars in the right spots so we can inform the guests who ask about their cars where are they and how long does it take to get the car. The parking-attracting sheet that I prepare during the night is very helpful for me to make sure that all parking charges applied.  Magnolia Hotel and Spa provide great service, which is express check, out express which can save the guest time by not stopping by the front desk to do the regular check out process, what I usually do is to print the guest bill and the check-out letter and give it to the security to put it in every single room. After collecting the check out letter I charge all rooms and send the guests their receipt with zero balance.

During the night auditing tasks I usually do check in and check out and some interact with guests who look for some services from the hotel like book taxis and airport shuttle. The last thing I do before I leave is the housekeeping manager package, which consists of the necessary reports such as arrival guests, in house guests, departure guest, VIP, and to do reports. These different reports help the housekeeping department to do their job efficiently since during the night I collect the data that help us to provide a high quality services.

Co-workersco-workers

Interview with Brandon who is the current nigh auditor for the hotel, and the one who trained me.

Can you introduce yourself?

My name is Brandon Lachance I am from Canada and I have been working in the Magnolia hotel & Spa for six months as a night auditor.

What do you like about Magnolia hotel?

In Magnolia hotel we offer four diamond services and this is a grea thing for us as employee since it encouraged us to provide high quality services. The size of hotel is quiet small which give you a great opportunity to be close to the guests, employees, and the management team. Another thing is that the management who listen to their employee and appreciate their hard work and ideas. I really like the staff who are motivated to learn and work hard to serve our guests.

Brandon me and you we have been working together for a while what advices would you like to give me as a new employee?

I would encourage you to have a dialogue to use with the guest when you check them in and out. Think of new way to create new things that help you to be different from others. As night auditor you need to be very accurate since you deal with numbers all the time and one small mistake may screw all the work up.

What do you like about Abdulmohsen?

I like your voice sine you are a good singer. I like the pictures that you post in Facebook especially for food. Abdulmohsen you learn very fast and very motivated. I can tell that you have learned many things from your International Hotels Management degree.

Is there anything would you like to say at the end of this quick interview

It was great for you to start your career as a night auditor since it give you a great opportunity to be very familiar with the hotel especially from the financial side which is the most important part of every business. Abdulmohsen I believe that you are going to go away and you choose the right industry that fits with your nice personality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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A Day in the Life at the Fairmont Empress in Victoria,BC- by Daniella Corlazzoli

Fairmont, VictoriaThe luxurious Fairmont Empress Hotel has 477 rooms and is located in Victoria’s downtown inner harbor. It is situated right across the street from where the Seattle ferries dock and where all of Victoria’s main attractions are. The property is over 100 years old holding a lot of heritage and culture. Most of Victoria’s main attractions like whale watching, famous dining outlets, parks and beaches are located within walking distance of the hotel. The location of the Fairmont Empress provides convenience for the guests and opportunity to explore a lot of different luxuries.

Map

Currently I do not have a vehicle so I commute to work via transit. I live in the Royal Oak area and it takes me approximately 25 minutes from when I leave my house to when I walk through the Fairmont Empress staff doors. The location of my home gives me a lot of different options of times and makes it that much easier to get to work.

 

I love where I work! The colleagues who I work with are all so supportive and they are what make my job great. The environment at the front desk is fun, busy and full of excitement. We all work so well together and support each other everyday. All of the management team are very supportive and take the time to create this positive work environment. If I could describe in one word what my work environment is it would be “supportive” No matter what department you are in there is always someone who will help you. One thing that separates my current job from any other is the strong friendships that I have created at work. It is a great feeling to go into work and know you are not working with just another colleague but a friend who you trust, encourage and support.

DaniellaDaniella2As soon as I enter the staff entrance to the hotel I prepare myself for my shift. The first thing I do is enter the staff laundry and grab my “clean” uniform. 🙂  Once I am all suited up I punch in my ID code and walk to the front desk to start the day. No matter what day it is or what time my shift starts some of the routine things include getting my float ready, daily briefings by the manager on duty, cash out procedure and the front desk/concierge task list duties.

Every day is different at the front desk and this is one of my favorite parts about the hospitality industry. The colleagues who I work with are from all different parts of the world, which enables us to create a memorable and personable experience to our guests. Depending on the occupancy of the hotel I may pick up concierge shifts. This gives the front desk staff more time to concentrate on checking guests in and out. On a normal day there is around 3-4 front desk agents on and one full time concierge on. Going back and forth from concierge to front desk positions allows me to gain more of an understanding of what is going on in the city and to get to know the guests more. A typical day at the concierge desk includes booking guests a shuttle to the gardens via Cruise Victoria Shuttle , whale watching excursion for 3 hours on Five Star Whale watching tours , or a zip lining adventure for those guests who seek adventure. If a guest is wanting suggestions on dining outlets the most popular cuisine is Il Terrazzo, which is a famous Italian restaurant known for their family style service. Some of the fun things that make this job so much fun is that I can be apart of guests stay from when they check in to the hotel until they check out. You get the chance to understand your guests more when you check them in, book their activities, follow up with how their experience was and wishing them back to stay at the hotel. It is the guests who acknowledge your hard work is what makes me remember why I love this job. I am proud to be an ambassador of the famous Fairmont Empress.

Plane

On my days off I make an effort to be a tourist in my hometown, whether it be to go kayaking or for a bike ride down Dallas road. It is important to understand what is going on in Victoria so that you can deliver the right information to guests. Due to the location of the property we get a lot of individuals who are coming off cruise ships and want to walk around the hotel and ask questions about things to do. One of the great luxuries that you get to enjoy when you work for the Fairmont Empress is discounted rates on a lot of Victoria’s attractions and transportations. Heli jet has a great relationship with Fairmont employees giving us the opportunity to fly back and forth to Vancouver at a great rate. On my days off I try to take advantage of the great deals Heli jet has to offer!


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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:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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 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


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A day in the life of a boutique hotel intern at the Magnolia Hotel & Spa! By Alana Bianconi

Hello everyone! I’m pleased to share my experiences with you about my current time spent as part of the team at the Magnolia Hotel and Spa. Every day I wake up and am proud and excited to be a part of the staff at the wonderful Magnolia Hotel that had the honour of receiving the 2011 Trip Advisor award for Victoria along with Best of the City as voted by Victoria Residents and numerous other honourable mentions. The hotel is a boutique hotel in the heart of the Victoria Inner Harbour and is a small hotel of 64 that’s big on amenities.

7:00am I wake up and hit the snooze…too hard to get up when I have this cuddly guy..

Little Man the Chihuahua

7:30am- I’m up and at ’em! I hop on the bus and head downtown, which is luckily only a 10 minute bus ride from my humble abode. While I ride the bus I keep my eyes peeled for signs or posters of things going on around town today. It’s important for me to be aware of what’s going on in the city for me to pass along to the guests staying in the hotel and Victoria is plentiful in activities and events in the peak Summer season.

7:50am- I arrive at The Magnolia on its quiet corner home of Gordon and Courtney Street. I can smell the breakfast being served inside and can see our bellman biding farewell to guests for the day. I enter the hotel and put on my freshly cleaned uniform to get changed to serve some breakfast!

8:00am start- I begin my shift as a breakfast attendant. A complimentary deluxe continental breakfast is served to guests every morning at the Magnolia Hotel and Spa. The breakfast offers a wide array of tasty goods to provide nourishment to guests who are on their way out to see the sites of Victoria, or who are visiting to do business in the city.

10:00am- Breakfast service is over and it’s time to clean up. I’ve spent the last two hours replenishing the buffet breakfast, clearing tables and socializing with guests. The Magnolia has all kinds of guests that visit the hotel. We have regular corporate and government business and leisure travellers coming from all over the world. A large part summer clients are American travellers coming off the Clipper from Seattle or the Blackball Ferry from Port Angeles, these two modes of transportation makes it a short trip for American travellers to come for a quick trip to Victoria for the weekend.

11:00am- I’m all done my breakfast shift, I take a quick break to chat with my fellow Magnolians, get changed and head upstairs to finish the rest of my shift on the Front Desk. Due to the fact that The Magnolia Hotel & Spa is a smaller property, there is less stagnancy in roles. A majority of the staff are trained in multiple roles and cross training is highly encouraged.

11:01am- When I arrive I am greeted by the Hotel’s General Manager, Bill Lewis, who has decided that today he would do a spontaneous social media promotion due to the fact that it’s Social Media Day! Bill is enthralled by social media and the hotel has a large social media presence due to his spontaneity and commitment to online marketing as you can see on the Magnolia’s facebook site below.

http://www.facebook.com/MagnoliaHotelVictoria?ref=ts

Today’s promotion includes beautiful Magnolia Water bottles filled with goodies. There will be one lucky taker of a gift certificate for a one nights stay. How exciting!

Pick a water bottle! Win a Prize 🙂

1:00pm- The contest is over and the grand prize has been claimed. Back to work we go. On the Front Desk we witness so many interesting things daily. We see all the comings and goings of the guests, we get to help guests with requests… and complaints, but it truly is the heart of the hotel and I love seeing it all happen before my eyes!

Throughout the day it is common for us to answer phones and emails, make reservations and meet guest requests but we also provide concierge service as Front desk agents. We suggest places to eat, shop, visit and send countless people out the Butchart Gardens and Whale Watching daily.

4:00pm- Almost the end of my shift and we are preparing for our check in guests to arrive. My Front Office Manager notifies me that today the hotel is oversold *Gasp*

Due to Magnolia’s emphasis on service and limited room capacity, we are careful and very conscious of our room sales. We do our best not to oversell the hotel to avoid walking guests, unfortunately today this is not the case. My Manager thinks it would be great for me to do the walk…eek.

Bellmen & Valet on duty!

I agree to do the walk after some briefing and encouraging words from my manager, but I secretly hope the end of my shift quickly approaches before the guest arrives. Luck isn’t on my side today as the guest arrives and I have to let him know that there are no rooms left for him to sleep in tonight and that all the arrangements have been made for him to stay at another hotel. The guest took it surprisingly well and I give him a map to get to his new destination.

4:30pm- That wraps up another day at the fabulous Magnolia Hotel & Spa, I sign out, get changed and head home. I’m looking forward to do it all over again tomorrow.


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A Look into the LIC

Last week staff and faculty had the opportunity to take a sneak peak into the new LIC (Learning and Innovation Centre). Having watched this building go up over the past 18 months, everyone was eager to see what was inside! We were very impressed indeed! The building boasts 62,227 square feet, four floors, seven large classrooms, 33 breakout rooms, two computer labs (one Mac!), a business centre, a multi-media lecture room, a virtual conference room, many wonderful study/lounge areas, a snack bar, and several recycling stations, among other amenites. The finishings are beautiful with lots of wood, glass and slate and each space is flooded with natural light. The first day of classes in this shiny new building is scheduled for May 7th. We are looking forward to enjoying this new space with the RRU community….for now we share with you the photos!

First look at the atrium

View from the atrium

New classroom

Shiny new lecturns!

One of the swanky recycling stations

Lounge area

Looking down from the third floor

Design of square window frames in line with Hatley Castle


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Transmission Global Summit 2011 by Mags Doyle

The Transmission Global Summit was recently held at the Inn at Laurel Point, in beautiful Victoria, BC and I was fortunate enough to be a reporter for the Value Web who were charged with the enormous task of gathering the content–big ideas, challenges, conversation, snippets, whispers, themes– and illustrating that content in the form of a kind of graphic novel if you will that was ‘live’. Sound cool? It was. In fact, I would go so far as to say it was the coolest conference I’ve ever attended.

Tyl van Toorn is one of the mastermind’s behind Transmission and all of its ‘long tails’ including TransmitTALKS, TransmitNOW Live, TransmitNOW Magazine, and more. He posits that Transmission “is not about product, it’s about people.” This became evident from the first moment you arrived as CEO’s, COO’S, VIP’s, and Global Directors sat shoulder to shoulder with students, staff, faculty, and artists all equally engaging in the process that was Transmission. There was something uniquely egalitarian about this conference and I’ve yet to define it but the loose, creative, converstional style certainly was inspired and encouraged by the many digital media installations, the bands that played in the evening, and the ongoing Value-Web illustrations (self-described as graphic facilitation) of our conversation around the table that took shape on the walls around us.

This is Svenja Botlaender from the Value Web who managed to harness all of the content immediately following each round table with the Summit reporters, myself being one of them, in discussions that were for me, nearly as rich as the actual round tables. The tables I sat at had people from small indie labels to mega co’s like YouTube, sitting next to highly inventive Art Director’s, digital media artists, and entrepreneurs from all over the world. Needless to say, the conversation was everything.

Pictured above is Wu Jun, from R2G and Archie Hamilton, Managing Director for Split who were talking about B2B in China and the ongoing issues around piracy, intellectual property, trust, and the difference in the way Chinese business’ conduct and view business relationships. Fascinating. At another round table, I ‘reported’ at, we talked about an ‘ideal’ entrepreneurial company that would be called the Space and as a sort of imagination free-for-all and we used actual crafty bits to make a three-dimensionsal model of this idealized place where artists could simply create, unfettered by corporate greed or glaring agent eyes, and just ‘be’. Sigh. Hey it was fun….

I had a guy with the biggest fro’ ever at two of my roundtables and that was Chris Nohr with the Number Creative. His energy and talent were obvious but you really need to go view the videos that he and his amazing team shot for TransmitLIVE with some huge–and I mean huge-talents from around the world. Scott Belsky, a rock star in every way, who happens also to be CEO of Behance,  wowed everyone with an amazing keynote, which the Value Web handily translated into a graphic medium:

(From Scott Belsky’s Instagram of the installation, of the graphic representation, of the conversation…into…pretty shapes and pictures…just too cool.)

I still can’t actually believe who was in that hotel at the same time–just imagine the possibilities as Transmission grows! A really great moment for me was realizing that my university was a big part of making Transmission Global Summit 2011 happen here in Victoria and being able to participate in it. Allan Cahoon, President of Royal Roads University (pictured second from the right below), talks about this new partnership with Fan Tan Entertainment Inc. (producers of Transmission) which  “…will make RRU a catalyst, driving the growth of a new economy based in digital communication and content creation, helping great ideas transform into new businesses for Canada.” (quoted from TNT’s website)

I only had my iPhone with me so have fairly low-end pics, but decided to make lemonade and be creative so put it together in a little video, check it out.


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Fieldtrip! BA in International Hotel Management students

Last Friday, after being inundated with team sessions, new courses, and details of APA formatting, the new cohort of BA in International Hotel Management students had the opportunity to break from studies for a bit of fun and “in the field” learning. Who doesn’t enjoy a fieldtrip?!

The day started with a stroll through the trails of our very own Hatley Park campus forest (565 acres by the way!) amidst the large cedars, maple and fir trees. We made our way to a local (and very successful) Bed and Breakfast called Birds of a Feather. Owner Dieter Gerhard gave us a tour of his beautiful waterfront home and talked about his adventures over the last 13 years in the biz.

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Birds of a Feather B&B entrance

Dieter and his partner bought the then 3-bedroom rancher in 1997 and opened for business the same year. Over the course of two renovations, the building has since evolved into a two-storey home with three private, luxury, sound-proofed suites on the second level, complete with fireplace and soaker tub. Dieter credits the quick success of the B&B to a lot of hard work and embracing the internet: Birds of a Feather was one of the first B&Bs in Victoria to launch a website back in 1997. Dieter’s involvement with all-things-internet has blossomed since then with the development of northstudio.com, Stikky Media, as well as the Victoria School of Business and Technology.

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Dieter tells the story of Birds of a Feather

Dieter provided the BA students with some great insight into the bed and breakfast business, with tips on how to save money, write off expenses, and run a home-based business the way you want. He stressed that the B&B industry is one he entered because he enjoys people and he loves the lifestyle on the coast. The business allows him to travel in the off-season too, another passion of his. While the BA in IHM program focuses on hotels, I think Dieter may have lured some of these students to the B&B side of things!

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Alice and Taco- the official greeters at Birds of a Feather

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Priceless view even on a wet day

From Birds of a Feather, we were driven by the very friendly Gary from Wilson’s Transportation to the Coast Victoria Harbourside Hotel and Marina for our whale watching tour with Orca Spirit Adventures. Captain Brad and naturalists Rhonda and Rachel lead us into the Strait of Juan de Fuca to spot some whales. We had the amazing luck to come across a humpback mother and her calf! Some humpbacks travel down the Jan de Fuca Strait on their migration south towards Mexico or Hawaii.  They will stop here for several weeks or even a couple months to do some final feeding and rest up before continuing on their journey.  Not only did we have a perfect view of these two creatures surfacing in synchrony, but baby decided to give us a wee show with two energetic breaches! Check out the video:

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Leaving Victoria Harbour

On our way to Race Rocks Lighthouse we spotted yet another mother humpback and calf resting at the surface. This mother is known to locals as she has brought previous calves through the area in past seasons. At Race Rocks Lighthouse we saw California and Stellar Sea lions basking on the rocks; we learned that Stellars growl while the California Sea Lions emit more of a bark. Both species had much to grumble about though: Rachel informed us that these are the “lonesome losers” who were unsuccessful in earning breeding rights. On our way back to Victoria Harbour we had a fleeting visit from a couple of Dall’s Porpoises. They entertained us with a few darts and jumps near the stern of the boat.

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Mother humpback and baby

Other than some soggy weather in the morning, the day was truly a success—a perfect showcasing of tourism and hospitality in our very own Victoria, BC.

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BA IHM group shot on the dock

post and photos by Vivian


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A Day in the life of an intern at the Magnolia Hotel and Spa by Frank Shin

There are many reasons as to why we are all drawn into the hospitality industry, whether to work in luxurious destinations or to explore different countries and cultures.  However, my personal internship journey hasn’t taken me far away from home or to another country as my employment is at the Magnolia Hotel and Spa here in the beautiful city of Victoria.  This boutique full-service hotel is a four diamond upscale property that boasts conference rooms, an Aveda concept spa called Spa Magnolia, and the Prime Steakhouse while featuring 64 magnificently detailed rooms.

Magnolia hotel, four star luxury

After gaining valuable experience working at a large four diamond hotel with more than 300 rooms and at a small motel with 40 rooms, my aim was to explore the middle ground between these past two properties and experience the challenges that a small sized boutique hotel goes through that defines itself.   This is where my internship begins as a bell man and as a breakfast server.  These two positions have allowed me the presence to experience first-hand the challenges that I’ve yearned to explore.  To sum up my learning working here thus far, it boils down to a simple sentence: The secret to running a small boutique hotel is challenging the impossible to making it possible.

Romantic settings with gorgeous details

The Routine

5:45am

The sun isn’t out yet and there is frost covering my car.  I am having my morning smoke while gathering my fleece jacket tighter for warmth.  The street sounds are mute and the birds are chirping as if to say, “good morning”.  After heading back in and getting physically and mentally prepared for work, I say goodbye to my kittens and go to work.

7:00 am

The morning staff has already set up the buffet tables and food.  I stand and await our hotel guests to walk through and help with their seating.

8:00am

Most of the guests are awake now and are streaming in to satisfy their hunger.  The job is now about juggling restocking the buffet line with food and drinks as well as cleaning the dining areas as guests leave.

9:00am

Today is a busy day, there are 120 guests in-house who are expected for the day and most of them have decided to come at once near the end.  The breakfast hours are 6:30am to 10:00am.  With only three breakfast servers on staff, one of us is in the back washing dishes as the second is clearing tables and the third is restocking food and drinks.  I am amazed at how busy it can get so quickly as there is about 13 people at all times grabbing breakfast.

10:00am

It is time to close the doors and start cleaning.  The Prime Steakhouse does not belong to the Magnolia Hotel and Spa.  Through a contract, the hotel is allowed to use the space during 5:00am to 11:30am.  That means from 10:00am till 11:30am, we have to convert the breakfast buffet area back into its original position as well as removing all our food, drinks, tables, and equipments.  Some days it is finished early at 11:00am, and then there are some days where it is finished right at 11:30am.

11:00am

Today the other two breakfast servers can handle the rest of the duties as I am needed on the floor as a bellman.  I quickly put on my uniform and radio to assist the front office team.  Check out time is at 12:00pm here and people are already asking for their cars to be brought up.  There is room for about 16 or so cars downstairs.  By being a hotel with 64 rooms, this does become an issue when most of our guests bring a car.  Our overflow lot is about five minutes away.  This means I’ll be running around and driving back the car.  When there is nothing else to do, it will take about 5 minutes to bring back someone’s car.  On busy days, this can increase to 10-15 minutes.

12:00pm

Everyone is now checked out and the lobby is quiet.  It is time to eat some lunch and I head over across the street to the Corner Sandwich And Soup.  My favorite is the Phillysteak Panini.

12:30pm

This is known as the “quiet time”, which is the time after check outs and before check ins.  During this time we spend our efforts in preparing for the evening.  All brass carts and door handles in the lobby are polished.  The coffee stand is cleaned and restocked.  Maps and other guides are folded and stocked.  The most important thing we do at this time is to complete our daily to-do list.  This entails chocolate and wine deliveries as well as putting in or removing rollaway beds.

2:00pm

Guests are starting to arrive and are assisted with valet parking as well as luggage assistance to their rooms.  This is an opportune time to introducing yourself, the hotel, as well as the area.  This is the magical time between the bellman and the guest in creating that magical moment.  I escort the guests after they’ve checked in at the front desk to the elevators, then to their rooms.  Their luggage and other belongings are properly set or stored for their convenience.

3:30pm

My day is done at work.  This is where I sign off!