My internship took place at Fashion 26 Hotel in New York (F26). It is a four star hotel that is widely known for its quality in delivery of service. Though newly established, it offers outstanding design and extemporary four star amenities. It is located in the renowned fashion capital, in the Manhattan’s neighborhood to the West on the 26th street. It is just meters away from The Fashion Institute of Technology and the Empire State building. The hotel has 280 breathtaking guest rooms that offer high class comfort. It is a home away from home. It also has a brick tower that is strategically set to ensure privacy and comfort when in the suites away from all the hustle in the capital.
It was a great opportunity to be part of the staff at the four star hotel despite the fact that I was just an intern. It gave me a lot of experience and the joy of being part of this great hotel was overwhelming. The whole experience was filled with different lessons each day that gave me the tactics to enable me handle any job diligently in the future. The work place was employee friendly and I looked forward to each and every day’s activities. The supervisor in charge of the interns gave us enough opportunities in the different departments so as to ensure that we were all rounded employees in the future. He always notified me of my mistakes making sure that I was becoming more experienced by the passing of each day. It gave me the impression that one can retrieve joy from performing their duties to the set standards. However, it was clear that following instructions was of great importance to being successful in any workplace.
The guest check-in process
The hotel has a capacity of 280 guests on any particular day. One can make a reservation in advance either via telephone or online. However, it is not a must as one can also book a room on arrival provided there is available space. As the guests check in, it is notably comfortable as the driveway enables them to relaxingly approach the comfort zone. At the entrance, there is a doorman who escorts the guest inside the luxurious hotel. Displayed all the way is art and photography whose essence is to explain the history of the some garments which may interest the guest. They then head on to the front office where they are warmly welcomed by the guest service agent in charge. It is a spectacular experience that the guest is not likely to forget.
The guest service agent is in charge of registering the guest and making sure that everything needed by the guest is available to commence their stay. The guest service agent also verifies important details about the guest’s stay. For instance, they verify the description of the room that the guest wants, the rates charged, mode of payment and any special arrangements that the guest may request for. The duration of stay is not necessarily inquired so as not to seem limiting to the guest. All these verifications are very important as they ensure that the guest is fully aware of the terms of the hotel therein. This also ensures that there are no discrepancies arising from contradictions on any matter concerning the stay of the guest when he or she is eventually checking out.
For the time I was working as a guest service agent, we had a very smooth flow of activities due to the fact that everything was well taken care of. The guests were always very pleased with our service and most of them looked forward to staying with us again. It was great to see the goodwill of the hotel appreciating each day. When checking in, the guests were allowed to specify whether we could allow anyone to contact them in the privacy of their rooms. This ensured that there were no unnecessary disturbances during their stay in the hotel. Issues on security were well catered for. During their stay, the guests had 24 hour room service to ensure that their needs were catered for at their own convenience.
The guest check-out process
Once a guest stays in a hotel, their stay is hardly ever a permanent one. In that case, there is the checking out process when they decide to terminate their stay. The guests were welcome to stay in the hotel for as long as they wished as earlier informed when checking-in. When the guest decides to leave the hotel, the guest service agent confirms with the records on the agreed terms of payment. They then confirm the amount payable and inform the guest. In case the guest decides to pay through checks, the hotel has installed a check verification system as a precautionary measure to ensure that the checks do not bounce. This ensures that there are no any embarrassing confrontations with the guests.
While I worked there, there was a survey that was being carried out by the hotel. There were forms that the guests filled at their own will on performance and quality of service at the hotel during their stay. This helped in rating the hotel’s progress. As a result, any negative opinions were taken into consideration and where necessary improvements were made. The positive opinions were highly appreciated and maintained to ensure prosperity of the hotel. It was always a great day at work when a guest leaving the hotel personally appreciated one’s services. I looked forward to doing my job well since I knew it was always appreciated.
However, sometimes it was challenging as some guests due to anxiety in their activities were impolite and I had to put up with them. I had to learn to control my emotions despite the fact that I had not done anything wrong. At times it was hard to deal with guests who disagreed with factual payments but I remained calm and strong. Once everything had been cleared out and all the payments were made, the guest was free to leave and welcome to come for another stay in the future.
Guest complaint resolution
In any kind of business, there are complaints from either of the concerned parties. After all, no one is perfect. As much as we may try, something could also go wrong. Guests at times in the hotel were not contented with some of the services offered. On every floor of the hotel, there was a suggestion box where they could drop their anonymous complaints. This ensured that there were no hard feelings between the guests and the staff who probably had made the mistake. There was also the option of directly contacting the management for example, the general manager or the assistant manager. The hotel had a system that ensured that there was free flow of information.
The complaints raised by the guests were acted upon with no delay. At times, the management, through one of the members of the staff, would make personal apologies to the guest for any inconveniences caused. When necessary the guest would be relocated to another room or even offered a compensation of a free stay for a day. In one instance, there was a faulty socket in one of the guest’s room. As a result, his laptop had become faulty while he was using it in his room. The management offered him not only an apology, but also a new laptop to compensate him for his loss due to the inconvenience and loss caused by the hotel. The hotel’s management ought to have made sure that everything was in good condition before allocating the room.
In other instances, the general manger would call us for an emergency meeting to inform us of the various complains from the various departments and solutions would also be formulated to solve the anomalies. The guests comfort was always prioritized. This was a measure to ensure that the hotel was continuously becoming popular and maintaining a good public image. Many were the times when guests praised the management for quickly resolving any issue that was working against the comfort of the guests. Owing to the fact that hotel is in the hospitality industry, F26 was living up to the set standards of the industry.
In each and every company or firm, there must be an employee schedule that clearly defines the responsibility of each employee. The schedule also ensures that there is no chaos on who is meant to do what. It also reduces blame game because in case of mishap there is someone who is directly accountable. It reduces ambiguity and laziness. There was a duty roster that specified every employee’s role in the running of the hotel. As for the interns, the supervisor had a schedule that clearly stated the department that one was supposed to be working in at any particular time. The schedule was well balanced to ensure that no employees were being exploited or just laying around and not performing their responsibilities. Due to the fact that the hotel was running 24 hours, there was also balance on the night shifts and daytime shifts. The schedule was such that each employee worked for one continuous week on a night shift and then the consecutive week they would be working during day time.
As for my fellow interns and I, we learnt a lot during the entire time that we were working with the hotel. The schedules that had been set were working well with the employees. Hardly were there any complaints from the employees on matters related to the schedules. They were well balanced. The main aspect that is of huge concern when coming up with an employee duty schedule is to ensure that it contributes towards the achievement of the set goals and objectives of the entity. The schedule at F26 was goal oriented as it optimized each employee’s skills to ensure that the long run returns were equally high. It ensured that each responsibility in the hotel was well taken care of. This ensured satisfaction of the customers of the hotel. I was able to realize the importance of balancing both the need of the customers and of the employees. Prioritizing one’s employees’ needs is a form of motivation for them and hence quality results in their work.
In any business, forecasting is significant as one can never predict what is in store for them in the future. This is especially so because we can never tell the next move that our competitors are planning. In the hotel industry, many businessmen are putting up hotels everyday with the newest technology being utilized. This is a competition criterion to outsmart the already existing hotels. F26 management seemed to well aware of the underlying competition. This therefore meant that in terms of the facilities offered they had to keep up with the best technology.
The managers were always carrying out research on the best and quality services and technologies that were coming up in the hotel industry. This ensured that they were offering their customers the best versions that were in the market. With this forecast, there were always standby funds to fund any new arrival that served best to the interest of increased returns for the entity. There also were forecasts on the action that would be taken in case of any emergencies for example fires.
Business forecasting if accurately carried out enhance the long run returns of any firm in the specific industry. As employees at the hotel, we worked hand in hand with the management in ensuring that the hotel was offering the best services in town. We were all interested in the prosperity of the hotel. This was made possible by the continuous free flow of information both horizontally and vertically (between the seniors and juniors). In F26 business forecasting was a priority as a responsibility of the general manager who in turn involved all the employees. After all, they worked together as a unit.
Revenue management is also referred to as yield management. It is a concept aimed at maximizing revenue and profits for any firm that utilizes it. In the hospitality industry, it is mainly applicable to very big hotels. More often than not, it mainly results to price discrimination. Price discrimination is a situation whereby different people are charged different prices for the provision of the same good or service based on certain laid down criteria.
In F26 hotel, the management practiced revenue management. This is because just like any other business, their main goal is to maximize profits. If a guest to the hotel booked a reservation in advance, either online or on phone, they enjoyed a 10% discount. Thus, for the same type of room, a guest who booked in advance paid less amount of money than the one who paid on arrival. While I worked there, it was also evident that if one was staying there on a business appointment in the town, the rates were slightly higher. There was also a discounted rate for any guest who chose to stay at the hotel for more than two weeks. This was a business strategy that led to increased revenue for the hotel and hence more profits. It was a strategy that was aimed at increased volumes.
At the beginning, I thought that the hotel was being prejudiced in its service provision. It was only later that I learnt that it was an accepted business strategy in the hospitality industry and many other competitive industries. This strategy works best at the interest of the hotel. For instance, it is better to accept a lower amount for a room from a customer who wants to book in advance than to wait for another guest who will pay more on arrival yet there is no assurance that they will actually show up. A second scenario is based on the fact that a business oriented stay in a hotel could be a last minute booking and hence they are willing to pay any amount. However, a guest who is staying in the hotel on vacation is not likely to be in a hurry and as such they are willing to wait and pay a lower amount. Hence, any smart manger would advocate for the implementation of this strategy in his or her firm.
Revenue management is a very profitable strategy and I learnt that every manager must come up with the best criteria so as to maximize profits. F26 was already doing that and the end results spoke for themselves.
Head office relations
Head office relations are of great importance in the achievement of the set goals and objectives of a firm. They shape all the relations of all the faculties of the firm. If these relations are not friendly, then the goals of the firm are hardly likely to be achieved. In F26 hotel, friendly relations were always maintained between the management, employees and the guests. In case of any difficulty, the general manager, his assistant and our supervisor were always readily approachable. This ensured that everything was running smoothly as planned and each and everyone was content as they were going about their duties. The relations were so good that one could hardly differentiate the seniors from the juniors.
These close relations were highly valued because the employees were free to speak out their minds. After all, it is a free world. The coordination of activities in the hotel was running smoothly and almost everything was going as per the laid out plan. The set goals and objectives were also continuously being achieved. It was the joy of each and every employee to come to work as they were assured of a peace of mind when performing their duties. The jovial mood was extended when attending to the guests’ needs. The guests in turn always felt appreciated and this gave them a reason to come back to the hotel again. This led to an increase in the customer base of the hotel and hence resulting in increased revenue.
The top management also extended its good relations to the guests. The management made the guests feel at home and quickly attended to any complaints brought forward by the guests so as to ensure that they were enjoying their stay at the hotel. This was a strategy that made that the guests carry with them the goodwill of the hotel and this increased the number of guests and customers that were coming to the hotel. The guests recommended the hotel to their families, friends and colleagues.
I learnt that the management is the pillar of any business and in future should I become a manager, the most important thing is to enhance good relations in the firm. Good relations reduce tension when performing duties and also lead to the morale of going ahead with carrying out the set out responsibilities. Leading by example is the best strategy towards achievement of the set goals and objectives. F26 had achieved so many goals by the good relations that were always maintained. Being able to accept mistakes, despite being the head of an entity, is also crucial. After all, no one is perfect.
Generally, working at a four star hotel like F26 was an overwhelming experience. There was so much to learn and the best thing was doing everything that I have learnt in class practically. At times, it was hard but I held on. At the initial stage, I would be tense of making mistakes but slowly I learnt that experience is the best teacher. The whole crew at the hotel was very supportive and I continuously thanked them for giving me the opportunity to work with them. I got the unending urge to work again with a crew that is as cooperative as they were. I look forward to applying all what I learnt in a work place in my career path in the hospitality industry. This internship was a huge step towards my entire career and even in shaping my personality.