For most of my time here I was in the Food and Beverage Department. I learned a lot about operations, staffing, service and guest interaction and a little bit about the administration of running the department. But after three months, in what is described as a luxury boutique hotel with only a few F&B outlets, it was time for a change.
At the same time, a bigger change was taking place, a new General Manager became a part of the team here. It is has been very interesting to see two very different styles of management.
So for one month, I trained in Front Office and for the remainder of my time I will be training in Housekeeping and very briefly in the Executive Offices.
In Front Office I spent time learning about reservations, guest relations, transportation, concierge, room allocations and some basic reporting. It was both a joy and a pain to interact with guests on an hourly basis, but I was reminded of why I love this industry. You deal with so many guests that smiling and making small talk becomes a chore and your cheeks build some extra muscle.
Then, there will be a guest who really makes your day, like two guests I had from America. Because of the flooding in Thailand, they decided not to visit Bangkok but to fly straight home, I offered my services to help them reroute their plane ticket. This was easier said than done and I spent the greater part of a day on the telephone to people in various countries trying to get the right flights. The guests were of course anxious (they were both in their 70’s) but I did my best at putting them at ease. Had they been different people, I would maybe not have tried so hard to get their arrangements in order but they were just the sweetest people and I wanted to help as much as possible. As a thank you, they gave me a little present and really flattered me with their compliments. It’s situations like these that reconfirm why I want to work in hospitality.
I have now started in Housekeeping and as I move from department to department my understanding is growing. Having a bit of knowledge from each area and seeing the context of its operations helps when you get to the next. I find that the big picture is becoming clearer and it makes me excited to get back to school and continue studying.
One more week to go!
There are a number of villages on the great Tonle Sap Lake that spend a large part of the year completely flooded. They are mostly fishing villages and they carry out their entire lives on the water, transported by boats and canoes around the villages and to land for supplies. It is such a completely different way of life. The houses are all built on stilts that are 5 meters or more. In the dry season there will be no water and in the wet season the water will be lapping at the floor boards. There are schools, police stations, temples and pagodas for worship, shops, guest houses and government offices all “floating”. There was even a pig pen and chicken coops. However, while it was very interesting to visit Kompong Pluk for the day, I don’t think that it would be my chosen place of abode.