My Hotel Internship in NYC
Of all the departments in a hotel, the rooms division handles the most intimate details of a guest’s stay. In this 3-part blog post, Astried Arini (Bachelor Degree in Hospitality Semester 6 student) shares her experience in the rooms division department after her recent internship at The Chatwal, in New York City.
Astried worked there for five months and she had the chance to learn about multiple roles as the assistant housekeeping manager, executive office trainee, and reservation and revenue management trainee. In her lengthy account of her experience, she gives us a glimpse of the secret world of the rooms division, from housekeeping to front office, to the back of the house in revenue management. We’ll be breaking it down by the different areas she worked in. First, she takes us through housekeeping with photos and comments on what she learned.
A typical workday on internship in Housekeeping
I started my internship on August 13, 2015 and officially finished my internship on January 12, 2016. I spent most of my internship period in the Housekeeping Department. My schedule was subject to change, but most of the time I came at 9:00 am in the morning or 7:00am to open the department: I read all the pass-on emails intra-departmentally and inter-departmentally, prepared the assignment paper together with any particular requests from guests or any house projects for the ladies and housemen.
The many duties and responsibilities of a housekeeping manager
I was assisting the director and managers of housekeeping in assigning the tasks to the maids (full service, turndown, requests, etc.), preparing the daily report, scheduling, inspecting the rooms, controlling inventory (forecast, purchase order, and particularly linen track since our hotel does not have in-house laundry) and room inspection.
Generally, I worked with one director, 2 managers, 7-10 maids daily, houseman (3), lobby attendants(1), both in-house and outsourced laundry services. I used to shadow my director or manager as they do their routines, at the same time I always try my best to learn something new quickly and adapt to the various situations. After 3 weeks, I gained confidence in performing my job, they allowed me to handle some jobs: productivity reports, purchase orders, linen tracks, inventory control sheets, handling the phone requests, assigning tasks and rooms, make decisions for swapping rooms, rooms descriptions and lay-out explanation for sales and marketing and reservation departments, and inspection work.
The skills to develop in housekeeping
I first thought that working in housekeeping department would be a tedious experience, as we do not directly meet the guests and the guests are rarely recognizing our services. However, over the past months, I’ve realized that, in fact, housekeeping is the central nerve of the hotel. The guests and their experiences in the hotel rooms depend on the effectiveness and efficiency of the housekeeping team members, who of course drive and collaborate with other departments to ensure the comfort and satisfaction of the guests at the end of their stay.
If you want to understand more about the hotel’s core operations, housekeeping is a great starting point! A housekeeping position will help you to gain competencies in time management, communication, and supervisory or leadership skills, which are the essential attributes that leaders need to possess.
Every day, I was able to practice building my confidence while delegating the tasks to all the maids every morning and evening (for turndown task) through the pre-shift meeting. It was also important for me to ensure the assignment for the maids, pass on information for/from the other related people, and make sure the guests’ requests are correctly integrated and delivered. This is why thoroughness is important in this job. Lastly, I assisted in checking the inventories and supplies to control, order, and forecast our current stock and needs.
Filling in for the Executive Office Manager
Due to the fact that the Executive Office Manager who personally assisted the Vice President of Luxury Division (sitting in my hotel) had his vacation for one full week, the VP of Luxury Division personally asked me to assist him during the office manager’s absence. It was such a great experience for me, since I worked closely with Sales & Marketing Department and also the other departments of the hotels. I was able to understand and learn more about the roles of the Sales & Marketing Department, as well as observe the routines of a top manager in the hotel.
During my time assisting our VP of Luxury Division, I was assigned mostly office work, doing news and information updates, scheduling tasks (contacting the person and venues), organizing venues (our studio or club room), writing personalized cards and getting cake for any team members’ birthday/anniversary celebration, and assisting the Sales and Marketing Department.
Additionally, I was trusted to access, organize, and update our VP email contacts that were missing and incomplete: I updated over 4’000 contacts manually within four days of the deadline given!
Reservation and Revenue Management Trainee
For the last month of my internship, I was given an opportunity to explore the reservation and rooms revenue department. For this role, I worked closely with the director of revenue and assistant revenue manager. This department at the same time also acts as the Reservation Department of the hotel.
Every week, we have what we call revenue weekly meeting with our VP and DOSM to look at our performance and make a pricing strategy (packages, adjust our prices) to be competitive in the market. Furthermore, I was trusted to complete some projects like modifying and creating our extranet page (hotel’s information such as room category, prices, facilities, descriptions, pictures, and advertisements), change our rates (parent and child rates) through the portal production environment of the hotel, track the commissions, update and clean reservations, charge deposit/cancellation fees, assign the house, and create or modify rate plans as per agreement (mostly from sales & marketing).
Keep an eye out for Part 2 of my internship journey coming soon! I’ll share with you my top things to do in NYC.