The place of the internship was called Holiday Inn Express in the Center City of Philadelphia. Address: 1305 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107. The hotel provides minimal options including a price-conscious stay with its guests. It is also part of the InterContinental Hotel Group, which has a total of 168 rooms offered to its guests. Emily Baumgardner was the boss of my internship location. Emily is now the Front Office Manager at Holiday Inn Express, and the easiest way to reach her is by email to [email protected] or by calling Holiday Inn Express directly. In certain circumstances, she will be at the office from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday to Friday. Emily is a holder of a Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management from The Richard Stockton University of New Jersey. While attending the school, she spent her internship at the Tropicana Resort in Atlantic City and continuing the success in her career. When she first started at Holiday Inn Express, she was a Front Desk Agent and was promoted to the Front Desk Supervisor soon after. Later on, she left for about a year for a new opportunity, then returned as the Front Office Manager at the beginning of 2016.
During the semester, the majority of my duties as Front Office Intern at Holiday Inn Express Midtown were to exercise everyday responsibilities of the Guest Service Representative, assisting management on problem resolution, shadowing and assist management on daily management tasks, and handling guest complaints. When I first started, I was put into an intense video training for the first day which I thought I would not learn anything in this internship. But soon after, my task was shadowing the Guest Service Representative to learn the basic Opera reservation system. This was contrary to what I had expected; the supervisor went too fast when giving instructions on how to handle the guests without explaining the steps to take. I was even more confused at the same time. Going forward on my training, I had to ask questions on steps of the method to learn Opera system. The next thing I learned was assisting management in problem resolution. I was able to learn from the management on how they handle the problems and exercise the skill that I acquire while at internship there. This skills also allowed me to handle guest complaints on a daily basis. While working here, I also had a chance to learn what the management tasks for day to day routine and managed to take care of other assigned tasks.
With the experiences that I had at Holiday Inn Express Midtown, I was able to set few goals along the way. For example, setting the goals on creating a proper training manual with the managements and I was able to help another department when needed. When supporting the management with the training manual, I was able to give my experience and provide ideas on training which can increase the productivity of the Front Office team. Through the aid, I gave another department I learned what they exactly do.
A significant experience that changed the way I viewed the industry was gained when I ushered the guest into a dirty room when the system showed “clean” status. This happened a few weeks ago after the internship. I was checking a small group of guests that had requested for two adjourning rooms. While checking the rooms, the guests were okay to have the first room, so they started unloading their stuff. The Opera system showed that one was cleaned and the other was not. I checked the first room according to the system and accepted the guest’s request. After the guests checked-in, they came back after few minutes and stated that the room was not ready. It was a very embarrassing moment for us, and I felt terrible for the guests that they carried some luggage up to the rooms. I apologized to them again and again and offered as much as I could to recover this situation. I told them that I would contact housekeeping to have the room ready for the next half to an hour, personally, deliver the luggage up to the room when it ready, and suggested to them a place eat. The group of the guests left for attractions nearby. After thirty minutes, the rooms were ready, so I started to load their luggage and ushered them their room. The guests thanked me after for providing an exceptional service.
This is the first time I worked at the Front Office Department. I was shocked how many issues can up in just one day. In this department, I learned how to handle customers with care. Another thing that changed the view of my experience was communication. Communication is crucial in the hotel industry and especially in front office department. Unlike the restaurant, industry communication is quite essential at the front office because it aids decision making. Poor communication between departments, increase the complications and also raises concerns concern.
As an intern at Holiday Inn Express Midtown, I feel that I had developed my Professional Development Personal Assessment except for my communication skill. After the midterm, I looked at what Emily’s assessment to see what I needed to improve on. The area that I was had to work on was communication.
For communication skills, I feel that I had improved while working at the front office of the Holiday Inn Express. I had been trying to my level best to express or relay the message as much as I could when I was there. When I first started, I wasn’t able to communicate well because I was a bit nervous and my knowledge of the business still needed to reinforce. After months of working at the hotel, I have strengthened the knowledge of the hotel and able to improve my communication skills toward guest and staff.
For ethics and decision-making skills, I feel that I have exceeded and able to judge by my opinion to make the better decision. I have been making the decisions on my own for the last two months of internship. The first two months, all decision making of the issues and conflicts were answered by Emily, the Front Office Manager because I wasn’t about the hotel policy on doing most of the stuff. Then, the next couple months, I used my judgment to provide the best solution for the issues. Although, before finalizing a decision, I would consider possible choices and its pros and cons to rule out the most efficient and effective way to achieve the end goal. For example, our hotel offered parking facilities for our guest for $27 per night parking, and it gave the guest a privilege of going in and out from it. One day, the guest were continuously having trouble returning the garage with the green key that we gave them, this made them extremely irritated with the happening. I made my judgment on explaining to the guest that the parking facility is not part of our hotel, but I would talk to the management of the garage and seek assistance. In addition to that, I told the guest that I would personally bring this up to my manager and offered the guest some compensation of depositing IHG points to the guest’s IHG Rewards Membership. The guest was satisfied with the information I provided. From working here, I have learned that to observe the emotion the guest to make the decision that satisfies both parties.
For company’s knowledge, I believe I have learned a great deal about the background of IHG Corporation and the hotel itself. But, I also believe this experience is never enough, and it will continue to change as time goes by. While working here, I have been asking everyone who works here about Holiday Inn Express and how they feel about the place. I feel that I still have plenty to learn from my coworker because many of them have been at the Holiday Inn Express Midtown for ten to twenty or more years. It is crucial to understand the business because the hotel’s services can be improved to continue providing outstanding goods and service.
For self-management and managerial skills, I have strived to become a leader in the department. I had the opportunity to contribute my opinion and express in a management meeting and group sales meeting. I also had an opportunity of helping to create the training manual for the front office new hires. During the meeting with the front office managers to create the training manual, we discussed detailed information on daily training for the future trainees and thirty days review to revisit the weaknesses. Another self-management and managerial skill that I feel that I had acquired was problem-solving. From the beginning of the internship until almost the end, I was able to perform more confidently in issues pertaining management.
Critical Thinking Skills
For critical thinking skills, I believe I have handled numerous issues that deal with complicated situations. Critical thinking is a way of analyzing problem which could involve logic and reasoning. As for the management role here at Holiday Inn Express, critical thinking skills are essential requirements to evaluate, assess, categorize, and reason with logic. I feel that I had contributed and further strengthened my critical thinking skill by helping the front office managers in handling the issues that occurred. Working closely with Emily also broaden my knowledge on what steps should be taken before seeking the method to resolve issues. For example, when a guest came to the hotel with a complaint about the rude person that the guest encounter, we had to think when what, who, the happening, etc. to get as much information to determine the best solution for the issue.
Conclusions and Recommendations
As for my future career interests, I would like to do something new that I have not done it before. The front office is fun, and I meet many great coworkers, but I feel that it is not for me. I still want to go toward to the events or revenue management. Another possible career interest in the future is that I would like to go back for my master degree in accounting. In overall, I would like to stay at a place that I enjoy working and love the company’s philosophy. At that point, I will use my knowledge to continue working better in the new firm and continue to lead, motivate, and to provide the excellent service to the future workplace.
I feel that many to all of my courses have benefited my professional development and internship experience. For example, Leadership and Organizational Management taught us that leadership, decision-making, social responsibility, motivation, human resource management, etc. that can benefit our future. Another example is Hospitality Management Systems course used a variety of information by focusing reservation, marketing, operations, and management, to advance the professional development in the workplace. There are more courses that benefited me in my experience.
Recommendations of the agency and the University
I feel that Holiday Inn Express Midtown provided me not only the experience but also a life lesson. Even though majority of this job is unpaid due to a budget concern of the hotel, I still had the chance to learn a great deal of valuable skills from the management team and the front office agents. I would recommend to other university students to apply for an internship at Holiday Inn Express to learn the ins and outs of what each department does. Unfortunately, I did not have a chance to work in housekeeping department due to the funeral that I had to attend in Taiwan. But I am sure that the combination of Front Office and Housekeeping internship is an experience that you would always want and wish for. As for the university, I would recommend to other potential prospects to attend due to the great professors and courses that the school offers. Even though there are many of the schoolwork, quizzes, exams, and group work, but overall, it was a great experience in life. The courses that the potential prospect will be taking are preparing them for a real life workplace.