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Visit of the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Syracuse

Yesterday, students in my Hotel & Resort Operations class and I toured the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Syracuse. In addition, we met with the General Manager, Director of HR, Director of Sales & Marketing, Director of Operations, and Director of Engineering. We all enjoyed our visit as well as the conversations with the managers. These managers share a diverse background and have distinguished career paths. Yet, it seems that they all agreed on at least three points.

First, hospitality is an exciting field. The managers in Crowne Plaza are passionate about what they are doing. They feel that “every day is different, and there is no a typical work day.” New guests are coming every day. Employees and guests raise different questions every day as well. It is the excitement of dealing with new challenges on a daily basis that makes these managers love their jobs.

Second, knowledge in F&B (food and beverage) is critical in hotel operations. Many managers we met today have extensive experience in F&B. They appreciate this experience because they have to know F&B in order to do a good job in their current positions. Students who do not like classes about restaurant operations may need to think again --- even if they only want to work in hotels or event management firms, they still need the F&B knowledge. Meanwhile, students who fall in love with restaurant management and/or culinary arts may also want to consider the alternative of working in hotels.

Last, being flexible in terms of jobs and location could also be very important in career advancement. Opportunities do not always come for the same job or from the same location. Being flexible allows a manager to move up the ladder much faster than those who are not.  

What do you learn from this tour? If hotel managers face new challenges every day, what are those transferable skills that may help them solve problems?

References:

Comments

  1. Dr Kwok, it was really amazing experience I had which inspired me in a lot of ways.

    Fristly, I agree the directors and you perspective about being able to do the work "physically" will allow us to be exposure in every part of the operation. I have strong feelings with this point due to my experience in the restaurant operations (Hong Kong) this past summer. As the operation trainee, trainings were designed under ISO system; I was able to experience every single role in a very systematic order. experiencing every role not only develop my professional skills and knowledge, this will also plays very significant role when the operation has any emergent situation (which are very common in hotel.restaurant industry). If everyone in the operation are able to be experience each part of the operation, a day with a lot of guests/costumers, employees would be able to help other colleagues in an efficient & effective ways.

    Secondly, adaptability and flexibility has always been a question to me for a long time. I sometimes wondered esp in covering letter, should I mention a specific job I want; traditional way of thinking would be choosing specific job and write your strengths based on that particular job. But to me, initially I have a thought of writing "I am flexible in any role" so what should I do? more important I might not know what position the company/hotel are needed (apart from reading the job posting) but not all website provide job posting. So what strategy should I use to write the covering? or to find sources for a job?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dear Amy,

    Applying for a job is different from managing a person's career. I believe your cover letter and resume need to be "very specific" to the job for which you are applying.

    In your junior year, you may want to take the Leadership and Career Management class (I and Ms. Susan Terasaka are teaching this class). We will teach you how to write an effective cover letter and resume. You will also learn other job search tactics in this class. For now, you may visit the following hyperlinks for more discussion on my blog:

    Resume Writing: http://linchikwok.blogspot.com/2010/09/student-resumes.html

    Writing an effective cover letter:
    http://linchikwok.blogspot.com/2010/10/writing-effective-cover-letter.html

    Discussion about cover letter and resume:
    http://linchikwok.blogspot.com/2010/12/cover-letter-resume-and-linkedin.html

    I hope this information will help. Have a nice one.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Dr. Kwok,
    This is my first time going behind the scenes of a hotel and I must admit I was incredibly impressed with not just the facility and services of the hotel but also with the hospitality the employees provided while they brought us around.

    I learned a great deal during our tour but a couple of things stood out to me. One, I was really surprised that all the employees who we had the privilege of meeting told us that every day in this industry is a different day, and each day is new and exciting. Before this tour, I always assumed from observing the front desk that these jobs are mundane as they do the same thing every day but now I realized that while their tasks may not vary that much, they have the opportunity to interact and mingle with customers and that itself can really brighten up a typical work day. Also, the different situations and interactions that these employees go through give them good training and skills for them to be versatile in the work field so that they will constantly be prepared for whatever problems they may face, instead of being thrown off guard.

    Next, I learned that there's always room to improve in the hospitality industry. The Director of Engineering spoke to us and told us that renovations are done usually once in every five years and I personally feel that's a good thing to do. Although renovations can be pricey, it is important to improve the facilities of a hotel especially when there are many options for customers to choose from. Hotels have to offer facilities and services that are top-notch in order to keep their old customers and attract new ones.

    Lastly, I learned from the General Manager that flexibility is key to success in the hotel management business. If an employee always wants to stick to a certain type of job, he/she doesn't give room for him/herself to grow. It is important to know a range of tasks so that one is open to more opportunities in the future. It is also of major importance to know how different segments of the hotel operates so that one is able to handle any problems that they may face. In this business, being open-minded and a risk-taker is an advantage.

    I thoroughly enjoyed our tour to the hotel as this tour has definitely opened my eyes about the business so thanks again for arranging this tour for us, Dr. Kwok. I really appreciate it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I believe that the most important thing to take away from a tour like this and conversations with the managers is that those in management positions need to be multi-faceted people.

    In the instance of the hotel, Dr. Kwok pointed out that managers deal with every day being different, having new types of customers on a daily basis, extensive knowledge of food and beverage, and the ability to cope with changes and be flexible. I totally agree that a manager needs to have an extremely varied skill set that includes leadership abilities, interpersonal skills, strength of character, and basic hospitality skills such as food and beverage; in order to be successful.

    With hotel managers facing new challenges each day, I think the most transferrable and applicable skill to have and master are communication skills. By having a strong basis in communications, you can also improve other things such as interpersonal skills. Managers who are able to effectively communicate with their employees will have a better working relationship and can better convey what they want accomplished in the workplace. A good manager has the ability to keep their staff informed and ensures that every member of the team understands his/her role, what is expected as the outcome, and makes themselves available for employees to approach with concerns for effective communication.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I personally am impressed with the tour to Crowne Plaza because the managers that gave us the tour was very engaging and helpful. The information they provided us allowed me to learn more about the hotel industry.

    One thing that I am extremely impressed with is the Directior of HR. She is a young women and she already recieved such a high position within a hotel. From this, I've learned that if you put your work into it, you will eventually get the position your really want in a hotel. Within the hospitality industry, I believe that moving up a ladder isn't a long process, if you are a hard worker, you will eventually recieve that positon.

    In terms of managers facing challenges everyday, it is important for them to have leadership skills because as a manager, they must be able to solve any problems the customers have as well as problems employees are having. They also must be able to give what the customer wants. If the managers give the customers a good experience they will be returning customers.


    Anna Wu

    ReplyDelete

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