How long have you been in the hotel industry? About three years.
What inspired you to join the hotel industry?
I wanted to work in a flexible and dynamic environment with the freedom to explore different roles and experiences. In this industry, there are so many positions and departments that you can try out and learn from. I first started as a Management Trainee at the Grand Park Orchard, as part of a 1.5-year training programme where I rotated across three operational departments – Food and Beverage, Housekeeping and Front Office.
After that, I was allowed to select an area to specialise in and I decided on Front Office where I continued to learn more about the industry as an Assistant Guest Services Manager. After about a year, I made the switch to Quality & Risk Management (QRM) because I wanted to try something new within the industry.
Can you tell us more about your current role? In QRM, we visit various properties and assess their processes. We usually spend a month auditing each property, during which we will meet and speak with the General Managers, the heads of the various departments and the hotel staff. From our discussions and observations, we’ll recommend ways to improve their operations. We’ll also share some of the best practices that we have observed from other properties, so they can learn and benefit from them.
How is QRM different from what you’ve done before?
My role in Front Office was more operational and hands-on. I spent a lot of time facing and speaking with guests and staff members. But in QRM, I work more in the background.
That said, QRM has its own challenges. For example, I have to get the managers and hotel staff to be comfortable with me so that they will speak openly when I’m interviewing them about the hotel. I also have to familiarise myself with the financial aspect of the business which I’m not exposed to as much when I was in Front Office, so it’s something that I’ve had to pick up along the way.
What have you learnt from your time in the hotel industry across the different roles you’ve had?
I think the biggest lesson would be how to interact with others and how to solve problems. These are the basic skills that everyone gets to learn, and you can apply them to any role in the industry.
Another memorable lesson for me personally was when I assumed the Assistant Guest Services Manager position. I was the least experienced in the team, and had to learn very quickly in order to keep up with my seniors. My supervisor was also very strict with me. That experience taught me to push myself beyond my comfort zone in order to grow quickly, and that good leaders give you the nudge you need in order to do that.
What do you think is the best part of your job? The best part of what I do is being able to learn new things whenever I visit different properties. I get to meet and speak with new people and am exposed to the different ways and processes of the various hotels. And being able to travel the world as part of my job – that’s definitely a plus.
How many countries have you visited for work so far? I’m relatively new to QRM, so I’ve only been to the Maldives to visit one of the 11 Park Hotel Group overseas properties. But in the future, I’d like to be able to visit more of our properties in the other countries.
How is working in an overseas property different from working in Singapore? In terms of job scope, it’s mostly the same. But I’ve had to get used to how different hotels run their operations differently, and having to live in the hotel throughout the audit process. Working overseas exposes me to different workplace dynamics, languages, people and culture. Everything can be different, but the experience equips me with skillsets to make me a better individual and professional.
Do you think that your job is a stepping stone for you to work overseas in the future? It could be. I get to network with the management and hotel teams overseas, and I’m also able to observe how different properties operate and run. That gives me the experience and connections that could come in handy should I choose to work overseas in the future.
What advice would you give to someone who is considering joining the industry? Come in with an open mind. Be prepared for a lot of change, because it’s a very dynamic environment with people of diverse backgrounds and processes that are constantly improving. It will be a challenge, but it will be very exciting.