How long have you been in the hotel industry? I’ve been here for almost 46 years.
What inspired you to join the industry? I just wanted to give it a try. Working in a hotel seemed like it would be quite interesting. My first impression of the people who worked in the hotel was that they were very friendly and knowledgeable. Since day one, they’ve been very helpful and easy to get along with. I’m happy to be working with such a great group of people, and that’s why I have stayed here for this long.
Tell us about your career journey.
I started as a Page Boy. After some years, I became a Bellman. I was then promoted to Bell Captain, and now I’m the Senior Bell Captain.
There has been a lot of changes since I joined. Back then, every piece of luggage was entered manually in the record book. Everything was in paper form, even checking in. But now, we have a Property Management System (PMS) that helps us save time and resources. Technology has really helped me to perform my duties everyday. To this day, I’m still learning. It takes time and I am glad that we get training sessions to keep our skills updated and relevant.
Tell us about your day-to-day duties.
I work at the Bell Desk. I first make sure that the staff on duty hand over any remaining tasks such as storing luggage or taxi bookings. Then, I check to see if there are any VIPs coming in. I brief my Bellboy team to be on standby for that, and wait outside the doors when the guest is about to arrive.
When I’m training new staff, the first thing I do is make sure that they know the hotel’s layout: The floors, the common areas, the room numbers and location. Next, I brief them about shuttle bus timings, and teach them how to properly stow guest luggage, and help the guests check in at the Front Desk.
Nowadays, hotels use technology to assist the staff and guests. How did you adapt to the changes?
I’m always open to learning new things, and the hotel has been very supportive about that. It takes a while to get used to, but having these new systems has been a great help. We were all trained to use the PMS and Hotel Service Optimisation System (HotSOS). I use them every day now.
I encourage Seniors who work in hotels to learn and upgrade their skills. I think it’s good to be open-minded about learning. Our age shouldn’t stop us from trying new things.
You just earned your Security Officer’s Police Licensing & Regulatory Department Certificate. How do these new skills allow you to expand your job scope? In my current role, I carry luggage every day, but given my age, in three to four years’ time, I won’t be able to do that anymore. With this new skill and certification, I can easily switch over to Security roles. At the moment, I’m still undergoing more training. Once completed, I’ll be able to take on more Security-related duties. I’m not afraid to try other things.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
This job is interesting. I get to meet all kinds of people. If you work in the hotel line, you will meet different characters. Every day is never the same, there’s always something different. This kind of experience made me more knowledgeable.
The guests are very friendly. When they appreciate the service I give, it makes me happy. It makes me feel like I achieved something. Money can’t buy kind words, so when they thank me for my help, it makes me very happy.
Another thing that I appreciate is the opportunity to learn, to pick up new skills and technology. I’m never stuck doing just one thing. The management gives me opportunities to expand my skills, such as on-the-job training (OJT) in different departments.
Do you have any memorable stories about helping guests? In the 80s, I remember there was a couple who went shopping in Chinatown. They decided to get a custom suit and dress made and paid about £2,000 then. A few days later, they asked me if the clothes had arrived. Out of curiosity, I asked how much they had paid for it. When they told me the cost, I said, “I think you were cheated.” So, they asked me for my help, and I happily agreed. At the end of the day, they got their money back and they were very happy with the help I provided. I was very pleased I managed to help them.
Do you have any advice for someone who wants to join this industry? Give it a try. The hotel industry is always a rewarding one. That’s why I’ve stayed here for 46 years!.