Business of Happiness

Business of Happiness

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TEO ZHI XIN

ASSISTANT COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

SHANGRI-LA'S RASA SENTOSA RESORT AND SPA, SINGAPORE

How long have you been in the hotel industry? Almost four and a half years.

What inspired you to join the hotel industry? I didn’t have any hospitality experience prior to joining the hotel industry, but I thought that it would be an interesting place to start a career. It’s a unique environment, and I wanted to be part of a team that could make a guest’s experience better and more memorable. To me, it’s a fulfilling job that also allows me to pursue my interest in communications.

Can you tell us more about your role what you do on a daily basis? No two days are the same. As an Assistant Communications Manager, my team and I handle four main aspects – firstly, Public Relations, where we handle media queries and take media on tours or host them for food tastings. We are responsible for marketing as well, designing and conceptualising collateral, and exploring marketing channels to promote the resort. We also oversee the branding of the resort, and maintain its presence on social media.

What do you love most about what you do? It’s very dynamic, and there’s something to learn every single day. Even if you have to do the same task, there’s always a way to do it differently. The media landscape is always evolving, and the needs of our guests change with time as well. I think it’s quite exciting to be able to learn and grow together with the times.

I’ve also been given plenty of opportunities to try out new things, including emceeing, photography and design work. These opportunities help to expand my skillset and make me a more well-rounded communicator.

Since you didn’t have any prior experience in hospitality, did you have any mentor to guide you when you first started? Yes, my manager has been with me since day one. She showed me the ropes and taught me everything I needed to know. From all the experiences we’ve had and projects we’ve worked on, I feel like we’ve grown together for the past four and a half years. I can’t really list all the things I’ve learnt from her, but I think that it all boils down to who she is as a person and as a mentor. I am given free reign and creative space to do whatever I think is right. At the same time, she is always there to provide guidance whenever I need it.

You play a part in designing marketing collateral and handling photoshoots as well, despite having no formal training. How did you prepare for that responsibility? I’ve always had an interest in photography and design, and I learnt how to use the necessary tools and software by reading online articles and watching tutorial videos. As for the creative process, my team and I discuss and agree on the concept of a project before I experiment and try out different ways to create the best piece of work. Over time, these processes helped to hone my thought process as a communicator.

How do you find inspiration to come up with creative ways of communication? Being able to interact with the guests personally really helps. They come from different places, and have different lifestyles, needs, habits and tastes. When I interact with the guests, I understand them better and I use those insights to craft messages for our platforms that would resonate with them. I also try to connect with guests on different platforms, like Instagram for example. Our guests are actually quite active there! They will share about their stay, or simply engage with us by posting interesting comments. So apart from being a light-hearted platform to keep in touch with our guests, it’s actually also a way for us to gather insights and feedback!

But social media is constantly evolving, so I have to stay on top of things and try to keep up with new features or new trends in social media, and try to improve our communications. Ultimately, my aim is to bring a smile to their faces with a positive message and hopefully get them to stay with us so that we have a chance to give them a memorable experience.

Is there a particular project that you think is quite memorable? It will have to be the social media campaign that my teammates and I conceptualised and executed for SG50. We came up with 31 different room, dining and spa promotions and visuals for the month of August as a way of surprising and giving back to our followers and supporters.

It was a memorable experience because my team grew a lot closer during that time, since we had to work very closely to meet the time constraints. On top of that, the campaign was a success and we received a lot of positive feedback about it.

What advice would you give to someone that is looking to join the industry? My dad once told me, “Choose what you love, and then love what you chose.” So if you have an interest in the hospitality industry, you should go for it. Approach every day with positive energy. If your heart is in the right place, you’ll enjoy what you do and you’ll find learning opportunities in everything that you do. And through the many experiences you’ll have, you’ll eventually find your own stories of happiness to tell.