With the new year comes new possibilities, particularly for four newbies in the Business of Happiness. Meet Bryce Chung, a Management Trainee with a passion for service, who looks forward to a new learning journey in 2019 on his way to being an industry leader.
#BizofHappiness #Workforahotel #PassionMadePossible #100AmbassadorsOfHappiness
How long have you been in the industry so far? I’ve been working in the hotel industry for two and a half months. But I also did an internship with two hotels that lasted two months each when I was studying hospitality in school.
What roles did you take up during your internship?
I was interning at the banquet department at one hotel. I helped out with the hotel’s banquet service for weddings and events for about a month. I was then offered a planning role to help the hotel plan and execute their events.
At the second hotel, I was placed in the front office department and was responsible for various roles – from being a bellboy to helping with guest check-ins, as well as being a concierge to the guests. My internship experience taught me a lot, and I had many opportunities to interact with guests.
What made you decide to study hospitality? I pursued hospitality out of interest. I was looking through the courses offered by various Polytechnics, and hospitality stood out to me. It sounded fun and exciting to me, so I decided to give it a shot and enrolled at Nanyang Polytechnic. The modules gave me a good introduction and insight to what hospitality was all about. The fact that I was able to choose my specialisation in Year 2 — hotels, resorts and events — meant I would then be able to fully immerse myself in the area of hospitality that I enjoyed most. This flexibility and diversity in specialisations further strengthened my desire to study and work in this industry.
You signed up for the Open Hotels Weekend tours while looking for a full-time hotel position. Can you share more about that experience?
When I chanced upon the Open Hotels Weekend event in 2018, I thought it was a really good opportunity for me to have an in-depth look at what the different hotels had to offer. From the tours, I was able to get a look at the hotels’ facilities, how the management and employees conduct themselves, and even try hands-on activities that gave me a taste of some hotel duties. It was really interactive, and the people I met made me feel that they really loved their jobs, and they were passionate about what they do.
I was really passionate about a career in the hospitality industry, but I wasn’t sure which role or career path suited me best. Thankfully, the tours included on-the-spot interviews, which allowed me to learn more about each hotel’s career opportunities. I could also speak to the HR managers and find out more about the various roles.
How did you adapt to the new environment once you started working in a hotel?
As I was accepted into the Management Trainee Programme, I came in with the mentality to learn and adapt to different surroundings and responsibilities. This was helpful as the Programme came with a one-year attachment to the Sales and Marketing department, which offers the opportunity to learn more about the various functions within the hotel, and how they fit into the entire business operations.
To make the most of my experience in the Programme, I made sure I kept an open mind, and not to stick to just one role, or do the same thing every day. So I took the initiative to ask around for new things to do, and to observe the various roles and job scopes that others were taking on. All because I want to learn as much as possible, in the shortest amount of time.
Can you share more about your current role and what you do on a daily basis?
As a Management Trainee in the Sales and Marketing department, I will be rotated to other sub-departments such as Room Sales, Catering Sales, Reservations and Banquet to learn about their different roles and responsibilities, as well as how they are linked to the entire Sales and Marketing process.
Currently, I’m in Telemarketing in the Sales department. My role is to call up a list of past or potential clients, and try to form a connection with them. It’s a good step for me, as it builds my confidence when it comes to interacting with people and trains me for the day when I have to meet important clients in person.
When I speak with these clients, I always try to build and maintain relationships with them by letting them know more about our hotel, and see if we could explore working together in the future.
Have you faced any challenges so far? If so, how did you overcome those challenges?
The hotel industry is quite fast-paced, and sometimes I am given new tasks to handle even when I’m not too familiar with the task yet. So I’ve had to learn a lot on my own, but thankfully my seniors have been willing to provide advice to help me have a clearer understanding of what to do, and how to do it.
I’ve also had my fair share of dealing with unhappy guests or supervisors. I remember one time during my internship, I made a money-related error. While my duty manager was quite upset with me, I took it as a lesson and made sure to learn what the correct procedure was, so that I wouldn’t make the same mistake again. That experience taught me that whenever I am faced with an unfamiliar task, I should not be afraid to clarify with someone who has more experience before I do it – so I can do it right the first time.
What do you love most about working in a hotel? Being able to interact with guests. It gives me utmost joy to see them smile and to leave the hotel happy. Being able to listen to them and playing a part in making their stay more comfortable and memorable is what I enjoy the most – from my days as an intern till today.
What are some memorable lessons that you’ve learnt from your mentors or supervisors?
The most memorable lesson was actually from my Polytechnic lecturers. They made me realise that to succeed in this industry, you really need to have the passion and drive to serve others. My lecturers’ enthusiasm and words of encouragement really inspired me.
As for the people I work with, I’ve learnt to not be afraid to try and to learn new things. For a fresh hire, it can be intimidating to take on new roles or tasks. But the people here are really patient and they take the time to teach new staff members how to do things. I feel like I’m in a safe and supportive environment, where I can learn more about my job and how I can do things better.
What motivates you to do your best every day? There are so many new experiences and possibilities that are open to you when you work in a hotel. That’s why I want to learn as much as I can, and to find new ways to contribute to the hotel. I want to make full use of this opportunity so that I can enjoy a fulfilling career in the future. As one of my lecturers used to tell us: “Put in the effort, and the results will come.”
Do you have any career goals or resolutions for 2019? I hope that I’ll find a position that’s suitable for me after my Management Trainee Programme ends. Ultimately, though, I want to continue to learn more, and to keep growing – so that one day I can become a good leader.
What advice would you give to other young Singaporeans who want to work in a hotel?
If they’re interested in the hotel industry, they should definitely check out recruitment events like Open Hotels Weekend. That way, they’ll be able to speak to people from the industry and get first-hand knowledge, because there’s more to working in a hotel than what you can see from the outside.
Once you’re in the industry, just remember that motivation comes from within. Let your passion for service drive you, and don’t be afraid to speak up and ask questions because that’s the only way to learn and improve.