About the Author: Harsh Vyas is pursuing B.Sc in Hospitality and Hotel Administration from CSK Himachal Pradesh Krishi Vishwavidyalaya, Palampur. He talks about his first experience of hotel management.
While pursuing a professional degree, it becomes vital to get a meaningful internship where you can get a view of the corporate world and develop your skills. So, I wanted to intern at a top notch hotel to understand the industry from a closer view. As luck would have it, I was shortlisted by the college placement cell for an interview at Pullman Gurgaon Central Park (the present Le Meridien) along with eight other students on the basis of our academic achievements.
I reached the hotel with my batchmates. The HR office had a bubble of unease when I entered it. After a formal handshake with the HR, a chain of questions and answers began. He asked me for an introduction, and I talked about my education and family background. I also mentioned my hobbies of reading novels and writing poems following which he asked me about the novel I had read recently. Then, he asked about my field of interest. On hearing that I wanted to work at the front office, he asked me to define it. I told him that front office was the face of the hotel. The reputation of any hotel depends on how its front office handles the queries and grievances of the guests. I was asked to name two hotel software, and I mentioned Opera and Amadeus. The last question was why I thought I was a fit for the industry in response to which I told him that I am good at conversing with people and being a fast learner, I would learn the work culture quickly and prove to be an asset. The results were announced and four of us were selected.
At the beginning of my sixth semester, I joined the hotel with a confused and excited mind. I was given my roasters and a blueprint of the training. Since the internship was four and a half months long, I was to work in housekeeping, food production, and food & beverage departments for one month each and in front office department for the remaining period.
It was the season of marriages and ninety percent of the rooms were occupied. The task was clear – maintaining 285 rooms as fast as possible. Each group was assigned 30 rooms, and we were to change the bed linen, vacuum the whole room, dust the furniture, clean bathrooms, maintain the cupboard, put the toiletries, and a lot more. Then we had to vacuum the lobby and the lifts. The hectic work schedule taught me to handle pressure.
It took me some time to settle with the sudden change in my working pattern. While I worked hectically in the housekeeping department, this was a delicate job, and I was weak at it. Being placed in the south Indian kitchen scared me a little but the chefs were really helpful. With the course of time, things started to gel. I learnt cutting and chopping along with cooking many south Indian dishes like idli, sambhar, chutney, and filter coffee. I realised that food production was all about transforming a simple dish to an extraordinary dish.
Food and Beverage
Under this department, I was sent to the banquet. The marriage season was already over, so I didn’t have to work too many night shifts. While serving at different events, I deployed my conversational skills and got acquainted with many people. I learnt various ways of serving food to guests and handling trolleys in front of guests.
Finally, the department of my interest! Sadly, my first impression on my mentor wasn’t good since I had shown up in dishevelled hair and was sent back. I apologised and came in a perfect appearance the next day. While working at the front office, I learnt about C-Form which is a form filled by the staff in case a foreigner stays at the hotel and the various segments of the front office which included reservations, accounting, night auditing, and reception. The employees in this department had an unusual charisma which led to a complete personality transformation in me. In the end, I got a star as a token of appreciation from my mentor which seemed like a little victory to me.
“If you start living your life like a drill, it will become much easier to live.” This quote from the movie ‘The Ghazi attack’ is the mantra of my life.
Do you also want to dive into different aspects of a job? Check out these hotel management internships.
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