Sunday, September 7, 2008

Hospitality at the Olympics, Part 2

This is the second of three articles written by Whitney, who worked in the hospitality sector at the Beijing Olympics. Click here to read her first report.
The photo is of one of the amenities at the Ritz Carlton: little tartlets with chocolate coins on top with the symbols for some of the Olympic sports

Whitney writes about her job:

A typical day for me started out around 7a.m. when I would walk around the hospitality suites at The Ritz-Carlton Financial Street and check to make sure that the food was hot, the staff prepared, and there weren’t any fires to put out from the night before. I would then meet with the Front Desk to go over arrivals for the following day to ensure that their system matched my company’s system, so each guest arriving had a room prepared and ready for them.

Around 10a.m., I would hop in a cab and go to the opposite side of town where I would start my day at The Shangri-La Kerry Centre, the other hotel that I was helping to manage. The taxi ride was one of my favorite parts of the day, as I had 30 minutes of quiet time in a cab to make phone calls, look at Banquet Event Orders for the following day, and check the prep for my meeting with the Front Desk at Kerry Centre. I also got to drive past Tiananmen Square and take a moment to realize what an incredible city I was in. When I arrived at Kerry Center, I had a meeting with the Front Desk Manager where I went over the daily arrivals for the next day. Usually, there were some discrepancies, which I would then spend the next hour following up on with individual program managers. Then I would meet up with my partner who handles the Food & Beverage at Kerry Centre and find out what other fires needed to be put out.

At 2:30 in the afternoon, I would take a cab back to Ritz-Carlton Financial Street, so I could be back in time for my daily bill review at 3 p.m. The bill review was where I signed all the bills for all the groups in the hotel and made sure that we were getting charged accurately. After that, I would walk around the hospitality suites and check in with all the program managers to find out how their guests were doing, deal with any issues they had with the hotel, and generally listen to their stresses and concerns.

In the evenings, I was usually free to go see some of the games, as long as I had my cell phone and a printout of the rooms for both hotels so I could answer questions about room moves or changes in arrivals and departures on the fly. When I returned home, I would get my reports from the hotels regarding the number of arrivals for the day and any issues from the guests and then send my daily report to the head office. I made it to bed around midnight or 1 a.m.

Occasionally, I would have the chance to sneak down to the beautiful pool at the Ritz and go for a swim or duck into the yoga studio for a bit of stress relief. That was my chance to take a breath and count my lucky stars for the opportunity to get to be a part of this amazing experience.

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