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Darren Sze

"You only live once – but if you work it right, once is enough." – Joe E. Lewis

Submission #3: Critical Reflection

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CPD II have been an enjoyable and fruitful journey for me. For the past 13 weeks, I had been taught various concepts that range from 7Cs in writing to Thomas-Kilmann conflict mode instrument. These concepts had allowed me to better understand the importance of interpersonal communication.

I felt the key takeaway from the module is the opportunity to work with my classmates on an interpersonal communication issue faced in the hospitality industry. My team and I have selected the issue on ‘creating a positive nonverbal first impression’ in the front office context. Through research, it shows that it only takes seven seconds to form a first impression. Once such impression is formed, it will be difficult to change.

Through this project, it has broadened my perspective on the importance of providing a positive first impression. As a previous front office agent from E Hotel, I was glad to provide examples that were applicable and relevant to the project. During the synopsis presentation, Brad has also provided me with valuable feedback to improve on my presentation skill.

Overall, this module was essential in improving my communication, verbal and non-verbal aspects. I believe such skills will aid me in my future career, especially within the hospitality industry. I am thankful to my module facilitator, Brad and also my teammates Eline and Shu Fang for making this module more enjoyable than it seems. Hasta La Vista!

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Project Synopsis Final Draft

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CPD PROJECT SYNOPSIS

1.INTRODUCTION

This report will address an interpersonal communication problem with the scope of study focused on the hospitality industry, specifically, hotels. The team has decided to explore the topic of creating a positive nonverbal first impression in the front office context while performing a check-in procedure.

2.WORKPLACE CONTEXT

The tourism industry has been identified as one of the fastest growing sectors that contributes a sizeable portion to Singapore’s economy. In 2016 alone, Singapore received more than 16 million visitors (Singapore Tourism Board, 2017). Sentosa, the main attraction hub in Singapore, comprises many five-star hotels such as Hotel Michael, Treetop Loft, Festive Hotel and Hard Rock Hotels. Besides the aesthetics and products being offered in these hotels, service is the key focal point, where true hospitality begins from the heart by creating a positive first impression.

Hence, this project will focus on interpersonal communication problem existing in E Hotel Resort World Sentosa, a five-star hotel situated on the southern tip of Singapore within Sentosa. E Hotel is the latest addition to the Resort World Sentosa collection of hotels and recently opened its doors to public in 2012 (corporate citation from EH/ corporate website, 2017). Besides offering the perfect getaway for both nature lovers and families, it is also located in close proximity to some of Asia’s best attractions such as the Universal Studios Singapore and S.E.A Aquarium.

3.THEMATIC FOCUS

The project focuses on the way a front office agent in a hotel creates a positive and lasting first impression. It emphasizes on the nonverbal aspects of communication such as appearances which is known to influence social interaction which leads to further repercussions (Wolffhechel et al., 2014).

4.PROBLEM IDENTIFICATION

In general, individuals are evaluated by those who are forming a first impression. These first impressions have been characterized as difficult to overturn, making those first encounters extremely vital (Mann, 2016). This is of importance, especially in the hotel industry, as first impressions help to set the tone for all the relationships that follow.

The focal issue is on how a front office associate should portray a positive first impression. As E Hotel strives to be the leading hotel in service excellence, the hotel must take the first step in providing adequate training for the employees on how to create a good positive impression.

Portraying positive first impression is of high importance especially in the hotel industry. This is because front office agents are the brand advocates of the hotel and are the first point of contact between the hotel and guests. Hence, when guest visit the hotel, they will develop an impression of the hotel within the first few seconds based on their interaction with the front office agent.

In that slice of time, they will judge the associate in various ways which may affect the way they perceive a hotel and that impression formed is difficult to change. This puts the hotel’s brand reputation at risk and might result in negative comments on the hotel’s social media such as on Facebook, Instagram, and Trip Advisor.

Should customers check a property’s social media before deciding on staying with them, the negative comments posted might affect the way they perceive the hotel and even affect their decision to stay. This factor along with customer satisfaction will be affected which will eventually lead to a decrease in revenue. Future customers will hence, form a bias even before visiting the hotel and this will lead to a devastating effect in the long run.

5.OBJECTIVE OF STUDY

The objective of the study is to educate the future front office agents on the importance of creating a positive first impression during the check-in procedure. It aims to educate the agents on the proper code of conduct on how they should carry themselves in workplace setting. This emphasises on nonverbal aspects which includes both grooming standards, body posture.

6.POTENTIAL SOLUTIONS

According to Hognas (2015), one of the most important things that guests pay attention to upon check-in, is whether the employee in the reception notices and greets them. More than often, a bad impression is formed if the front desk agent did not pay attention to them. Therefore, it is vital for hotels to come up with training programs to educate the employees on the importance of the first impression.

An individual’s words often suggest a message but his or her body language could send a conflicting signal. Understanding body language is a talent that can help increase one’s successes in life. Individuals will be able to recognize the way the other party feels and think through the examination of their body language. Thus, it is vital for front office agents to learn how to interpret body language of their guests as well as know how to display positive body language. Front office agents should learn how to present themselves properly through body movements, provide guests with full eye contact, good facial expressions and gestures as it allows one to read into a person’s genuine intentions.

It is suggested that training program could be in place to educate front office agents on the Dos and Don’ts of front office employee in a five-star hotel setting. This includes the way the employee present themselves in terms of their grooming standards and body language. The human resource manager would be in charge of educating the front office agents on how to display a positive first impression through the nonverbal communication such as greeting guests, providing a firm handshake, good eye contact and body posture. Besides, grooming standards would be a good topic to educate the employees as well, which includes having a neatly pressed uniform, lipstick, name tag attached on correct side of uniform and hair neatly tied up.

Training programme would be scheduled for new hires to attend during orientation week with the hotel. This will better allow them to understand the standards of the hotel and what is to be expected. From time to time, senior employees would also have to attend the training session to reinforce their knowledge and to ensure that they stay relevant and updated.

7.BENEFITS OF THE WORKPLACE

Results showed that implicit revision emerged after the delay, even among those with poor explicit recall or who were not cued to recall (Mann, 2016). By emphasising the importance of providing a positive first impression for guests, it results in various benefits for the workplace, such as raising the confidence in employees and increases customer satisfaction which ultimately leads to increased overall profits.

The first benefit would be employees feeling good about themselves. Mr Deong mentioned that when employees are certain of their role and job scope, they appear to be more confident and they generally feel better about themselves. As a front office agent, confidence is key in this aspect. This boosts employee morale and makes the hotel a better and more conducive working environment.

Secondly, there would be an increase in customer satisfaction. According to Hognas (2015), when the customer enjoys the service and the result of the service, it in return provides the company with income, which is essential for the existence of the business. Hence, when front office agent creates a positive first impression for guests, they would be impressed with the level of service, and this increases their chances of returning back to the hotel to stay in the future.

Besides that, positive word-of-mouth would also be spread such as through reviews on TripAdvisor website or to their friends. This helps to create awareness for the hotel and with increased bookings, it ultimately increases the revenue stream for the hotel.

8.RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

The methodology selected to find out how to create a first positive impression during the check-in process at a five-star hotel includes primary and secondary data collection. For primary data collection, a short interview session was conducted with the reception manager of E Hotel, Mr. David Deong.

This interview was conducted to find out the views on the importance of creating first impression during check-in, as well as some strategies to ensure perfect grooming and body language. Two face to face interviews were also conducted with front office agents of E Hotel to gather more information and gain further insights on the training programme the management provides them with on creating a positive first impression.

For secondary data collection, academic journals and online sources were being tapped on to gather information based on previous research to substantiate our points. In addition, data was also taken from the E hotel’s employee handbook on the certain grooming standards that an employee has to adhere to.

9.CONCLUSION

The hotel industry has been developing and transforming in the past decades. Coupled with the fact that there has been so much more increased competition in this industry, hotels no longer compete in the room aspects and facilities their properties is able to provide, but rather find a niche to work on such as focusing on the customer service aspect (Lahap et al., 2016). Customer service in the hotel industry is of significance as there is only one chance to create a positive first impression and brand image is especially important in any hotels. Hence, this project is meaningful and serves as an important focus that managers and leaders of hotel industry have to take special note of.

Overall, this project would allow us to further understand the importance of nonverbal communication especially in the context of the hotel setting. The focus on grooming and body language is vital especially for a front office agent because they represent the hotel and is the first point of contact that guests would have when they first arrive in the hotel. In essence, with training in place, it would allow front office agents to pick up the importance of grooming and body language, and to create a positive and lasting first impression for guests.

10.REFERENCES

Hognas. (2015). The importance of the first impression in hotel customer service. Business Economics and Tourism. Retrieved from https://www.theseus.fi/bitstream/handle/10024/96496/Sandra_Hognas.pdf?sequence=1

Lahap, J., Ramli, N. S., Said, N. M., Radzi, S. M., & Zain, R. A. (2016). A study of brand image towards customer’s satisfaction in the Malaysian hotel industry. Procedia – Social And Behavioral Sciences, 224(IRSSM-6 The 6th International Research Symposium in Service Management), 149-157. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2016.05.430

Mann, T. C., & Ferguson, M. J. (2017). Reversing implicit first impressions through reinterpretation after a two-day delay. Journal Of Experimental Social Psychology, 68122-127. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2016.06.004

Singapore Tourism Board. (2016). International visitor arrivals statistics, (December), 4–9.

Wolffhechel, K., Fagertun, J., Jacobsen, U. P., Majewski, W., Hemmingsen, A. S., Larsen, C. L., & … Jarmer, H. (2014). Interpretation of appearance: The effect of facial features on first impressions and personality. Plos ONE, (9), doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0107721

Project Synopsis Draft #2

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1.INTRODUCTION

This report will address an interpersonal communication problem with the scope of study focused on the hospitality industry, specifically, hotels. The team has decided to explore the topic of creating a positive nonverbal first impression in the front office context while performing a check-in procedure.

2.WORKPLACE CONTEXT

Tourism being one of the main pillars of Singapore’s economy has resulted in an influx of new hotels within the past years. Sentosa, the main attraction hub in Singapore, comprises many five-star hotels such as Hotel Michael, Treetop Loft, Festive Hotel and Hard Rock Hotels. Besides the aesthetics and products being offered in these hotels, service is the key focal point, where true hospitality begins from the heart by creating a positive first impression. However, over the years, it has been observed that hospitality from the heart has become a rare sight.

Hence, this project will focus on interpersonal communication problem existing in E Hotel Resort World Sentosa, a five-star hotel situated on the southern tip of Singapore within Sentosa. E Hotel is the latest addition to the Resort World Sentosa collection of hotels and recently opened its doors to public in 2012. Besides offering the perfect getaway for both nature lovers and families, it is also located in close proximity to some of Asia’s best attractions such as the Universal Studios Singapore and S.E.A Aquarium.

3.THEMATIC FOCUS

The project focuses on the way a front office agent in a hotel creates a positive and lasting first impression. It emphasizes on the nonverbal aspects of communication such as appearances which is known to influence social interaction which leads to further repercussions (Wolffhechel et al., 2014).

4.PROBLEM IDENTIFICATION

In general, individuals are evaluated by those who are forming a first impression. These first impressions have been characterized as difficult to overturn, making those first encounters extremely vital (Mann, 2016). This is of importance, especially in the hotel industry, as first impressions help to set the tone for all the relationships that follows.

The focal issue is on how a front office associate should portray a positive first impression. As E Hotel strives to be the leading hotel in service excellence, the hotel must take the first step in providing adequate training for the employees on how to create a good positive impression.

Portraying positive first impression is of high importance especially in the hotel industry. This is because front office agents are the brand advocates of the hotel and are the first point of contact between the hotel and guests. Hence, when guest visit the hotel, they will develop an impression of the hotel within the first few seconds based on their interaction with the front office agent.

In that slice of time, they will judge the associate in various ways which may affect the way they perceive a hotel and that impression formed is difficult to change. This puts the hotel’s brand reputation at risk and might result in negative comments on the hotel’s social media such as on Facebook, Instagram and Trip Advisor.

Should customers check a property’s social media before deciding on staying with them, the negative comments posted might affect the way they perceive the hotel and even affect their decision to stay. This factor along with customer satisfaction will be affected which will eventually lead to a decrease in revenue. Future customers will hence, form a bias even before visiting the hotel and this will lead to a devastating effect in the long run.

5.OBJECTIVE OF STUDY

The objective of the study is to educate the future front office agents on the importance of creating a positive first impression during the check-in procedure. It aims to educate the agents on the proper code of conduct on how they should carry themselves in workplace setting. This emphasises on nonverbal aspects which include both grooming standards, body posture.

6.POTENTIAL SOLUTIONS

According to Hognas (2015), one of the most important things that guests pay attention to upon check-in, is whether the employee in the reception notices and greets them. More than often, a bad impression is formed if the front desk agent did not pay attention to them. Therefore, it is vital for hotels to come up with training programmes to educate the employees on the importance of first impression.

It is suggested that a training video on how to create a positive first impression can be created. There are immense advantages of utilising a video to conduct training for employees. Firstly, videos are highly visual and appear to be more engaging. Through watching videos, employees will be able to retain memory from the visuals. Secondly, videos can be produced once and reused over the years to train different batches of employees.

In this training video, we plan to include the Dos and Don’ts of front office employees in a five star hotel setting. This includes the way the employee present themselves in terms of their grooming standards and body language.

It is proposed that the training video is shown to new hires during their orientation week at the hotel. This better allow them to understand the standards of the hotel and what is to be expected. From time to time, the video can also be shown to senior employees to reinforce their knowledge and also to ensure that they stay relevant and updated.

7.BENEFITS OF THE WORKPLACE

Results showed that implicit revision emerged after the delay, even among those with poor explicit recall or who were not cued to recall (Mann, 2016). By emphasising the importance of providing a positive first impression for guests, it results in various benefits for the workplace, such as raising the confidence in employees and increases customer satisfaction which ultimately leads to increased overall profits.

The first benefit would be employees feeling good about themselves. Mr Deong mentioned that when employees are certain of their role and job scope, they appear to be more confident and they generally feel better about themselves. As a front office agent, confidence is key in this aspect. This boosts employee morale and makes the hotel a better and more conducive working environment.

Secondly, there would be an increase in customer satisfaction. According to Hognas (2015), when the customer enjoys the service and the result of the service, it in return provides the company with income, which is essential for the existence of the business. Hence, when front office agent creates a positive first impression for guests, they would be impressed with the level of service, and this increases their chances of returning back to the hotel to stay in the future.

Besides that, positive word-of-mouth would also be spread such as through reviews on TripAdvisor website or to their friends. This helps to create awareness for the hotel and with increased bookings, it ultimately increases the revenue stream for the hotel.

8. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

The methodology selected to find out how to create a first positive impression during the check-in process at a five-star hotel includes primary and secondary data collection. For primary data collection, a short interview session was conducted with the reception manager of E Hotel, Mr. David Deong.

This interview was conducted to find out the views on the importance of creating first impression during check-in, as well as some strategies to ensure perfect grooming and body language. Two face to face interviews were also conducted with front office agents of E Hotel to gather more information and gain further insights on the training programme the management provides them with on creating a positive first impression.

For secondary data collection, academic journals and online sources were being tapped on to gather information based on previous research to substantiate our points. In addition, data was also taken from the E hotel’s employee handbook on the certain grooming standards that an employee has to adhere to.

9.CONCLUSION

The hotel industry has been developing and transforming so much in the past decades. Coupled with the fact that there has been so much more increased competition in this industry, hotels no longer compete in the room aspects and facilities their properties is able to provide, but rather find a niche to work on such as focusing on the customer service aspect (Lahap et al., 2016). Customer service in the hotel industry is of significance as there is only one chance to create a positive first impression and brand image is especially important in any hotels. Hence, this project is meaningful and serves as an important focus that managers and leaders of hotel industry have to take special note of.

Overall, this project would allow us to further understand the importance of nonverbal communication especially in the context of the hotel setting. The focus on grooming and body language is vital especially for a front office agent because they represent the hotel and is the first point of contact that guests would have when they first arrive in the hotel. In essence, with training in place, it would allow front office agents to pick up the importance of grooming and body language, and to create a positive and lasting first impression for guests.

10.REFERENCES

Hognas. (2015). The importance of the first impression in hotel customer service. Business Economics and Tourism. Retrieved from https://www.theseus.fi/bitstream/handle/10024/96496/Sandra_Hognas.pdf?sequence=1

Lahap, J., Ramli, N. S., Said, N. M., Radzi, S. M., & Zain, R. A. (2016). A study of brand image towards customer’s satisfaction in the Malaysian hotel industry. Procedia – Social And Behavioral Sciences, 224(IRSSM-6 The 6th International Research Symposium in Service Management), 149-157. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2016.05.430

Mann, T. C., & Ferguson, M. J. (2017). Reversing implicit first impressions through reinterpretation after a two-day delay. Journal Of Experimental Social Psychology, 68122-127. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2016.06.004

Wolffhechel, K., Fagertun, J., Jacobsen, U. P., Majewski, W., Hemmingsen, A. S., Larsen, C. L., & … Jarmer, H. (2014). Interpretation of appearance: The effect of facial features on first impressions and personality. Plos ONE, (9), doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0107721

Project Synopsis Draft #1

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  1. Specific Workplace Context: E Hotel Resort World Sentosa

As tourism is the main pillar of Singapore’s economy, this resulted in an influx of new hotels within the past few years. With Sentosa being the main attractions hub in Singapore, many five star hotels such as Hotel Michael, Treetop Loft, Festive Hotel, Hard Rock Hotels are built in the area for easy access and convenience to the travellers. Besides the aesthetics and products being offered, service is the key focal point of most five star hotel, where true hospitality begins from the heart with a positive first impression. However, over the years, it has been observed that hospitality from the heart has become a rare sight.

Hence, this project will unravel an interpersonal communication problem existing in E Hotel Resort World Sentosa, a five-star hotel situated in the Southern tip of Singapore, within the dense tropical forest of Sentosa. E Hotel is the latest addition to the Resort World Sentosa collection of hotels and it recently opened its doors to the public in 2012. Besides offering the perfect getaway for both nature lovers and families, it is also within close proximity to some of Asia’s best attractions like Universal Studios Singapore and S.E.A Aquarium. In our video, we will be focusing on the front office check-in procedure in E Hotel.

  1. Thematic Focus

The main theme identified in this video is the importance of positive first impression for front office agent in the hotel. The focus is on the non-verbal aspect of communication such as body posture and grooming standards which can bring about various repercussions. The various repercussions will be demonstrated in the video.

The setting of this video will be in a classroom, to emulate a hotel front office setting. It is mainly separated into two segments, the first segment includes the negative examples that a front office agent should avoid and the second with the appropriate demonstrations. The intent of the group is to create a comprehensive video, covering on the mentioned two aspects of nonverbal communication whilst providing a suitable solution to tackle the underlying issue.

  1. Interpersonal Communication problem

Through every new encounter, one is constantly evaluated while forming the impression. These first impression formed are usually fixed, making those first encounters extremely important. This is more vital in the hotel industry as first impression help to set the tone for all the relationships as follows.

The focal issue is on front office associate portraying a positive first impression. As E Hotel strives to be the leading hotel in service excellence, the hotel must take the first step in providing adequate training for the staffs.

  1. Nature of Project’s professional importance

Providing positive first impression is often mistaken to be a personal issue, which the hotel believe do not have an influence on. In real life scenario, portraying positive first impression is highly important in the hotel industry. As front office agents are the brand advocates of the hotel, they act as the first point of contact between the hotel and guests. Hence, when guest visits the hotel, they will develop an impression of the hotel within the first few seconds of interacting with the agent.

In that slice of time, they will judge the associate in various ways which may affect the way they perceive your hotel and that is really difficult to change. With the brand reputation of the hotel being affected, this will risk spreading on social media such as FaceBook and TripAdvisor. Customer satisfaction will be affected which will result in a decrease in revenue. Future customer will directly form a bias even before visiting the hotel and this will lead to a devastating effect on the long run.

  1.  Objective and scope of your study

The objective of the study is to help ensure proper grooming standards in the hotel and to emphasise the importance of first impression for front office agent.

The video will first focus on GM of SED Hotel addressing the issue of the importance of creating a positive first impression in the check-in setting, covering the nonverbal aspects focusing on body language and grooming standards.

Following which, the next scene would be the front office agent with bad grooming standards and bad posture and provided the customer with a negative impression. The scope of the grooming standards being covered includes no name tag, coloured hair, no lipstick, untidy uniform. As for the scope of body posture, it covers the lack of eye contact, no smile, leaning forward, fidgeting, chewing gum and using of phone.

This resulted in the customer being upset and expressed her thoughts on SED Hotel. The GM then emphasised the importance of proper grooming standards and the front office agent then recreates a scene that provided the customer with positive first impression. The video is then rounded up with the GM and front office associate emphasising on the importance of creating a positive first impression.

  1.  Research Methodology

The research method selected to find out how to create a first positive impression during the check-in process at a four-star hotel includes primary and secondary data collection. For secondary data collection, academic journals and online sources were being tapped on to gather information based on previous research. Besides, data was also taken from the employee handbook of the hotel. For primary data collection, a short interview session was conducted with the reception manager of E Hotel, Mr. David Deong, where views on the first impression during check-in was shared, as well as some strategies to ensure perfect grooming and body language.

  1. Potential solutions

According to Hognas (2015), one of the most important things that guests pay attention to upon check-in, is whether the employee in the reception notices and greets them. More than often, a bad impression is formed if the front desk agent did not pay attention to them. Hence, it is vital for hotels to come up with the training programme to educate the employees on the importance of first impression.

It is suggested that a training video on how to create a positive first impression can be created. There are immense advantages of utilising a video to conduct training for employees. Firstly, videos are highly visual and appear to be more engaging. Through watching videos, employees will be able to retain memory from the visuals. Secondly, videos can be produced once and reused over the years to train different batches of employees.

In this training video, we plan to include the Dos and Don’ts of front office employees in a five star hotel setting. This includes the way the employee present themselves in terms of their grooming standards and body language.

It is proposed that the training video be shown to new hires during their orientation week with the hotel. This better allow them to understand the standards of the hotel and what is to be expected. From time to time, the video can also be shown to senior employees to reinforce their knowledge and also to ensure that they stay relevant and updated.

  1. Benefits to the workplace

By emphasising on the importance of providing a positive first impression for guests, it results in various benefits to the workplace, such as increased confidence in employees, increases in customer satisfaction resulting in increased overall profits.

The first benefit would be employees feeling good about themselves. Mr Deong mentioned that when employees know what they are doing and look more confident, they generally feel better about themselves. As a front office agent, confidence is key in this aspect. This boosts employee morale and makes the hotel a better working environment.

Secondly, there would be an increase in customer satisfaction. According to Hognas (2015), when the customer enjoys the service and the result of the service, it in return provides the company with income, which is essential for the existence of the business. Hence, when front office agent creates a positive first impression for guests, they would be impressed with the level of service, and this increases their chances of returning back to the hotel to stay in the future.

Besides that, positive word-of-mouth would also be spread such as through reviews on TripAdvisor website or to their friends. This helps to create awareness for the hotel and with increased bookings, it ultimately increases the revenue stream for the hotel.

  1. Concluding thoughts

The hotel industry has been developing and transforming so much in the past decades. Coupled with the fact that there has been so much more increased competition in this industry, hotels no longer compete in the room aspects and facilities their properties is able to provide, but rather find a niche to work on such as focusing on the customer service aspect. Customer service in the hotel industry is of significance as there is only one chance to create a positive first impression and brand image is especially important in any hotels. Hence, this project is meaningful and serves as an important focus that managers and leaders of hotel industry has to take special note of.

Overall, this project would allow us to further understand the importance of nonverbal communication especially in the context of the hotel setting. The focus on grooming and body language is vital especially for a front office agent because they represent the hotel and is the first point of contact that guests would have when they first arrives in the hotel. In essence, with trainings in place, it would allow front office agents to pick up the importance of grooming and body language, and to create a positive and lasting first impression for guests.

References

Hognas. (2015). The Importance of the First Impression in Hotel Customer Service. Business Economics and Tourism. Retrieved from https://www.theseus.fi/bitstream/handle/10024/96496/Sandra_Hognas.pdf?sequence=1

Making a Great First Impression: Getting off to a Good Start. (n.d.). Retrieved March 10, 2017, Retrieved from https://www.mindtools.com/CommSkll/FirstImpressions.htm

Letter of Service Recovery

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Dear Mr. Bennert,

Thank you for choosing to stay with us. On behalf of Wheewhoo hotel, we apologized for any inconvenience caused. We are sorry to learn that your experience with our hotel was less adequate to your expectation.

We understand your frustration and appreciate your honest opinion on the services that was provided by the front office team. Instead of referring you to Agoda, the front office associates should have directly contacted Agoda to reconfirm your reservation package to avoid the unnecessary hassle. The associates would also like to extend their sincere apologies on this matter. With regards to the incident you encountered at our rooftop pool, we apologize for the malfunction room key. We have also looked into the facilities and will be implementing a new key booth system at the rooftop pool in March for the convenience of our guests. As such, this would better facilitate the process, creating a memorable experience for all guests at our extravagant rooftop pool.

As part of our service recovery, we would like to offer you a complimentary room upgrade with breakfast and free access to our rooftop pool on your next visit to our hotel. In addition, we also like to offer free dining package for your children in one of the restaurants in our hotel. Should you have any queries, please do not hesitate to reach us via phone or email. We will be glad to assist you.

Thank you once again for your valuable feedback, Mr Bennert. We hope to have the opportunity to welcome you and your family back again in near future.

Yours Sincerely,

Dar Ora (Mr)

Quality & Continuous Improvement Manager

(263 words)

Submission #2: Reflection

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In this submission, I would like to share about an interpersonal communication problem that I experienced during my internship in front office department.

As a guest service agent, my job duties include picking up phone calls and responding to guests’ request. On this fateful day, the phone rang just when I had ended my shift and was about to leave the office. Seeing no one else in the office, I decided to pick up the call. Little did I expect, it was a guest who called in to complain about his room not having his intended view. He was planning an anniversary surprise and was hoping to have a harbor view from his room. As the hotel was running full occupancy on that day, it was difficult to have any possible switch on the same category of rooms.

During the call, I tried to explain the situation of high occupancy to the guest and told him that I will try my very best to assist him.The guest began to raise his voice on the phone about him being a loyalty member and hang up the call. To cut the whole story short, I was back on morning shift next day. While manning the check-out counter, I met the same guest and he expressed his disappointment on his stay here. He mentioned about having a phone conversation with some rude staff and little did he know, the rude staff was actually me. I admitted that it was my mistake and kept apologizing to him.

When reflecting back on this incident, I understand how crucial communication is. This is especially more applicable in the case of the hotel industry, where it is essential for guests to be satisfied with their stay. However, there are bound to be some unhappy guests despite us, as service personnel trying our best. Even up till today, I felt that it was partially my fault for not following up the phone call before leaving.

Should I have spoken up at that point of time? What could I have done things differently to avoid such situation?

Based on the advice given by Amirul, Russell and Hui Ting, I felt that I could have handled the situation much better. Firstly, like how Russell and Hui Ting had commented, I should have forward the request to the duty manager. They might have a better idea on handling the situation at that point of time. This will also give the guest an assurance that the staffs are doing something with regards to his requests.

Secondly, applying the theories learned from Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument, I should have used the collaborating mode. It is mentioned collaborative mode is appropriate to use when improving relationships which in this case is to ensure that the guest is satisfied with their stay.  It will be better for me to identify his concerns and practice active listening, instead of constant apologizing which may deem unhelpful by the guest.

Thank you for reading my submission!

(Revised on 03 Mar 2017)

Personal Branding

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For the ultimate review: How do each of these areas connect to your personal branding?

Personal branding, in my opinion, can be anything – your name, reputation, how you communicate with your peers, and all of these help to separate yourself from others. In the hospitality industry, it is an industry of people working with people and that is what makes personal branding important.

Firstly, there is the need to practice self-awareness by being conscious of their character and feelings. I believe this sets the foundation of personal branding, as when I am able to understand myself better. I will be able to craft out a personal brand that places emphasis on my strength. This will then better assist me in marketing myself towards my future employers.

Next, understanding and showing empathy are essential when it comes to communicating. By putting myself in the shoes of others, I will be able to understand their feelings, perspective of performing that action and refrain myself from giving unnecessary comments. I will also like to set the impression that I am approachable and sincere in my communication.

Lastly, verbal and non-verbal also tends to affects on how other people perceive us to be. For example, I tend to have more hand gesture during the presentation as I felt it will calm my nerve and sort out my thoughts. I will also tend to maintain eye-contact with the audience and project my voice in a clear and audible manner and this may result in creating a personal branding of being confident, even when deep down I am nervous during the presentation.

In conclusion, I believe that personal branding can be worked upon via a better understanding of oneself, showing empathy when necessary and also through the effective form of communication in terms of non-verbal cues.  All the different areas when combined together will help to define my personal branding in the eyes of others.

Submission #1: Self-introduction

a7y9oy1lprk-drew-collinsTo: Brad Blackstone
From: Darren Sze
Date: 16 Jan 2017
Subject: Self-introduction

Dear Brad,

My name is Darren Sze. In writing this email, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself in terms of my educational and professional background, as well as to share more on my communication strength and weakness.

Prior to my admission to SIT, I was previously from the Hospitality and Tourism Management diploma course in Temasek Polytechnic. I always had keen interest in traveling and trying out different cuisine from around the world. I believe being a ‘foodie’ eventually sparked my interest in pursuing an education in this challenging yet dynamic field of study.

My previous internships have given me the opportunity to work across departments in areas such as butler, front office and housekeeping. Through the different internships, I have experienced the daily operations of each department and gained a better understanding of the hotel industry. With my most recent internship as a guest service agent in Equarius Hotel, Resort World Sentosa, there is always the need to create and engage in small talk with the guest while performing the check-in process.

Through this, starting a conversation with guests has become something I am familiar with during work. However, I often do face difficulty speaking to guests who arrive in a big group. There were also times where I got nervous with constant pauses like ‘erms’ and ‘yeah’ when speaking to people with authority. Meanwhile, my next weakness in communication would be expressing my thoughts and emotions into words. I find it much harder in writing as compared to speaking directly.

I hope that this brief introduction gives you a better understanding of my thoughts on communication. I look forward to improving my communication skills from your upcoming lessons.

Thank you and have a great day ahead.

With regards,
Darren Sze

(Revised on 10 Feb 2017)

Post read and commented: Yong Hui Ting, Ng Shu Fang, Russell Seet

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