Hey everyone! Final year has just started and I’m already feeling the pressure as the workload is slowly piling up 😢 Leaving the stress behind for a moment, I would like to share what I was doing during the summer break. I was busying interning at JW Marriott South Beach Singapore as a housekeeping trainee for 3 months and it was definitely an eye-opening experience!
Here’s what I did and learnt during my internship as I rotated through the different positions:
The room attendant is probably the first person that comes to mind when one thinks of the housekeeping department. And no doubt, without the room attendant, a hotel cannot function at all as rooms can not be cleaned and turned over for new guests. The role of a room attendant is extremely physical, tiring and one that I feel is very much under-appreciated. Having done a week’s worth of on-the-job training, I was then left to clean rooms on my own. The number of rooms assigned slowly increased as I began with 6 rooms and eventually, was able to manage up to 11 rooms on my own😵
The learning curve at the beginning was very steep as I difficulty remembering what amenities were needed in the room, what chemicals to use for cleaning different surfaces and I especially struggled with making the bed. Believe it or not, my first attempt at making a bed actually took close to an hour. In fact, by the time it took me to finish making the bed, my mentor had already completed cleaning 3 other rooms! This made me even more determined to perfect the art of bed making, and I even went home to watch youtube videos on how to do it more efficiently and quickly #dedication
Overall, learnt a lot doing the job of a room attendant, not only in cleaning rooms but also in understanding how this simple role is the heart and soul of the entire hotel operation!
The runner’s job is one that I thoroughly enjoyed as I got to interact more with guests (not to mention the amount of tips I got) and it was more dynamic as every moment was spent doing something different. The role mostly entails attending to guest and internal housekeeping requests, but I was also fortunate enough to be included in several ‘special projects’ where other interns and I were given complete autonomy in work execution to meet the objectives set out by our boss.
More often than not, the runner’s job scope involves moving and shifting heavy objects (imagine having to remove all furniture from a room for 10 rooms). However, it was through this that I got to see the magnitude and importance of teamwork as my colleagues actively extended a helping hand to lighten the workload. Also, I grew to admire and respect my second-in-command (Assistant Executive Housekeeper) as he also chipped in to help and sweat it out with the rest of us.
My biggest takeaway for this role was improving my communication skills, time management and workload organization as the number requests received was often overwhelming and I had to prioritize and decide which ones to complete first. Being a runner was probably my favourite position as I had a lot fun working closely with my colleagues despite the physical nature of work!
Project for Hotel Management
The Human Resource department made it a requirement for all degree-level trainees to complete a project for the hotel management during their internship and I was included for this despite only interning for 3 months. I was excited to engage in this opportunity as I got to do a report based within the hotel and propose a new initiative to improve hotel operations. Also, it meant that I was able to keep the momentum of report writing over the summer in preparation for my final year! The only scary part – having to do a presentation in front of the Managing Director😲
My idea for the hotel was to create postcards based on local attractions & cuisine as a form of itinerary suggestion for guests as part of the housekeeping department’s effort to offer increasingly personalized service. It was my first time ever designing ANYTHING and it was a fun and rewarding process. I was worried that my designs would appear to amateur-ish but my bosses were happy with it and really appreciated my effort! During the presentation, the Managing Director gave his nod of approval as well and now, despite having left the hotel, the housekeeping department has begun trials in implementing these postcards 😊
Having to balance between my actual work and completing this project was a challenge in itself but I am really thankful for this opportunity as I got to execute an industry-based project within the short span of 3 months!
All in all, I feel that doing an internship is a must for all students as it gives you a practical insight to your field of study. There is a huge difference between what you find in the books and what actually happens on the ground. Whether you decide to do a year-long placement or just a summer internship like myself, go for it. Learn new skills, gain new experiences and make new friends! Above it all, aim to make a good impression so that you can open doors for yourself after graduation.
Alright guys that’s all from me today! Sorry for not blogging during the summer, I will be looking to do so more often in my final year! For now, it’s back to research and assignments for me😬