Hospitality Entrepreneurship and Me
Entrepreneurship has been the trend in the United Kingdom and other countries such as Japan, Canada, and the United States of America. Economists and businessmen had foreseen that free enterprise or entrepreneurship will bring about modernization, thus advancing economic growth, generating jobs and escalating production. Such a progress in entrepreneurship affects not just the growth of trade and industry but it is also expected to influence the manner of policy making in different sectors of the society such as the political sector, industrial sector, and educational sector and even affecting other state of affairs.
The hospitality sector is one of the most exciting and expanding business to date. More and more people are realizing the benefits of having good vacations, thus expanding the hospitality industry all throughout the world. MY “ENTREPRENEUR-SHIP” ADVENTURES June 1994. My interest into water sports activities led me to my first involvement into entrepreneurial work. As a water sport assistant of Nassau Beach Resort in Bahamas for four months, it made me realize that being involved in this kind of employment entails a lot of discipline.
Combining my interest with people and my enthusiasm for water sports, I was able to make my job easier for me and at the same time ensuring the high quality of service and safety for our clients despite the physical demands needed to successfully execute my work. After a year, I was assigned as a room service waiter in the same beach resort. It was a totally new experience for me considering that I have never been into any food services. I learned how to deal with people in a more personal way since I delivered foods into their rooms. I had the opportunity to ask them if they needed something else other than what they wanted for their meals.
I felt like it is not just my duty to bring them their food on time but to make their stay more memorable by making sure that I am more than willing to extend my assistance to them. As a waiter, I saw how important it is to be courteous, polite, and cheerful. Forte Village Resort. From the Bahamas, I went to Sardinina, Italy in June 1996 for an adventure and at the same time to expose myself further and develop my entrepreneur-mind and skills. I found myself in one of the world’s leading resort- Forte Village Resort. It was in this resort where I learned most of my training for hospitality entrepreneurship.
Like a soldier, I started from the low ranks. I started as a bartender for this resort and with hard work, dedication and focus I was given the chance to be the Assistant Front Office Manager for Hotel Le Dune. As a neophyte in bartending, I was able to use the skills that I learned in the Bahamas as a waiter but this time I did not serve food instead I served beverages like liquor, wine and other Bacchus-inspired drinks. Bartending is not just about serving beverages but it is more of like performing in a solo concert where I get to showcase my talents in mixing sparkling cocktails for my clients.
I see to it that each time I make them cocktails I do it with passion and high precision that my customers are very much satisfied with the taste. During days where there were plenty of customers, I enjoyed the pressure demanded by my work. It was here that I learned how to handle pressure very well especially when I get to do the work by myself. Honesty is also much needed in this kind of work since I get to collect payments and operate the cash register. On June 1997 to September 1997, I was given a bigger responsibility. I worked as a receptionist for Hotel Forte Village.
When they gave me the job I was very happy because I saw myself slowly getting up the rank at the same time improving my interpersonal skills which is much essential in hospitality entrepreneurship. During the orientation for my new position, it was stressed out to me how important my role was in maintaining a well-organized operation of the hotel and our responsibilities towards our customers. I saw myself as the front-man of the hotel. As a receptionist, it was expected from me to know more about how our organization works and what comprises our organizational plan.
I was also expected to be very familiar with the names and functions of the executive board members and officials in our organization. Knowing the timetable of our managers and fellow employees was also included in my responsibilities. Other than that I was to make available location of other agencies and their general function, and ways of reaching them should our customers inquire about them. Lastly, I must have a general overview and scope of the services our hotel has to offer. As one of the receptionist of Hotel Forest Village, welcoming our clients in person was one of the major parts of our responsibilities.
I made it a point to welcome our guests with my accommodating smiles, courteously talking to them and listening to them attentively. Since it was part of my duty to locate the proper person or other resource for the consumer, I took the initiative to have my own list of addresses and telephone numbers of government offices and other important offices within our location. I also had my own list of tourist destinations that our guests can visit. For some guests, I was their events coordinator although confirming and making appointments for them was one of our responsibilities.
This made me keener to details ensuring that the many guest requests received were dealt with utmost professional manner. I also realized how important it is to know how to speak several languages other than English just to deliver maximum customers’ satisfaction for guests who can’t speak English. As a receptionist, I made use of my natural sense of humor which is among the interpersonal skills that I consider an asset when dealing with guests who traveled for hours and were exhausted. Making them smile and laugh was very much fulfilling for me because I made them happy in my own simple way of being funny.
Like me, other people see social intelligence as more important than just memorizing facts, because being humorous without exerting much effort comes from real intelligence. In addition, self-confidence is also an important characteristic that I value and hence try to emulate, because it is a foundation of optimistic views in business, and life in general. Being with people and talking with people developed my leadership skills. Like any other leaders, I learned how to analyze people. Being observant to each customers’ or fellow workers’ attitude from the way they talked or responded made me not just a better leader but a better person.
Being a good entrepreneur does not only mean being good at computing numbers, but also being comfortable with handling a varying range of people and situations, considering trends, solve case analyses in a practical scenario, taking advantage of situation while being ethical, and maintaining integrity as a person. The characteristics of a strong leader are highly desirable, because an entrepreneur leads people to effectively execute processes. Having served the Hotel Forte Village as a receptionist, I was given another greater challenge and that is to assume the post and take the responsibilities of a Shift Leader in the same hotel.
Being persistent and determined, I took the challenge and kept my focus where I developed strategies to change the vision into reality. As a former receptionist, I knew very well how it is to be one. Since I had my first hand receptionist experience, I used this experience to efficiently run the daily operation of the reception and the switchboard thus maximizing customers’ satisfaction which in turn generated revenues. With an enthusiastic vision together with creativity, I assisted in the development of the hotel.
On top of that, I, having been keen to details and knowing the organization very well, was able to deliver administration duties such as banking, floats, billing, and correspondence in accordance to the hotel’s standards. Sharing my optimistic decision-making to my fellow receptionists and by taking initial responsibility and implementing strategies caused our team to reach our goal and made our vision a reality. It is then important for an entrepreneur like me to take prudent risk and take into consideration the costs, market/customer needs, and persuade others to join and help.
Honed into business managerial positions, I was designated as the Assistant Front Office Manager for Hotel Le Dune. Using my skills that I have acquired from my first involvement into entrepreneur job, I was more confident this time to take the position and execute my new responsibilities. My past experiences like being a water sport assistant, room service waiter, and bartender helped me so much in fulfilling my work as an Assistant Front Office Manager. My involvement in different hotel works and being very much familiar with the organization gave me a very broad yet detailed overview of what my new job was all about.
I was then more adept in dealing with people and maintaining the unity of the organizations that I was in charge of. Other responsibilities included running the Front Office, training new staff and ensuring that the staff attained the standards the hotel strives for. It also included operations such as recruiting for new staff, developing skills in our workforce and organizing the department working schedule. Part of being an Assistant Front Office Manager is being a training officer for new staff members.
It is very much important to share my experiences to our new staff for them to be inspired and strive harder in able for them to progress in their career like me. It gave me joy and a sense of fulfilment knowing that my new staffs were inspired by my experiences and that they are willing to learn and become better and successful persons too. My last and toughest position with Forte Village Resort catapulted me to higher, more challenging and demanding positions. To date my present position as the Front of House Manager of Baglioni Hotel London, a 5 star deluxe boutique hotel in London made me a more motivated individual.
With over 8 years experience in the Front of House department, my confidence and friendly nature gave me an edge to build good relationships liaising at all levels. My administrative and management support skills I learned and gained from my previous works proved to be effective in accomplishing and attaining the objectives of the Front of House sector. Being articulate, diplomatic individual, with a good sense of humor, possessing excellent interpersonal and organization abilities paved my way to where I am now. Inspirations
Remembering my humble beginning into this Entrepreneur-ship adventure makes me smile and say to myself “To lead is to serve”. I draw inspirations from a wide variety of things, such as seeing the positive outcome in myself and the operations that I handled. I do not complain about the duties given to me because I am confident that I can surpass what is being expected from me. Receiving pleasant feedbacks from customers about service or product, and gaining profit not only in terms of money but also in terms of recognition and respect kept me inspired and made me more focused in giving high quality customers’ service.
In an organization, it is important to share a common goal so that the people actively cooperate to achieve this objective. Hence, many factors contribute to my desire to achieve things the company can be proud of. Taking calculated risks, handling uncertainties, meeting new people and encountering new experiences break the routine out of the job specifications. Meeting new types of people often propagates more flexibility, understanding and respect. I was also inspired by a true to life movie entitled “Hotel Rwanda” where hospitality entrepreneurship was very much depicted.
Real-life hero Paul Rusesabagina (played by actor Don Cheadle), a hotel manager in Rwanda, used his courage and cunning to protect over the hotel’s guests but also a thousand refugees from certain death by using his managerial skills and capabilities. Strengths obtained through education I have studied at various universities and my academic background is strongly management-related. While experience-based is the most effective type of learning, formal background is still important because theory supports practice and minimizes error and optimizes the actual learning curve.
Moreover, since I have studied in different places, I have experienced different cultures that enable me to learn how to respect ideas that may be different from my own and develop new ideas that I never thought I could think of. Studying in different places also exposed me to different situations that I can utilize when faced by the same problem. Aside from that, adopting the local culture of a particular place proved to be a successful idea when it comes to food services business. The latest craze in Japan for example is the promotion of Filipino dishes and delicacies in a restaurant.
The idea was to promote Philippine tourist destinations by letting the Japanese people taste the local dishes in the Philippines. Strengths obtained through work Over eight years of management-related experience has exposed me to various aspects and levels of managing a large business. As an organizer, I value coordination, organization and supervision in the field. In functions like conferences, I see to it that my catering department is well organized and prepared and that my waiters are well trained and very courteous.
I also get to supervise the Front desk and check that each guest is very well attended and that their needs are properly addressed. With all those years serving as Assistant Front of House Manager, Duty Manager, and Membership Manager, I can say that I have accomplished and delivered well. Through these experiences I was able to set up procedures for Front Office and Reservation, trained staff in Front Office and Reservation as well as assisted Baglioni in establishing itself as one of the leading five star destination hotels in London.
I am also now well verse in cash handling, credit check, invoicing and billing, sales ledgers and duty management. As a Duty Manager for the Swissotel Howard from November 2001 to November 2002, my achievements were the following: acting cashier for the entire hotel, dealing with incentive and training for the department and improved lines of communication between the Front Office and all other department. I also served as the Membership Manager for the London Capital Club (private member’s Club) from December 2000 until November 2001.
My responsibilities in this organization were selling membership to all potential clients, telesales to find potential customers, reporting to the General Manager on a weekly basis with an action plan of all potential members, visiting clients, and presenting to them the Club and how it can benefit them. During my service with this organization, I was able to increase membership sales of 15 per month at over and the above set targets. I was then promoted from Membership Co-ordinator to Membership manager after one month employment. Having integrated and supported other departments in day to day operations was also an achievement for me.
My managerial experiences have made me willing to control and supervise a venture until it can operate independently. I have practiced the skill of managing operations while keeping an eye on each detail. Since I already had an experience as an assistant manager, I acquired the necessary competencies to manage the front office. From my previous experiences, I have successfully established effective standard procedures for Front Office and Reservation. Considering my experiences and accomplishments, I am strongly confident that I can help improve a company as a whole by analyzing its components carefully.
My work experiences were all related to directly dealing with different types of people. I have handled complaints and addressed them independently, without resorting to passing the problem to someone else. I always see to it that I take full responsibility to whatever problems that arise in my department. I also am willing to extend my expertise in trouble-shooting problems in other departments of the organization. I have experienced training people and I have developed the knowledge and confidence to handle, teach and motivate people. I further developed communication skills through training people.
As a trainer, it was a must for me to be adept in the subject matter I was lecturing. Explaining instruction in a logical and clear manner is a skill and using my own experiences made me more an effective trainer. Considering the different levels of work that I encountered, I can say that I am by now ready to work handle more exciting and challenging position where I get to apply my problem- solution skills and demonstrate that I can now work under minimum supervision and even under pressure while delivering excellent service to the customers, my staff and to the whole organization.Therefore, I can say that I am ready to venture into hospitality entrepreneurship.
Ball, S. May 2005. The Importance of Entrepreneurship to Hospitality, Leisure, Sport and Tourism. Retrieved August 6, 2006, from http://www. hlst. heacademy. ac. uk/projects/ entrepreneurship/ball. pdf.