An outstanding internship
Alexandra Moreton, César Ritz student from Cape Town, South Africa was doing her first internship at the Grand Hotel du Lac, a five-star hotel in Vevey, Switzerland when the hotel was visited by a mystery guest on behalf of Swiss Deluxe Hotels. The outcome? Alexandra was nominated for an "Outstanding Employee Award"! Alexandra gives the following report on her experience.
I have just returned from my first internship as a Front Office trainee at the Grand Hotel du Lac, a five-star hotel in Vevey, Switzerland. I think a lot of people take for granted the work done at a reception desk. People think that because you sit behind a desk, in front of a computer all day, that your job is easier than someone working in service or in housekeeping. But in actual fact, the reception desk might be the hardest place to work in a hotel. At the reception desk, there is rarely any peace and quiet. There are always guests to attend to, the telephone never stops ringing, there are interruptions all day long and sometimes it can be very stressful working there. On top of this, we are always in the public eye so we have to act accordingly at all times and address every clients needs, even if we are in the middle of something important. At the reception desk we may not be physically moving around like the service staff do, but mentally we always have to be one step ahead, always thinking ahead, anticipating, predicting and planning.
At first it was very hard for me to adapt to my new job. It was the first time I had ever worked and, with the long hours, new procedures and systems to learn and all in a language that was relatively new to me, there were times when my internship was quite stressful and overwhelming. Even though my internship was sometimes difficult, I learnt so much in only six months and it has given me confidence in myself and my abilities. Not only has my French improved, I have learnt the ins and outs of hotel life, what goes on behind the scenes and how important team work and communication is.
The highlight of my internship was my encounter with the Leading Quality Assurance Mystery Guest, who came to stay at the hotel. For weeks the hotel staff had been trying to guess when the mystery guest would arrive and which guest he would be pretending to be. The hotel wanted a full-time receptionist to assist the mystery guest during his stay but in the end it was me who checked him in, checked him out, took his room service order and performed his wake up call. On the day he was leaving, he presented himself at the reception desk and informed us that he had been the mystery guest on behalf of Swiss Deluxe Hotels. For a few weeks after he left, everyone at the hotel was nervous about what his final report would say and I too felt nervous because, if the hotel got a bad report I felt like it would be my fault. However, when the report finally arrived, it was quite positive and I discovered that the mystery guest had nominated me for an "Outstanding Employee Award" and that was a moment when I felt really good about the work I had been doing.