Mia The Brookes Blogger - Placement Story International Hospitality Management

13:11 MIA JORJIKIA 10 Comments

Dear All,

Couple of posts ago I promised to tell you all about my placement year. Sorry for the delay, but you have to understand that Spring in Oxford is so beautiful that I have completely lost my mind and am head over heels in love with it (take a look at my previous video blogs if you haven't seen them yet).

So... let me tell you about my placement year. As you all now by now I am studying International Hospitality Management, the subject I am very passionate about :). After the incredible first year of my studies I had to find a place to work, as it is compulsory for our course to have one year of work experience right after the first year of the degree. For some it might sound too soon at first, but believe me it was one of the greatest things that has happened to me so far.

Why was it so incredible you ask?

Well ... in 6 words : It Changed The Way I Think

How you ask?

Well ... in 5 words : It Made Me More Responsible

How exactly you ask ?

Let me begin my story by telling you that before I left Brookes at one of our last lectures we were asked to write on the paper what our goals were for the year ahead. I knew I had to challenge myself so one of the goals I wrote was : 
⭐To Become An Associate Of The Month⭐
However, during my first day at the Marriott Park Lane Hotel I realised that my goal was too ambitious. How was I going to get this award if I was terrified of the phone conversations and my job title was At Your Service Agent (AYS)  (briefly: switchboard operator - main connecting link responsible for faultless communication within the five departments of the hotel, telephone problem solver of the internal and external guests)? 

Here's how it all started:
June 1st 2015 – First day
  • Realising that the only previous experience I have is in Food and Beverage.
  • Not knowing how any of the hotel systems work properly.
  • Having a slight fear of phone conversations.
  • Not knowing how exactly I am going to gain trust and respect from all of my colleagues who have so much experience.
  • Then I asked myself again?

Then I wrote my goals again: 
  • Become proficient in the job role  (switchboard operator).
  • Learn as much as possible about OPERA, MARSHA and Guestware.
  • Earn respect from as many of my colleagues as possible / build a good reputation.
  • Stay always positive and learn how to manage stressful situations without panic.
  • Exceed customer expectations.
  • Try to learn as much as possible about other hotel departments and cross-train.
  • Strive to become an associate of the month (yes, I did not give up on this goal).

The mistakes I have made along the way:

  • 1 Missed wake up call.
  •  Several missed room service orders.
  •  Different examples of miscommunication between guests and associates. 

All of these mistakes mentioned above made me question whether it was at all possible to finish that year on a successful note. 

But then I realised ... 

After I realised that, and have focused on absorbing all the knowledge and wisdom that the amazing Park Lane Team was sharing with me ...

I became much better at my job and have achieved:
June 1st 2016 – Last Day
  • I now have clear understanding of how hotel operations work.
  • I have  gained a lot of experience and have become more knowledgeable in such hotel systems as  OPERA, Guestware, Micros.
  • I have significantly improved my multitasking and organisational skills. I have overcome my fear of telephone conversations and became fluent and natural when talking to people over the phone.
  • I have used every opportunity to cross-train and joined Front Desk, Guest Relations and Housekeeping departments for training.
  • I have exceeded many customers expectations and as a result received emails, calls and Marriott verified guest reviews.
  • I have gained respect from the Marriott Park Lane Team members and as a result  became an associate of the month.
And Yes, this happened too (just right after when I thought it would never happen, couple of months after the first half of the year)

To sum it up, 

Why was it so incredible you ask?

Well ... in 6 words : It Changed The Way I Think

How you ask?

Well ... in 5 words : It Made Me More Responsible

P.S. Another important event that has inspired me to keep going that year was this:

As somebody who had never run before (let alone half marathon) I, together with my Front of House Manager from the Marriott Park Lane, ran that half marathon shown on the picture above. I could not believe it. It proved me that anything is possible in the beginning of the great year long journey called 'Placement Year at the Marriott Hotel Park Lane'.


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