Service to Success – One Guest at a Time
Lee Lin who completed his studies at Hotel Institute Montreux (HIM) was one of two candidates selected for an exclusive Front Office Management Training program at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina.
He recently finished his 12-month traineeship and we caught up with him to find out more about his experience.
“To me hospitality is about treating people the way you would like to be treated and the reason why guests return to a particular hotel is because of the service they receive there.”
When Taiwanese alumnus Lee Lin completed his high school, he was torn between enrolling into a hospitality school in the US to focus on casino management and returning to the birthplace of hospitality in Switzerland. Eventually his curiosity to learn more about the European culture and the opportunity to pick up a fourth language, saw him choosing to pursue his higher education at Hotel Institute Montreux (HIM) and he has not looked back since.
He credits his achievements thus far to the lessons he learnt at his first job at the Grand Hyatt Macau, part of the famous City of Dreams integrated property that includes a mega-casino, over 200 retail facilities and more than 20 F&B destinations.
Why did you choose to work in Macau?
I was intrigued by the bright lights and casino gaming industry in Las Vegas, when I was studying in high school in the US. There was something about the vibrant hospitality scene in Las Vegas that appealed to me. As we all know Macau is often referred to as the ‘Las Vegas of Asia’ and thus, I jumped at the opportunity to work at the Front Office of the Grand Hyatt Macau.
More than just a casino hotel, the hotel is also among the top hotels for MICE in Macau and a popular choice for business travellers. So I felt it was a good opportunity to gain experience working in a hotel that targeted both business and leisure travellers.
Was it what you expected?
Yes definitely! I did a lot of research and had some friends working there. So I was prepared for it to be an intense and demanding job. Majority of our hotel guests were high net worth affluent individuals and thus we had to be discreet and always maintain their privacy. Some guests stayed at the hotel due to its proximity to the casino and there were days they came back upset if they lost money. So we had to be very careful about how we engage with them. There was little room to make mistakes. In fact my first month at work was spent purely shadowing my senior colleague, observing how he worked and learning the ropes of the job, before I was allowed to handle any guest enquiry.
How did you cope with the pressure of the job?
I genuinely enjoy interacting with guests, which is why I decided to study hospitality in Switzerland. In addition, I think the training I received in HIM, particularly in relation to guest engagement definitely helped me.
After several months at Front Desk, I requested for a transfer to the Grand Club Lounge, catered exclusively for selected groups of VIPs. My manager was initially surprised by my request as it was a very challenging role with even more pressure than working at Front Desk. Having observed my performance for several months, he had the confidence in me and thus allowed me to transfer.
“It was the most memorable experience for me as I got to know every guest I interacted with on a personal level, they knew my name and was comfortable approaching me with their requests.”
From the glitz and glamour in Macau, you moved to the balmy tropics of California. How was the move for you?
I was thrilled about the prospects of returning to the US! The hotel had over 1,000 guest rooms and was a popular choice for families and business travellers as it was located on the marina, opposite the San Diego International Airport and within close proximity to attractions such as the San Diego Zoo, Legoland California and Sea World San Diego. So you can imagine the amount of traffic coming to the hotel on a daily basis.
I think my experience at Grand Hyatt Macau truly prepared me for this role as I had to be very organised and methodical when facilitating check-ins and check-outs. I felt very comfortable engaging and interacting with guests as the culture in California was more laid-back and casual and it was such a pleasure meeting different people from different walks of life!
So what’s next for you?
I am now back in Taiwan and am going to serve my one-year mandatory military service. Following that, I hope to get a position in a luxury boutique hotel, in a Front Office role.
We wish Lee Lin all the best in his future endeavours!