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Internship Essay Part I. Background of the Organization This past summer I decided to do my internship at the Holiday Inn Select in downtown Lafayette. The facility was built 4 years ago and was built right in the center of downtown. In the past year a hospitality group named Hostmark bought out the hotel. However, Hostmark decided not to change the Holiday Inn Select name. Therefore, even though it is under the brand name of the Holiday Inn it is ran according to all of the Hostmark policies. The Holiday Inn Select is a full service hotel which includes many structures. Among these structures are a fine dining restaurant, a martini lounge, a pool, gift shop, banquet facilities, meeting spaces, physical fitness facility, and of a course a laundry room. Hostmark as a company highly values employees and their commitment to the company. The mission statement of the hotel is as follows…”Hostmark hospitality group is a management and development company committed to excellence of service in the hospitality industry, while maximizing profitability through concern for its associates, customers, and investors.” A few of Hostmark’s core values include commitment, open and interactive atmosphere, sense of family/belonging to a team, concern for individual growth and development, and integrity. Therefore, Hostmark highly values their employees well being and they want them to succeed as well as have an all around open ambiance for the employees to be around. Another key character of the management philosophy that Hostmark carries out is that they want all employees to be able to make their own decisions. Since it is a full service hotel the general manager cannot be everywhere at once to make decisions for every department. Therefore, the employees should be trained to handle just about any situation that may arise including problems with guests or other personnel. Next I want to talk about what sort of business clientele the hotel usually markets toward. Since the hotel was built downtown near Purdue University the hotel tries to bring in a lot of business from the University. When school is in session during the fall and winter months parents of students and fans of the university sports are mainly targeted. Since the hotel was built they have been booked at 100% occupancy for every home Purdue football game. Also, the hotel markets towards families and Purdue University parents toward move in times for Purdue students. For example the hotel is informed about the activity that the university runs for boiler gold rush week. They realize that the parents will need a place to stay while they are moving their children in so they advertise the hotel heavily at that time of year to bring in that clientele. Moving on to the summer months, during the hotels off peak season, they bring in business clients as well as banquet event guest much more. During the summer months most of the students at the university leave and go home leaving the hotel for less business. However, in the summertime many people find it a great time to get married and since the Holiday Inn Select downtown has one of the best banquet facilities around this is good news for them. Every Saturday starting in the month of May the hotel is booked up for weddings which in turn gets the guests to stay in the hotel and generate room revenue. Moving on to the competition in the area, the Holiday Inn’s largest two competitors are the Hilton Garden Inn and The Union hotel. The University Inn in West Lafayette is not considered competition because Hostmark owns them as well so the two hotels try to work together as often as possible. The Hilton Garden in is located right on campus at the bottom of Chauncey hill and it also has a prestigious name backing it. The best thing about that hotel is the fact that it is located right on campus and anyone would be able to find it. Also, it is great location for people to stay during football or basketball games because it is such a close walk and there are also many different restaurant choices right around it. The Union hotel is also a huge competition to the Holiday Inn Select. Since it is located right in the middle of campus it draws many guests in but it also has a wonderful banquet facility which provides the Holiday Inn with a lot of competition. The Union ballrooms can hold up to 500 guests where as the maximum at the Holiday in is only about 300 people. Therefore, people who want to have larger weddings end up having to go to the Union. Nationally, the highest competitors with the Holiday Inn are Hilton, Marriot, and Hyatt. These hotels all have prestigious names and guests like to stay in hotels that they know will be comfortable. Many guests have a good or bad experience in a brand hotel which can make or break their trust for that certain chain. Therefore, if a guest has always stayed in a Marriot and they love it then they may never get the Holiday Inn facilities a chance. Part II. Management, Training, and Employee Information The very first day that I started at the Holiday Inn Select there was a small employee orientation. The Human Resources manager at the hotel went over the employee handbook with all of the interns and we had to sign a lot of papers saying that we consented and would follow the different policies. We also had to go over all of our tax information and sign a bunch of paper work and fill out things about our pay rate and our address so if they needed to mail our checks they could do so. After we filled out all of the paper work and went over the handbook another woman then gave us a tour of the entire hotel and then we got a chance to eat lunch with all of the supervisors. From the time I was hired until the time I started things seemed very unorganized. I did not receive very much information from anyone when I called about when we were supposed to meet for the first time, how I was supposed to dress, ect… I was hired by a man named Cory so when I would call to ask about information I would always ask for him and he didn’t tell me until about two weeks before I started that I was supposed to be asking all of the hiring information to Shannin, the Human Resources manager. There was a lot of miscommunication between Cory and Shannin I could tell because sometimes they would call me twice in the same day to tell me the same bit of information and everything seemed very disorganized. Another thing that I didn’t find out until the day that I showed up for orientation was what departments I would be in throughout my internship. I was hired at the beginning of the summer and they had time to plan out the internship but they couldn’t even tell me what I was going to be doing the week before my internship had started. Throughout my internship I did many different departments all which required different training. The first department I was in was banquets. Brian Snyder, the catering manager had all of the interns follow him for a couple of days before we started serving in the actual banquets. He wanted us to get a feel for what it was all about and what he expected out of us. He also wanted us to be able to see his job and let us consider if it was something that we may eventually want to do. Once we got to work in the actual banquet by serving in a wedding we were trained by actually doing it. In our first serve, we were told throughout the serve what to do and we did not have trainers it was just whatever the banquet captain told us to do we would do and eventually we began to pick up on it. At the time that I did my rotation through the banquet facilities at Holiday Inn they were extremely short staffed and needed people. Therefore, the training was lacking and I did not get trained as properly as I would have liked too. The next department that I was moved to was housekeeping. While I was in the housekeeping session I came in the first morning and Tiffany Palacio, the head of housekeeping showed me around all of the housekeeping facilities including the laundry room. After giving me a tour she then left me with a woman named Margarita who spoke little to no English at all to give me instructions on the proper way to fold sheets and towels. Since I could not understand Margarita I quickly learned by watching how to fold these items properly. Another department that I visited was the front desk. In order to learn the front desk you must learn about the computer system and how to run it. The first day that I was in the front desk rotation I had to watch many different videos showing me step by step how to use the computer system. The next day I went up to the front desk and was trained by a supervisor named Emma. She showed me more on how to use the computer and let me try to check in guests and check them out as well as do other things that they must do on a regular basis at the front desk. By the end of the week I had learned enough to be able to navigate through a lot of the minor things you must be able to do to work at the front desk. All in all, I thought that the training during my internship lacked a lot of substance. At some points in the internship I felt that my trainers expected me to already know what I was doing coming into the job but that was not the case. Part III. Specific Job Information Throughout my internship I did three different departments. These departments included: Banquets, housekeeping, and front desk. The first department I would like to discuss is banquets. The banquet facilities at the Holiday Inn Select include a personal catering service to events such as weddings and anniversaries to meeting spaces for people needed to discuss business events. Since I was interning I always had about 40 hours a week in the banquets department, however, most of the regular banquet employees only received about 15-20 hours depending on the events that were going on that week. While I was in banquets there were only about 5 employees that were not interning. Of those 5 employees two of them were what are called banquet captains. Banquet captains are basically people that run/manage the event and are in charge of making sure everything goes as it should. The head supervisor or the catering manager was named Brian Snyder. Brian has only been running the banquet facilities at Holiday Inn for less than a year so he was relatively new at his job. Brian has a very upbeat personality and for the most part always remained very positive. However, Brian never attended any of the events to make sure that everything was being done at nights or on weekends. He left the busiest events up to his banquet captains and never checked to assure everything was going as planned and all of the guests were satisfied. The two banquet captains were the people that I worked with the most because they were there during every single event. These captains would make sure that everything during the event ran smoothly and they would be the ones to prepare the bill and make sure everything was paid for at the end of the night. I would say that their managing tactics were to just get their job done. Neither one of the captains were very concerned with training new employees because they were constantly busy making sure that everything was in place and running correctly the night of the event which was always a huge job. The description of the position that I had during my time in banquets started out as a server and ended as a captain. At first I was trained along with the other interns to serve the guests at the events including bringing their food out as well as clearing all of their plates. After a couple of weeks of serving I got the chance to captain an event and actually be in charge of one of the weddings. Instead of serving I had to make sure the buffet was set up properly, cut the cake, talk to the contact at the wedding as well as the D.J. and make sure that everyone was having a good time and everything was in place. Moving on to the staffing part of banquets; it was not staffed adequately by any means. During the events servers were constantly running around because there just weren’t enough of them to make the event run as smoothly as it should have. The department would hire most of it’s employees by doing one quick short interview. They didn’t look much into a lot of their employees. The turnover was extremely high in banquets I believe part due to the fact that the new people never received proper training and they were always understaffed so they received a bad impression right away and were overwhelmed. I also think that the high turnover had to do with the fluctuating hours that you must put in to work at banquets. There is no such thing as a set schedule with banquets because it all depends on when the events are and some people couldn’t handle that. The only requirement for the employees hired was that they must be able to work weekends. Most of the employees were trained by just simply doing. You don’t get to follow around or shadow someone they just put you out on the floor and tell you what to do. The scheduling was done in this department by the two banquet captains and all of the purchasing was done by the general manager of the hotel. Moving on to the next department that I was in which was housekeeping. In the housekeeping department at the hotel there were approximately 25 employees as well as two executive housekeepers and the department head. While I was in this department I had a set schedule of working 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. getting Wednesdays and Thursdays off each week. The only area that I worked in while I was in this department was in the laundry facility. The department head was named Tiffany Palacio. Tiffany has been working in the hotel since it opened four years ago and at one time was the director of sales before she moved to housekeeping. I would say that her management philosophy was to become friends with all of her employees and gain respect that way. Tiffany is bilingual and can speak fluent Spanish which allowed her to communicate with most of the housekeeping staff. The basic job description of the position I had was working in the laundry room. I was an actual person on staff in the laundry room and I would do laundry as well as fold it and put it on carts for the housekeepers to use. I think that for the most part that the housekeeping portion of the hotel was staffed adequately however I believe they needed to hire at least two more people to work in the laundry room. There were times when I had to work in the laundry by myself and it was extremely hard to get caught up on laundry being the only one that day. The housekeeping hires most of its employees through recommendations and people knowing people. A lot of the people who worked in housekeeping were either related in some way or were friends even before they got their job. The turnover in housekeeping was actually relatively low. I believe this was due to the fact that most of the people who worked there enjoyed their job and they were doing what they wanted to do. There were no specific requirements for employees that were hired in housekeeping. Tiffany Palacio did all of the purchasing for housekeeping as well as the schedule. All in all I didn’t feel very challenged during this portion of my internship because I had to basically fold laundry for eight hours of the day and once I learned how to do that I felt that there wasn’t much else to learned. I wish they would have let me explore more areas of housekeeping than laundry because I felt that would have been much more beneficial. The final department that I went through was the front desk. While I worked at front desk I also worked 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. There were about seven front desk employees and two front desk supervisors. The department head was Cory Lane and his management philosophy was mainly to sit back and let the employees handle problems by themselves. He trained his front desk supervisors well so that if there was a problem that arose when he could not be there they always knew how to work it out. The job description of the position that I had was basically the front desk attendant. I would take reservations as well as check people in and out of the hotel, and answer all incoming phone calls. I believe that the front desk department was staffed adequately because there was never a problem with there being too little people to get the job done. The front desk hires most of its employees by going through applications and interviewing different people. The turnover at the front desk was relatively low I believe because the training at the front desk was pretty efficient and once you get the computer down it is a relatively easy job to do. Again, most employees were trained by watching videos and learning how to use the computer by the supervisor. All of the purchasing and scheduling was done by Cory Lane, the front desk department head. All in all this department was by far the most strict department that I worked in at the hotel. I say this because the front desk is the first impression that the guest has of the hotel and Cory took that very seriously so he did not like it when people in training made mistakes while dealing with guests. Part IV. Evaluation and Critique The major strengths of the organization was the fact that it was such a beautiful facility. The Holiday Inn Select downtown has so much potential to be an extremely profitable facility because of the different amenities that it offers. The major weaknesses of the organization is that it has had to recover from switching to new owners, and two new general managers in the past four year period which calls for a major shift in management and stability in the hotel. This challenge can either be overcome by the new managers or they can allow it to bring them and the entire hotel down. The overall value of this internship I would say was good. I had never worked in a hotel before doing this internship and I got to see the main picture of how a full service hotel runs and what to expect while working in one. However, I believe that there could have been more beneficial things done to prepare the interns for working in hotels in the future that I did not learn. For example, in most of the departments I learned how to do the tasks of the employees not the managers. I think that it is extremely important to learn how to do the things that the main employees do but I also think it is essential that we get to take a leadership role and should also be challenged and faced with the same challenges that managers in the hotel are because those are the positions that we someday would like to hold. If I could change something about this internship it would be just what I was referring too, we would get more management training rather than employee training. I would also like to be much more challenged than I felt that I was. For example, while in the housekeeping portion of the internship I had to fold laundry for three weeks, eight hours a day. While folding in the laundry room I was forced to think about how that experience would benefit me later in life. I understand that it is important that I learn what my employees have to deal with so that I will be able to relate to them but I don’t understand how making me fold laundry for three weeks teaches me anything about what I will have to do when I become a manager. Therefore, for my next internship I would like to seek out a place that will challenge their interns not only to give them hotel experience but to give them management experience.
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