CPD Critical Reflection

CPD II have been nothing but a fruitful learning journey. There were many takeaways for me as it allows me to better understand the importance of interpersonal communication, which is especially applicable in the hospitality industry. There were various concepts that I have learnt such as Thomas-Kilmann conflict mode instrument, Johari Window, non-verbal cues in communication and the 7cs in writing.

Equipped with these communication skills, students were also asked to develop a project synopsis together with a training video to showcase an interpersonal communication issue. My team have chosen to work on the topic “creating a positive nonverbal first impression in the front office context while performing a check-in procedure.” As all three of us in the group are specialised in hotels and have a burning passion in service, we believe that this topic would be a fun project to work on, and would allow us to step out of our comfort zone.

As the saying goes, it only takes seven seconds to form a first impression and this impression is difficult to change. Hence, during the interview session that the team has conducted with E Hotel’s manager, we initiated the non-verbal cues in communication to portray a positive first impression of ourselves as well. With the key information collected from the interview, the team held various meetings to brainstorm for ideas for our filming. This project brought the group closer where friendships were forged and we weaved our ideas from our front office experiences to develop the storyboard of our video.

This project has been enriching as it has broadened my view on the importance of first impression and I find it especially applicable having first-hand experience working as a front office agent before. I felt pleased to be able to present the video to the class and glad that the class had learnt something out of it. On top of that, the comprehensive feedback from Brad has also allowed me to learn what areas the project could be improved on to enhance and facilitate my learning.

In the competitive hospitality industry, it is vital to find a niche to work on such as focusing on the customer service aspect and the best solution to this is by providing a positive first impression to guests. Hence, during my upcoming IWSP phase as a front office agent, I will put into practice what I have learned from my own project and strive to provide a positive first impression through these non-verbal cues.

 

Final Synopsis

CPD PROJECT SYNOPSIS

1.INTRODUCTION

This report will address an interpersonal communication problem with the scope of study focused on the hospitality industry, specifically, hotels. The team has decided to explore the topic of creating a positive nonverbal first impression in the front office context while performing a check-in procedure.

2.WORKPLACE CONTEXT

The tourism industry has been identified as one of the fastest growing sector that contributes a sizeable portion to Singapore’s economy. In 2016 alone, Singapore received more than 16 million visitors (Singapore Tourism Board, 2017). Sentosa, the main attraction hub in Singapore, comprises many five-star hotels such as Hotel Michael, Treetop Loft, Festive Hotel and Hard Rock Hotels. Besides the aesthetics and products being offered in these hotels, service is the key focal point, where true hospitality begins from the heart by creating a positive first impression.

Hence, this project will focus on interpersonal communication problem existing in E Hotel Resort World Sentosa, a five-star hotel situated on the southern tip of Singapore within Sentosa. E Hotel is the latest addition to the Resort World Sentosa collection of hotels and recently opened its doors to public in 2012 (corporate citation from EH/ corporate website, 2017). Besides offering the perfect getaway for both nature lovers and families, it is also located in close proximity to some of Asia’s best attractions such as the Universal Studios Singapore and S.E.A Aquarium.

3.THEMATIC FOCUS

The project focuses on the way a front office agent in a hotel creates a positive and lasting first impression. It emphasizes on the nonverbal aspects of communication such as appearances which is known to influence social interaction which leads to further repercussions (Wolffhechel et al., 2014).

4.PROBLEM IDENTIFICATION

In general, individuals are evaluated by those who are forming a first impression. These first impressions have been characterized as difficult to overturn, making those first encounters extremely vital (Mann, 2016). This is of importance, especially in the hotel industry, as first impressions help to set the tone for all the relationships that follows.

The focal issue is on how a front office associate should portray a positive first impression. As E Hotel strives to be the leading hotel in service excellence, the hotel must take the first step in providing adequate training for the employees on how to create a good positive impression.

Portraying positive first impression is of high importance especially in the hotel industry. This is because front office agents are the brand advocates of the hotel and are the first point of contact between the hotel and guests. Hence, when guest visit the hotel, they will develop an impression of the hotel within the first few seconds based on their interaction with the front office agent.

In that slice of time, they will judge the associate in various ways which may affect the way they perceive a hotel and that impression formed is difficult to change. This puts the hotel’s brand reputation at risk and might result in negative comments on the hotel’s social media such as on Facebook, Instagram and Trip Advisor.

Should customers check a property’s social media before deciding on staying with them, the negative comments posted might affect the way they perceive the hotel and even affect their decision to stay. This factor along with customer satisfaction will be affected which will eventually lead to a decrease in revenue. Future customers will hence, form a bias even before visiting the hotel and this will lead to a devastating effect in the long run.

5.OBJECTIVE OF STUDY

The objective of the study is to educate the future front office agents on the importance of creating a positive first impression during the check-in procedure. It aims to educate the agents on the proper code of conduct on how they should carry themselves in workplace setting. This emphasises on nonverbal aspects which includes both grooming standards, body posture.

6.POTENTIAL SOLUTIONS

According to Hognas (2015), one of the most important things that guests pay attention to upon check-in, is whether the employee in the reception notices and greets them. More than often, a bad impression is formed if the front desk agent did not pay attention to them. Therefore, it is vital for hotels to come up with training programmes to educate the employees on the importance of first impression.

An individual’s words often suggest a message but his or her body language could send a conflicting signal. Understanding body language is a talent that can help increase one’s successes in life. Individuals will be able to recognize the way the other party feels and think through the examination of their body language. Thus, it is vital for front office agents to learn how to interpret body language of their guests as well as know how to display positive body language. Front office agents should learn how to present themselves properly through body movements, provide guests with full eye contact, good facial expressions and gestures as it allows one to read into a person’s genuine intentions.

It is suggested that training programme could be in place to educate front office agents on the Dos and Don’ts of front office employee in a five star hotel setting. This includes the way the employee present themselves in terms of their grooming standards and body language. The human resource manager would be in charge of educating the front office agents on how to display a positive first impression through the nonverbal communication such as greeting guests, providing a firm handshake, good eye contact and body posture. Besides, grooming standards would be a good topic to educate the employees as well, which includes having a neatly pressed uniform, lipstick, name tag attached on correct side of uniform and hair neatly tied up.

Training programme would be scheduled for new hires to attend during orientation week with the hotel. This will better allow them to understand the standards of the hotel and what is to be expected. From time to time, senior employees would also have to attend the training session to reinforce their knowledge and to ensure that they stay relevant and updated.

7.BENEFITS OF THE WORKPLACE

Results showed that implicit revision emerged after the delay, even among those with poor explicit recall or who were not cued to recall (Mann, 2016). By emphasising the importance of providing a positive first impression for guests, it results in various benefits for the workplace, such as raising the confidence in employees and increases customer satisfaction which ultimately leads to increased overall profits.

The first benefit would be employees feeling good about themselves. Mr Deong mentioned that when employees are certain of their role and job scope, they appear to be more confident and they generally feel better about themselves. As a front office agent, confidence is key in this aspect. This boosts employee morale and makes the hotel a better and more conducive working environment.

Secondly, there would be an increase in customer satisfaction. According to Hognas (2015), when the customer enjoys the service and the result of the service, it in return provides the company with income, which is essential for the existence of the business. Hence, when front office agent creates a positive first impression for guests, they would be impressed with the level of service, and this increases their chances of returning back to the hotel to stay in the future.

Besides that, positive word-of-mouth would also be spread such as through reviews on TripAdvisor website or to their friends. This helps to create awareness for the hotel and with increased bookings, it ultimately increases the revenue stream for the hotel.

8.RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

The methodology selected to find out how to create a first positive impression during the check-in process at a five-star hotel includes primary and secondary data collection. For primary data collection, a short interview session was conducted with the reception manager of E Hotel, Mr. David Deong.

This interview was conducted to find out the views on the importance of creating first impression during check-in, as well as some strategies to ensure perfect grooming and body language. Two face to face interviews were also conducted with front office agents of E Hotel to gather more information and gain further insights on the training programme the management provides them with on creating a positive first impression.

For secondary data collection, academic journals and online sources were being tapped on to gather information based on previous research to substantiate our points. In addition, data was also taken from the E hotel’s employee handbook on the certain grooming standards that an employee has to adhere to.

9.CONCLUSION

The hotel industry has been developing and transforming in the past decades. Coupled with the fact that there has been so much more increased competition in this industry, hotels no longer compete in the room aspects and facilities their properties is able to provide, but rather find a niche to work on such as focusing on the customer service aspect (Lahap et al., 2016). Customer service in the hotel industry is of significance as there is only one chance to create a positive first impression and brand image is especially important in any hotels. Hence, this project is meaningful and serves as an important focus that managers and leaders of hotel industry have to take special note of.

Overall, this project would allow us to further understand the importance of nonverbal communication especially in the context of the hotel setting. The focus on grooming and body language is vital especially for a front office agent because they represent the hotel and is the first point of contact that guests would have when they first arrive in the hotel. In essence, with training in place, it would allow front office agents to pick up the importance of grooming and body language, and to create a positive and lasting first impression for guests.

10.REFERENCES

Hognas. (2015). The importance of the first impression in hotel customer service. Business Economics and Tourism. Retrieved from https://www.theseus.fi/bitstream/handle/10024/96496/Sandra_Hognas.pdf?sequence=1

Lahap, J., Ramli, N. S., Said, N. M., Radzi, S. M., & Zain, R. A. (2016). A study of brand image towards customer’s satisfaction in the Malaysian hotel industry. Procedia – Social And Behavioral Sciences, 224(IRSSM-6 The 6th International Research Symposium in Service Management), 149-157. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2016.05.430

Mann, T. C., & Ferguson, M. J. (2017). Reversing implicit first impressions through reinterpretation after a two-day delay. Journal Of Experimental Social Psychology, 68122-127. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2016.06.004

Singapore Tourism Board. (2016). International visitor arrivals statistics, (December), 4–9.

Wolffhechel, K., Fagertun, J., Jacobsen, U. P., Majewski, W., Hemmingsen, A. S., Larsen, C. L., & … Jarmer, H. (2014). Interpretation of appearance: The effect of facial features on first impressions and personality. Plos ONE, (9), doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0107721

 

Synopsis Draft 2

CPD PROJECT SYNOPSIS

1.INTRODUCTION

This report will address an interpersonal communication problem with the scope of study focused on the hospitality industry, specifically, hotels. The team has decided to explore the topic of creating a positive nonverbal first impression in the front office context while performing a check-in procedure.

2.WORKPLACE CONTEXT

Tourism being one of the main pillars of Singapore’s economy has resulted in an influx of new hotels within the past years. Sentosa, the main attraction hub in Singapore, comprises many five-star hotels such as Hotel Michael, Treetop Loft, Festive Hotel and Hard Rock Hotels. Besides the aesthetics and products being offered in these hotels, service is the key focal point, where true hospitality begins from the heart by creating a positive first impression. However, over the years, it has been observed that hospitality from the heart has become a rare sight.

Hence, this project will focus on interpersonal communication problem existing in E Hotel Resort World Sentosa, a five-star hotel situated on the southern tip of Singapore within Sentosa. E Hotel is the latest addition to the Resort World Sentosa collection of hotels and recently opened its doors to public in 2012. Besides offering the perfect getaway for both nature lovers and families, it is also located in close proximity to some of Asia’s best attractions such as the Universal Studios Singapore and S.E.A Aquarium.

3.THEMATIC FOCUS

The project focuses on the way a front office agent in a hotel creates a positive and lasting first impression. It emphasizes on the nonverbal aspects of communication such as appearances which is known to influence social interaction which leads to further repercussions (Wolffhechel et al., 2014).

4.PROBLEM IDENTIFICATION

In general, individuals are evaluated by those who are forming a first impression. These first impressions have been characterized as difficult to overturn, making those first encounters extremely vital (Mann, 2016). This is of importance, especially in the hotel industry, as first impressions help to set the tone for all the relationships that follows.

The focal issue is on how a front office associate should portray a positive first impression. As E Hotel strives to be the leading hotel in service excellence, the hotel must take the first step in providing adequate training for the employees on how to create a good positive impression.

Portraying positive first impression is of high importance especially in the hotel industry. This is because front office agents are the brand advocates of the hotel and are the first point of contact between the hotel and guests. Hence, when guest visit the hotel, they will develop an impression of the hotel within the first few seconds based on their interaction with the front office agent. 

In that slice of time, they will judge the associate in various ways which may affect the way they perceive a hotel and that impression formed is difficult to change. This puts the hotel’s brand reputation at risk and might result in negative comments on the hotel’s social media such as on Facebook, Instagram and Trip Advisor.

Should customers check a property’s social media before deciding on staying with them, the negative comments posted might affect the way they perceive the hotel and even affect their decision to stay. This factor along with customer satisfaction will be affected which will eventually lead to a decrease in revenue. Future customers will hence, form a bias even before visiting the hotel and this will lead to a devastating effect in the long run.

5.OBJECTIVE OF STUDY

The objective of the study is to educate the future front office agents on the importance of creating a positive first impression during the check-in procedure. It aims to educate the agents on the proper code of conduct on how they should carry themselves in workplace setting. This emphasises on nonverbal aspects which includes both grooming standards, body posture.

6.POTENTIAL SOLUTIONS

According to Hognas (2015), one of the most important things that guests pay attention to upon check-in, is whether the employee in the reception notices and greets them. More than often, a bad impression is formed if the front desk agent did not pay attention to them. Therefore, it is vital for hotels to come up with training programmes to educate the employees on the importance of first impression.

It is suggested that a training video on how to create a positive first impression can be created. There are immense advantages of utilising a video to conduct training for employees. Firstly, videos are highly visual and appears to be more engaging. Through watching videos, employees will be able to retain memory from the visuals. Secondly, videos can be produced once and reused over the years to train different batches of employees.

In this training video, we plan to include the Dos and Don’ts of front office employees in a five star hotel setting. This includes the way the employee present themselves in terms of their grooming standards and body language.

It is proposed that the training video is shown to new hires during their orientation week at the hotel. This better allow them to understand the standards of the hotel and what is to be expected. From time to time, the video can also be shown to senior employees to reinforce their knowledge and also to ensure that they stay relevant and updated.

7.BENEFITS OF THE WORKPLACE

Results showed that implicit revision emerged after the delay, even among those with poor explicit recall or who were not cued to recall (Mann, 2016). By emphasising the importance of providing a positive first impression for guests, it results in various benefits for the workplace, such as raising the confidence in employees and increases customer satisfaction which ultimately leads to increased overall profits.

The first benefit would be employees feeling good about themselves. Mr Deong mentioned that when employees are certain of their role and job scope, they appear to be more confident and they generally feel better about themselves. As a front office agent, confidence is key in this aspect. This boosts employee morale and makes the hotel a better and more conducive working environment.

Secondly, there would be an increase in customer satisfaction. According to Hognas (2015), when the customer enjoys the service and the result of the service, it in return provides the company with income, which is essential for the existence of the business. Hence, when front office agent creates a positive first impression for guests, they would be impressed with the level of service, and this increases their chances of returning back to the hotel to stay in the future.

Besides that, positive word-of-mouth would also be spread such as through reviews on TripAdvisor website or to their friends. This helps to create awareness for the hotel and with increased bookings, it ultimately increases the revenue stream for the hotel.

8. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

The methodology selected to find out how to create a first positive impression during the check-in process at a five-star hotel includes primary and secondary data collection. For primary data collection, a short interview session was conducted with the reception manager of E Hotel, Mr. David Deong.

This interview was conducted to find out the views on the importance of creating first impression during check-in, as well as some strategies to ensure perfect grooming and body language. Two face to face interviews were also conducted with front office agents of E Hotel to gather more information and gain further insights on the training programme the management provides them with on creating a positive first impression.

For secondary data collection, academic journals and online sources were being tapped on to gather information based on previous research to substantiate our points. In addition, data was also taken from the E hotel’s employee handbook on the certain grooming standards that an employee has to adhere to.

9.CONCLUSION

The hotel industry has been developing and transforming so much in the past decades. Coupled with the fact that there has been so much more increased competition in this industry, hotels no longer compete in the room aspects and facilities their properties is able to provide, but rather find a niche to work on such as focusing on the customer service aspect (Lahap et al., 2016). Customer service in the hotel industry is of significance as there is only one chance to create a positive first impression and brand image is especially important in any hotels. Hence, this project is meaningful and serves as an important focus that managers and leaders of hotel industry have to take special note of.

Overall, this project would allow us to further understand the importance of nonverbal communication especially in the context of the hotel setting. The focus on grooming and body language is vital especially for a front office agent because they represent the hotel and is the first point of contact that guests would have when they first arrive in the hotel. In essence, with training in place, it would allow front office agents to pick up the importance of grooming and body language, and to create a positive and lasting first impression for guests.

10.REFERENCES

Hognas. (2015). The importance of the first impression in hotel customer service. Business Economics and Tourism. Retrieved from https://www.theseus.fi/bitstream/handle/10024/96496/Sandra_Hognas.pdf?sequence=1

Lahap, J., Ramli, N. S., Said, N. M., Radzi, S. M., & Zain, R. A. (2016). A study of brand image towards customer’s satisfaction in the Malaysian hotel industry. Procedia – Social And Behavioral Sciences, 224(IRSSM-6 The 6th International Research Symposium in Service Management), 149-157. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2016.05.430

Mann, T. C., & Ferguson, M. J. (2017). Reversing implicit first impressions through reinterpretation after a two-day delay. Journal Of Experimental Social Psychology, 68122-127. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2016.06.004

Wolffhechel, K., Fagertun, J., Jacobsen, U. P., Majewski, W., Hemmingsen, A. S., Larsen, C. L., & … Jarmer, H. (2014). Interpretation of appearance: The effect of facial features on first impressions and personality. Plos ONE, (9), doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0107721

Synopsis Draft 1

PROJECT SYNOPSIS

  1. Specific Workplace Context: E Hotel Resort World Sentosa

As tourism is the main pillar of Singapore’s economy, this resulted in an influx of new hotels within the past few years. With Sentosa being the main attractions hub in Singapore, many five star hotels such as Hotel Michael, Treetop Loft, Festive Hotel, Hard Rock Hotels are built in the area for easy access and convenience to the travellers. Besides the aesthetics and products being offered, service is the key focal point of most five star hotel, where true hospitality begins from the heart with a positive first impression. However, over the years, it has been observed that hospitality from the heart has become a rare sight.

Hence, this project will unravel an interpersonal communication problem existing in E Hotel Resort World Sentosa, a five-star hotel situated in the Southern tip of Singapore, within the dense tropical forest of Sentosa. E Hotel is the latest addition to the Resort World Sentosa collection of hotels and it recently opened its doors to the public in 2012. Besides offering the perfect getaway for both nature lovers and families, it is also within close proximity to some of Asia’s best attractions like Universal Studios Singapore and S.E.A Aquarium. In our video, we will be focusing on the front office check-in procedure in E Hotel.

  1. Thematic Focus

The main theme identified in this video is the importance of positive first impression for front office agent in the hotel. The focus is on the non-verbal aspect of communication such as body posture and grooming standards which can bring about various repercussions. The various repercussions will be demonstrated in the video.

The setting of this video will be in a classroom, to emulate a hotel front office setting. It is mainly separated into two segments, the first segment includes the negative examples that a front office agent should avoid and the second with the appropriate demonstrations. The intent of the group is to create a comprehensive video, covering on the mentioned two aspects of nonverbal communication whilst providing a suitable solution to tackle the underlying issue.

  1. Interpersonal Communication problem

Through every new encounter, one is constantly evaluated while forming the impression. These first impression formed are usually fixed, making those first encounters extremely important. This is more vital in the hotel industry as first impression help to set the tone for all the relationships as follows.

The focal issue is on front office associate portraying a positive first impression. As E Hotel strives to be the leading hotel in service excellence, the hotel must take the first step in providing adequate training for the staffs.

  1. Nature of Project’s professional importance

Providing positive first impression is often mistaken to be a personal issue, which the hotel believe do not have an influence on. In real life scenario, portraying positive first impression is highly important in the hotel industry. As front office agents are the brand advocates of the hotel, they act as the first point of contact between the hotel and guests. Hence, when guest visits the hotel, they will develop an impression of the hotel within the first few seconds of interacting with the agent.

In that slice of time, they will judge the associate in various ways which may affect the way they perceive your hotel and that is really difficult to change. With the brand reputation of the hotel being affected, this will risk spreading on social media such as FaceBook and TripAdvisor. Customer satisfaction will be affected which will result in a decrease in revenue. Future customer will directly form a bias even before visiting the hotel and this will lead to a devastating effect on the long run.

  1.  Objective and scope of your study

The objective of the study is to help ensure proper grooming standards in the hotel and to emphasise the importance of first impression for front office agent.

The video will first focus on GM of SED Hotel addressing the issue of the importance of creating a positive first impression in the check-in setting, covering the nonverbal aspects focusing on body language and grooming standards.

Following which, the next scene would be the front office agent with bad grooming standards and bad posture and provided the customer with a negative impression. The scope of the grooming standards being covered includes no name tag, coloured hair, no lipstick, untidy uniform. As for the scope of body posture, it covers the lack of eye contact, no smile, leaning forward, fidgeting, chewing gum and using of phone.

This resulted in the customer being upset and expressed her thoughts on SED Hotel. The GM then emphasised the importance of proper grooming standards and the front office agent then recreates a scene that provided the customer with positive first impression. The video is then rounded up with the GM and front office associate emphasising on the importance of creating a positive first impression.

  1.  Research Methodology

The research method selected to find out how to create a first positive impression during the check-in process at a four-star hotel includes primary and secondary data collection. For secondary data collection, academic journals and online sources were being tapped on to gather information based on previous research. Besides, data was also taken from the employee handbook of the hotel. For primary data collection, a short interview session was conducted with the reception manager of E Hotel, Mr. David Deong, where views on the first impression during check-in was shared, as well as some strategies to ensure perfect grooming and body language.

  1. Potential solutions

According to Hognas (2015), one of the most important things that guests pay attention to upon check-in, is whether the employee in the reception notices and greets them. More than often, a bad impression is formed if the front desk agent did not pay attention to them. Hence, it is vital for hotels to come up with the training programme to educate the employees on the importance of first impression.

It is suggested that a training video on how to create a positive first impression can be created. There are immense advantages of utilising a video to conduct training for employees. Firstly, videos are highly visual and appear to be more engaging. Through watching videos, employees will be able to retain memory from the visuals. Secondly, videos can be produced once and reused over the years to train different batches of employees.

In this training video, we plan to include the Dos and Don’ts of front office employees in a five star hotel setting. This includes the way the employee present themselves in terms of their grooming standards and body language.

It is proposed that the training video be shown to new hires during their orientation week with the hotel. This better allow them to understand the standards of the hotel and what is to be expected. From time to time, the video can also be shown to senior employees to reinforce their knowledge and also to ensure that they stay relevant and updated.

  1. Benefits to the workplace

By emphasising on the importance of providing a positive first impression for guests, it results in various benefits to the workplace, such as increased confidence in employees, increases in customer satisfaction resulting in increased overall profits.

The first benefit would be employees feeling good about themselves. Mr Deong mentioned that when employees know what they are doing and look more confident, they generally feel better about themselves. As a front office agent, confidence is key in this aspect. This boosts employee morale and makes the hotel a better working environment.

Secondly, there would be an increase in customer satisfaction. According to Hognas (2015), when the customer enjoys the service and the result of the service, it in return provides the company with income, which is essential for the existence of the business. Hence, when front office agent creates a positive first impression for guests, they would be impressed with the level of service, and this increases their chances of returning back to the hotel to stay in the future.

Besides that, positive word-of-mouth would also be spread such as through reviews on TripAdvisor website or to their friends. This helps to create awareness for the hotel and with increased bookings, it ultimately increases the revenue stream for the hotel.

  1. Concluding thoughts

The hotel industry has been developing and transforming so much in the past decades. Coupled with the fact that there has been so much more increased competition in this industry, hotels no longer compete in the room aspects and facilities their properties is able to provide, but rather find a niche to work on such as focusing on the customer service aspect. Customer service in the hotel industry is of significance as there is only one chance to create a positive first impression and brand image is especially important in any hotels. Hence, this project is meaningful and serves as an important focus that managers and leaders of hotel industry has to take special note of.

Overall, this project would allow us to further understand the importance of nonverbal communication especially in the context of the hotel setting. The focus on grooming and body language is vital especially for a front office agent because they represent the hotel and is the first point of contact that guests would have when they first arrives in the hotel. In essence, with trainings in place, it would allow front office agents to pick up the importance of grooming and body language, and to create a positive and lasting first impression for guests.

References

Hognas. (2015). The Importance of the First Impression in Hotel Customer Service. Business Economics and Tourism. Retrieved from https://www.theseus.fi/bitstream/handle/10024/96496/Sandra_Hognas.pdf?sequence=1

Making a Great First Impression: Getting off to a Good Start. (n.d.). Retrieved March 10, 2017, Retrieved from https://www.mindtools.com/CommSkll/FirstImpressions.htm

Service Recovery Letter

Dear Mr Bennert,

I am Ng Shu Fang, the General Manager of Watermelon Sands Hotel Singapore. Thank you for taking the time to review our property, and I truly apologise for the incident that you had experienced during your stay here with us.

The Watermelon Sands Hotel Singapore is a place where the genuine care and comfort of our guests is our highest mission and we value your opinions. We sincerely apologise that our service was not up to your expectations during your stay here.

I understand that you made a reservation for three nights on the 6th of January 2017 with breakfast included and was instructed by one of my Guest Services Agent (GSA) to contact Agoda directly. On top of that, you also unfortunately received a faulty room key which caused much inconvenience. We apologise for the lack of initiative to call Agoda on your behalf and we assure you that this is only a one-time incident. This is not the level of service that we pride ourselves in providing and remedial actions would be taken.

The hotel has decided to waive off your breakfast charges during the stay. We hope that this incident will not hinder your decision in choosing to stay with us the next time you visit Singapore.

Thank you once again for giving us the opportunity to review our processes and to improve on our service. We assure you that this will not happen again and we hope we can have another opportunity to be of service to you.

I look forward to welcoming you back to Watermelon Sands Hotel Singapore again.

Warm Regards,
Ng Shu Fang

General Manager of Watermelon Sands Hotel Singapore

281 words

Revised: 3 March 2017

Read and commented: Darren & Adora

 

Reflection

An interpersonal communication issue that I had experienced was during my internship at Hotel Jen as a front office trainee. As a front office trainee, my role was to complete the registration formalities for the guests upon check-in, and to assign a designated room for their stay.

This incident happened when I was performing the check-out process for a guest from a particular room. Upon clicking in to the billing screen, there was an alert notification, stating “Room blocked for VIP early arrival. Kindly contact housekeeping to clean room ASAP when guest checks out.” Hence, after completing the check-out formalities for the guest, I immediately dialed for the housekeeping coordinator. I informed her that the room is to be made up as soon as possible so that amenities could be sent in before arrival of the next guest. She acknowledged verbally over the phone and hung up. Unfortunately, when the guest arrives at the hotel at 4 pm, the room that was blocked for the guest was still not cleaned yet. The status of the room on the reservations screen appeared to be “dirty”. To add on to that, the hotel was running at a very high occupancy for that day.

I felt very upset because I have contacted the housekeeping coordinator personally to ensure that the room was to be made up the soonest. This clearly shows miscommunication between the two departments, front office and housekeeping. Looking back, the possible root cause of this miscommunication could be because I did not place enough emphasis on the fact that the room is going to be occupied by a VIP, hence, cleaning of that room was not placed as their priority. Another possible root cause was because I did not send a request through the electronic system, hence, the housekeeping department did not have any records on file. On the other hand, the housekeeping coordinator could be too busy to handle the multiple calls on hand since it was a busy day, and forgotten about my call.

Reflecting on this incident, I truly understand how crucial communication is, especially in the context of hotel, where every department have to cooperate and work together, to get the tasks done. It was definitely a lesson learnt, by heart.

I felt apologetic towards the guest, what kind of service recovery can be done? What should I have done differently to ensure that the message is passed across clearly?

Looking back at this unfortunate incident, it dawned on me that this communication gap could have been avoided should I have handled the situation better. Reflecting back on this incident, coupled with the advice that Eline and Eon has provided me, I believe the situation would have been under control should the following steps be taken.

Like what Eline and Eon has suggested, this issue could have been avoided if I have told the housekeeping coordinator that the room was meant for a VIP. By reminding the housekeeping team that the room is reserved for VIP, this will push them to prioritize the room for cleaning.

Based on Eon’s recommendation, leveraging on the system to make an electronic request is also what could have been done differently. By sending request through the electronic system, it serves as a good way to ensure ease of tracing responsibility should there be any occurrence of unpleasant consequences.

Some possible forms of service recovery that I could have provided to guests include room upgrade to higher category with complimentary amenities such as daily fruits bowl, free dining vouchers or even extended late check-out.

Last but not least, applying what we have learnt in the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument, the compromising mode should be adopted. The compromising mode falls intermediate between competing and accommodating. In this case, I am required to “compete” because I need to emphasise to the housekeeping coordinator the importance of having the room cleaned up ASAP so as to prepare for the VIP’s arrival. On the other hand, I could have been more accommodating by understanding the rooms situation (high occupancy) and to send a few more gentle reminders to the housekeeping coordinator to clean the room. I could even take the initiative to set-up some amenities in the VIP room first, to ease the load of the housekeeping team. Hence, this results in a quick middle-ground solution.

In essence, communication is extremely crucial, especially in the context of hotel, where every department have to cooperate and work together, to get the tasks done. Thus, with these solutions in place, it will help to maintain a good working relationship between colleagues and to make the hotel a better working environment.

 Read: Darren, Eline, Eon, Russell

Commented: Eon, Eline

Personal Branding

As the saying goes, “Your brand is what differentiates you from the others.” Personal branding refers to the process whereby one market themselves to the public through verbal and non-verbal ways, which essentially represent their own branding. As cliche as it might sound, almost anyone would be able to provide a positive image, but how many of us are able to portray a positive and lasting image to people? Hence, it is vital to put in continuous and conscientious effort to manage our personal branding.

One of the ways to manage personal branding would be through self-image. In simple terms, self-image refers to how we perceive ourselves based on past experiences and events which plays a part in us viewing ourselves positively or negatively. In simple terms, self-image refers to how we perceive ourselves, either negatively or positively, based on past experiences and events.While positive self-image builds confidence in one, negative self-image could be detrimental as it makes the person feel doubtful about their capabilities.

I used to be very reserved and quiet. This short-coming affected my way of life, which led to a smaller social circle and affected my learning in class. Hence, during my internship experience as a front office agent, I learnt to speak up and honed my communication skills. By speaking up, it made me feel more confident about myself and I start to view myself more positively. Hence, this shows the importance of having a positive self-image as it could make you feel much happier.

Non-verbal cues such as the body language that one portray also plays a vital role in creating an impression. Take for instance, during a check-in process in the hotel, within mere seconds of interaction with the front office agent, the guest starts to form an impression of the hotel based on the agent’s actions. Imagine meeting an agent that appears to be very lethargic and is dressed unprofessionally, this results in guest forming a negative impression of the hotel and start to doubt the money spent on his stay. A lethargic agent dressed unprofessionally would imprint a negative impression in the guest, who may then question if his stay is actually worth the money spent. Hence, it is crucial to maintain good posture and body language, especially in the front line.

A personal example that I encounter will be during presentations, I try to maintain good eye contact to the audience to capture their attention. A personal example would be during presentations, where I try to maintain a good eye contact with the audience for their attention. However, my body tend to fidget at times because I am too nervous. This projects an image of lack of self-confidence and affects my personal branding, which is something I hope to improve on in time to come.

Revised on 12 Feb 2017

Post 2 personal branding, commented: Hong Yi

Submission 1: Formal Email Self-introduction

To: Brad Blackstone

From: Ng Shu Fang

Date: 16 January

Subject: Self-Introduction

Dear Brad,

My name is Ng Shu Fang and I am a year two student pursing a degree in hospitality business at Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT). This email comprises of my educational experiences and strengths and weaknesses in communication.

Prior to joining SIT, I attained a diploma in hospitality and tourism management with Temasek Polytechnic. This course provided me with the chance to complete a six-month internship programme at Green Holidays Tours and Travel as an outbound tour sales officer. Before working in the industry, I used to be a reserved person. With customer service being the nature of this job, it meant that I have to communicate with people to assist them according to their travel needs. Through this job, I learnt to open up to people, which has allowed me to be empathetic to guests’ needs and to manage them by providing suitable plans for different groups of people.

This exposure allowed me to hone my communication skills by listening to their needs attentively and to be responsive in reacting to it. My internship  spurred my interest in this fast-paced and versatile field of hospitality and landed me in hospitality business in SIT. With my most recent internship experience at Hotel Jen Orchard Gateway as a front office trainee, it allowed me to gain better understanding of how hotel operates.

The profile of guests in a hotel is different from a travel agency. In Hotel Jen, there are business and leisure guests. Working in a hotel is more nerve-racking compared to a travel agency as many a times, guests just wants a seamless check-in process. I often feel stressed out when I have to engage in small talks with guests while performing the check-in as I would lose my concentration. Hence, one area which I am lacking in terms of communication would be the inability to initiate conversations. Besides, my reserved nature has caused me difficulties in expressing my thoughts verbally, which I hope to improve in time to come.

With this introduction, I hope that you have a better understanding of me and I look forward to the engaging lessons with you!

Warmest regards,

Shu Fang

(7 Feb 2016)

Post 1, read: Chantel, Darren, Hui Ting, Eline, Adora, Russell

Post 1, commented: Darren, Chantel and Hui Ting