Monday, November 2, 2009


While interning at the Island Hotel, I have been fortunate to be able to attend some fun and exciting meetings. Some of which have included:
An all employee meeting.
Human Resources puts this on once a year (I am lucky it came while I was here!) They hold two different ones during the day so that if you work morning or night, you should be able to attend one of the two. They were both held in the ballroom and I was able to go to the morning meeting which started at 10:00am. When entering the ballroom there were cookies and drinks available for us to choose from and Human Resources gave out tickets with numbers on them for the random drawings they would be holding during the meeting. Our General Manager started the meeting thanking us for coming and started to give away some prizes which included gift cards, tickets to events at the hotel and even an hour long massage in the spa! I wanted this one really badly but did not win unfortunately :(. The meeting was translated in Spanish by one of our executive managers to everyone in the audience. It was a good way to have the meeting together with all employees (Spanish and English speaking), and very interesting to hear our meeting translated into another language. The meeting mostly focused on how we are doing as a hotel compared to our competition and as a whole, as well as promotions and other things we are doing to have people come in and spend money at the hotel. The hotel also recently updated our mission statement, and vision to include ten standards that we need to implement in everything that we do.
Holiday Meeting:
This meeting was to have everyone (the Food and Beverage, Marketing and Sales and Catering departments) understand upcoming changes and promotions that the hotel will be implementing for the holiday season this year. There will be changes in decor for the lobby and restaurant and around other areas of the hotel as well. We do something called a holiday village where our pastry chef makes gingerbread houses to be displayed and companies "buy property" or purchase different sized houses to display their company logo on. I think this is a cute way to raise money for our charity (toys for tots) and for other companies to get involved with our hotel and give back to the community. We talked about hour budget and theme for this years client holiday party that we have every year. The holiday party is a way for us to thank our top clients by giving them a great party to mingle at while having some holiday fun.There is a lot to prepare for before the holidays and we start planning and brainstorming ideas as early as July and this meeting is a great way for us to regroup and get the job done!
Safety Meeting!
Once a month our safety committee holds an informational meeting and someone from every department of the hotel must attend. They talk about safety measures taken and procedures that need to be followed. Everyone is allowed to give suggestions on ways to improve the hotel to make it a more safe place. They also talk about injuries that occurred in the past month. Departments are paid a "safety incentive" when no one from that department is hurt, this makes employees be more careful while they are doing their jobs and this helps the hotel from paying expensive medical bills. An issue talked about this month is that employees seem to be more prone to injury when they are assisting in a department that is not their own. They do not necessarily understand how heavy somethings are or some obstacles that may occur while they are working. A solution to this problem was to make sure if you are working in a different department you understand these risks, and feel comfortable saying you cannot do certain tasks. We also discussed how to stay safe and healthy this season. With the flu going around, the hotel wants to make sure employees are taking the proper per cautions to stay healthy and are not coming into work if they are contagious. The hotel is also providing all employees with a free flu vaccination that will come to the hotel early November. I thnk that the safety meetings are a very good idea in order to keep everyone happy and healthy. 

Human Resources!!!!!

I am just beginning to work in the Human Resources Department of the hotel and I am so excited to see what it is like to work behind the scenes of the hotel working for the employees. 

Recycling Meeting:
The recycling committee holds a meeting between its members once a month to talk about how each department is doing their job to make sure that our hotel becomes a more green friendly establishment. We talk about last months changes and how they have helped or have not helped and if the employees are actually engaging in them. One of our problems discussed is lack of awareness. Many employees at the hotel did not know what was recyclable or not, so we came up with a solution. A poster decorating contest! Each department would have a month to create a poster for their area for everyone to see. The posters would have to be creative, the design would need to demonstrate things we do at the hotel and should include as much employee participation as possible. The committee would meet a month later and vote on the department with the best bulletin board. The winners would get to have a pizza party for everyone in their department. We thought this was a good way to get everyone involved and demonstrate their knowledge about recycling at the hotel. I was given the job of making an informational poster about the contest to hang in the hallway for everyone to see (which I included a picture of)

Sales Department

While working in the sales department I have really been able to learn so much more about this department including:
Site Visits:
Sales managers bring potential clients into the hotel so that they can view our property to see if it meets their standards and to see if it is the right place to hold their next event. It is critical that they have a wonderful first impression and that everything is perfect. Therefore, sales assistants do a site visit check prior to the guest coming in. The sales managers will show the potential clients numerous rooms which include one of our standard rooms, king rooms, parlor suites and usually another higher end suite. While every room at the island hotel is perfect prior to a guest checking in and our housekeeping staff does an exceptional job making the room meticulous, it always helps to have a second once over before the inspection. We go through and look for little things that are sometimes missed by another person, for example if the room is at the right temperature and the lighting is right. Once we do this we make sure the manager has a sales kit with everything about the hotel included.
Marketing for the hotel:
The sales department is also in charge of marketing and promoting our hotel. They are very good at what they do, by knowing our very select market segment and how they like to be advertised to, the hotel can then choose the proper media placement and advertising campaigns. We send out holiday cards to many of our guests and clients just as a thank you for using our hotel and this sets us apart from our competitors. We feature an exclusive club where members are allowed special things that regular guests do not always receive such as complimentary parking and 20% off some menus. They are also in charge of updating the website with new promotions the hotel is featuring.
Daily Business Review Meetings:
I was able to go to a DBR meeting which is held every morning with the sales team and some managers in catering. They discuss potential business they might have, if we have enough room for the event, and if we actually want the event to be held at our hotel. Being the only five diamond hotel in Newport beach requires us to have a certain standard for guests and events that occur at our hotel. We have to be picky sometimes, even if the group is going to spend a large amount of money at our hotel but they will be a distraction for the rest of our guests, sometimes we have to choose to let this piece of business go to another hotel.
Updating contact information and IATA numbers:
When sales managers go to networking events or meet new potential clients and get their business cards, someone has to enter them into delphi. I was able to enter or update more than 200 business cards. Delphi will save this information so that it is much easier for the sales managers to keep in contact with these people over time. An IATA number stands for International Air Transport Association, which is an association that maintains a database of travel agencies and other entities engaged in the sale of travel. Each agency or entity has a different 8 digit numerical code that identifies them so that we know that they are actually a certified member.
When the hotel finds a group that wants to host their meeting at our hotel and we have the space for them, we come up with a contract that includes the dates and rates of their event. It is extremely important to have a signed copy on record in case something ever happens, so that we will not loose money and will receive what was agreed upon prior to the event. Contracts are a great way to show in writing what was decided, what the group is getting, and what they owe us. The hotel hired a lawyer who specializes in writing contracts for hotels and had him write a standard contract for us. He knows what he is talking about and knows situations that could potentially happen to the hotel that would cause them to loose money or not recieve what they agreed upon and includes causes in our contracts so that the hotel is not responsible or at risk for potential risks. He gives a monthly conference phone call to everyone who uses him, and he talks about some updates we could include in the contracts to further protect the hotel from liabilities. Once the contracts are made, we can merge our delphi account to the contract, and then you go through and make sure all the information is correct. A mangager will check over the contract to make sure it includes everything they want. 

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Final Week In Catering

So during my first portion of this internship, I have been working in the catering department.
It is unbelievable how much information I have learned about the hospitality industry in such a short amount of time here at the hotel. I have learned that catering people must be service oriented, sales oriented, creative, flexible
Every one of the catering managers has taken time out of their busy schedule to "show me the ropes" and to help me understand different perspectives of this industry. One particular quote I liked was that people in catering "have to not only be a service oriented person...they must also take on the role of a sales person." BUT "you have to make it as personal as possible and to not act like a sales person....create a relationship." From what I have I understand from my last few weeks in this department, it is so true. Catering managers are responsible for bringing business into the hotel, establishing valuable contacts and relationships with their clients while servicing every event that they have. They are with their clients every step of the way from the moment their event is booked up until the day/night of their event.
I have learned how to make events fit into certain peoples budgets. This is where alot of the creativity and flexibility comes in. If the client only has a certain amount of money to spend and want to have their event at our hotel, of course we want to be able to accomodate them the best way we can. By knowing how to move things around, almost anything is possible if both parties are flexible. And although we cannot always give them the prices they want, we can however sugggest ways for them to have a successful event by cutting some things or changing the format of their event.
I learned how to give a site visit and show prospective clients a good feel of the property. Because our hotel almost always has an extremely high occupancy, it is hard for all the meeting space to be available to show people. It is difficult to make appointments where the space that they want to see is available to view, especailly if the client is a "drop in" and does not give notice of their visit. We do however have a large inventory of photos that feature the space they would like, and just giving them a quick tuor of the hotel and the areas perimiter, they are usually pleased with our space and have a good enough feel to make a decision.
I got a good feeling of what it was like to deal with different market groups, wheither it be a bride to be and her parents, or for a much larger group doing a trade show for instance. It is critical that when you work in this industry that you are informed about different cultures and customes for each one so that you have some prior understanding of how their event will be run.
I got a sense of what it is like to prospect new business, or be a "sales person" persay. Keeping up a good relationship with your clients over the years is the best way have their business over and over again while gaining new business from their "word of mouth."
All in all catering has been such an exciting department to work in I am sad to leave at the end of this week. I am however ready for a new challenge in the sales department :)
Hope everyone else is having as good of an experience that I am so far!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Delphi and Room Viewer

Last week I was able to really learn more about the hotel and how it operates internally. They use a program called “Delphi” to plan and block out events. This program is accessible by everyone in sales and in catering and they are able to do everything from putting a hold on event space to making the BEO’s (Banquet Event Orders) and contracts. The program can help you evaluate the client’s budget, your predicted revenue and the total revenue once the event is over. You can also track your activity in Delphi, making customer relations much easier and this way you can include small details that are easily accessible. Delphi also has a To Do list which helps you keep things in order so that you are not late doing certain tasks that are imperative to making your event a success.  


I was able to do a tutorial and learn everything there is to know about this program. I think this is a very valuable tool to have in this industry and I am very glad that I was able to learn it. Because I love organizing, this was something that I was excited to learn even though it took me an entire day and a half to complete it! J


The hotel also uses “Room Viewer” which is a program that has the hotel’s meeting and event space already laid out and you are able to create a picture of what the room is going to look like. You can add tables with chairs, a stage for the band, Audio Visual equipment, a dance floor and much more. This program is a very useful tool when you are planning a unique event and want to show the banquet staff exactly how it should be or even just to show the client how their event is going to look. There is also a tutorial for this program that I would like to take sometime while I am interning here.


Learning these programs helps me to further demonstrate my general skills in computer literacy and allows me to learn more about the hospitality industry.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Team Work

Last week was a very exciting time to start working at the hotel. We had many events going on and it really required all of the staff"s help in different parts of the hotel. 

While helping in catering I assisted another coworker in setting up signs around the hotel directing guests to their destination. I loved that everyone stayed late in order to help with the event. It is very nice to know that you are working in a team and everyone's efforts are appreciated. I know in college they always told us that working in groups helped develop one's sense of "team work" and getting a project done together was everyone's job even if you had to help someone else with their part in the project. This is a good example of how it relates to the real world. Even though helping catering with an event might not be your "part of the project" but running a flawless hotel needs everyone's 110% participation. 

I was also able to attend my first meeting. The General Manager goes over a few things with members of each department every-morning. They go over things like events that are happening in the hotel, some problems the day before and how they were handled, they recognize employees for their hard work by giving out prizes and my favorite part: reading customer letters to the hotel. This really gets us excited to start work seeing how we make a difference in peoples lives by creating such a wonderful hotel. By talking about what is going on during the day we can all be on the same page. This goes right along with my "team work" entry. If everyone is on the same page, we can all help each other however possible and continue to make the hotel such a wonderful place for its guests and employees. 

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Today was my first day of work at the hotel. While I was not able to work on any projects, I meet many welcoming staff members in various departments of the hotel. I found out that I will be working in catering, sales as well as human relations departments while doing my internship at the hotel.

Everyone was extremely friendly and I learned that they have had several interns in the past who have done exceptional jobs, I have some big shoes to fill! 

Most of my day was spent doing an orientation with the learning and development manager. He went over a power point with me that featured: a welcome note from the Managing Director, a safety and security checklist, general facts about the hotel, a brief history of the hotel and its owner (the Irvine company). I learned about the company's mission statement, vision, and values as well as the hotels "service standards."

Being a 5 diamond hotel (for the past 18 years actually!) they have a level of standards that surpass most luxurious hotels. This is something that I had learned about in my hospitality class that I was able to relate to what he told me. The hotel cares about its guests and wants them to come back over and over again while creating unforgettable memories. They do this by making sure everything is perfect and going above and beyond to provide an exceptional service to every guest that stays at the Island Hotel. One way they do this is by keeping a quest log with information about loyal customers about their needs and preferences. By doing this, the hotel is able to anticipate what they will want when they want it before they are even able to ask for this. 

I am so excited to learn more and be of some assistance to as many people as possible while I am there! 



The purpose of this blog is to document a college internship experience. Content published on this blog represents the author's ideas, opinions and experience. This does not necessarily represent the views of the internship organization.