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!

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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.