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An open mind at Sino Hotels

Published on Thursday, 19 Jul 2012
Sunny Lai
Photo: Berton Chang

Sunny Lai Chun-sing, a management trainee at Sino Group of Hotels, has a keen interest in the hospitality industry. His aim is to follow a career that will shape himself into a well-rounded person. He believes that in order to enhance his professional skills, he must conduct continuous on-the-job practice within his daily operations and learn to communicate effectively with different parties. He talks to Wong Yat-hei

What degree do you have?
I obtained a bachelor’s degree in business administration, majoring in management science, from City University of Hong Kong in 2011.

How do you start your day?
During the 18-month training programme I will work in 11 different departments. As I am currently attached to the group marketing department, I start my day by reading international and local news clippings that are related to the hospitality industry. Then I will attend the daily briefing session in which I can discuss my observations and market intelligence with my teammates.

I also take part in seasonal-functions planning and undertake a great deal of marketing research.

What does your job entail?
I get to participate in stimulating projects that really broaden my horizons. For instance, I have designed a new booth for a city-wide Wedding Expo together with other management trainees. I have also handled room-reservation requests for a new hotel opening, and assisted in a series of corporate-social-responsibility campaigns.

We have regular meetings with our mentors – the group’s directors – with whom we can share our difficulties and seek advice. There is also a “One Day with a General Manager” function we undertake which I am most impressed by, as I get to know more about what is behind the smooth operation of the hotel and about appropriate teamwork.

What are the major challenges you’ve encountered so far?
The major challenge is to develop effective time management. Not only do we have a fixed daily schedule, but we are also exposed to various ad hoc projects, training sessions and company events. I am learning to prioritise my tasks, get more done in less time and develop goal-setting skills.

What are your immediate or long-term professional plans?
My ultimate goal is to become a general manager after acquiring solid knowledge and expertise in revenues management. Training in different departments is a valuable asset and all my colleagues are very kind in sharing their views with me.

In view of a blooming market in online travel agencies and group-purchasing packages, in the short-term I wish to join an operational department and advance the company’s pursuit into e-commerce.

What advice can you give those interested in hospitality?
Hospitality is a highly dynamic and labour-intensive industry where we encounter people with different profiles and backgrounds. Newcomers have to be proactive, open-minded and sensitive to stakeholders’ and market needs. In order to provide customers with the highest standards and quality of service, we have to learn from our mistakes and endeavour to perform to our best.

There is no shortcut. Hard work pays off and opportunities are given to those who are prepared. 

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