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Search for selfless hoteliers

Published on Thursday, 14 Apr 2011
The Island Shangri-La hotel seeks extrovert, helpful people for a range of guest-service roles.
Kenneth Wai

Island Shangri-La, Hong Kong is on the lookout for hotel professionals seeking to further their career in guest services and other fields.

Located in Admiralty, the hotel is recruiting for a range of roles, including a guest relations officer, front desk officer, Horizon Club concierge and a Hindi-speaking guest relations officer.

It is also seeking waiters, waitresses, Malay chef, room butler, health club receptionist, car jockey and bell attendant.

Kenneth Wai Shiu-kee, the hotel's area director for human resources, says a successful guest relations or front desk officer should provide service from the heart.

"They should [put] the guest before themselves. We describe this as `selfless sincerity' at Shangri-La," Wai says.

"Personalities are very important. They have to be outgoing, helpful, passionate about serving others, and have a sharp eye for details."

Wai says it isn't easy to determine during an interview whether a candidate is genuinely eager to serve guests or just paying lip service to it.

Hence, the hotel looks for applicants with former service experience, such as participation in extra-curricular activities and sports teams at university or in secondary school, and the potential or ability to deal with challenging guest situations.

Candidates are required to have a high proficiency in English and Putonghua, and preferably a degree or higher diploma in hotel management.

Wai says an education in hotel management helps students gain practical experience in operations, and demonstrates the candidate's commitment to the industry.

That said, individuals who are passionate about guest services, but who have no related academic qualification, are also welcome to apply.

"We hire students from a non-hotel major occasionally. These are people who have immersed themselves in guest service opportunities.

"They are outgoing, love to serve others and are naturally very helpful," Wai says, adding that candidates should evaluate whether the job matches their personality.

He says employees who excel at guest services will have the opportunity to take on supervisory roles such as service leader, service manager, front office manager and director of rooms.

Zephina Chan Hoi-yan, a guest relations officer at Island Shangri-La, says her job inspires her to learn new things all the time.

"I spend time interacting with guests to get to know them, find out what they like and not like, and help them solve problems.

"The more I speak with the guests, the more I realise I need to be more knowledgeable.

I have also become better at problem solving," she says.


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