Grosvenor House, A JW Marriott Hotel and The Savoy

Amy, recently graduated from Nottingham Trent University and the Universidad de Valencia with a first class degree in International Business, was interested in gaining work experience in 5-star hotels. With a sound background working in a restaurant from the age of 15 and more recently as a wedding planner and head waitress in the events sector, this was an opportunity to confirm her interest in hospitality and gain experience in another sector with a view to applying for graduate programmes.

We put some questions to Amy about her time at Grosvenor House Hotel and The Savoy.

Why did you want to gain some work experience?

I wanted to gain experience to develop my current skills and understanding for what are two of the most reputable companies in the hospitality industry: Marriott and Fairmont, the management company of The Savoy.

Next year I am hoping to become part of one of these teams permanently through gaining a place on a graduate scheme. Through completion of these work experience opportunities, I not only gained vital experience and an understanding of the companies, but also developed some fantastic contacts. It also allowed me to see if this sector was for me – which I am pleased to say I believe it is!

What did you do on Day 1 at Grosvenor House?

It was very interesting as I was given the opportunity My time at Grosvenor House was invaluable – I learnt so much about events, catering for numbers of 1,000+ and became part of a supportive, friendly and internationally successful team.

What did you learn at The Savoy?

I learnt the importance of details and high quality service. Being part of a team devoted to this was a fantastic experience, while also making friends, contacts and seeing the progression a Learning Development Programme graduate can make within such a prestigious company.

What did you do on your work experience?

Day 1 at Grosvenor House was really interesting as I joined a group of new team members on their orientation. This meant that I got to learn so much about Marriott as a company itself, its core values and beliefs, alongside the history of Grosvenor House. We were given a tour of the hotel and I then met the team I was going to be working with. Being introduced to a company and hotel like this gave me a deeper insight to the research I had personally conducted prior to starting my work experience.

Marriott – Grosvenor House is the largest area to hold quality events in London. This experience showed me how a 3 course meal to 1,400 people can be served efficiently and to a high quality in a time dictated by the event organisers which sometimes was only an hour. Due to the fact that I was there to understand the company and hopefully begin my Marriott career, I was placed shadowing a different team leader, supervisor or manager every day from a different team. This meant that I was able to see how all the cogs work in the well-oiled machine that is Grosvenor House.

The Savoy – I become a hands-on part of the team, serving menu tastings, taking stock, directing guests to the correct meeting room, hosting events and even understanding the admin completed post events. I worked very closely with one Event Floor Manager who gave me the responsibility of writing the event report, posting the billing and getting to grips with the programmes used such as Opera and Micros.

What did you enjoy most?

Personally, I enjoy working within a team. Without a good team to work with I think job satisfaction is hard. The nature of my work experience meant that, a lot of the time, I was changing which teams I was working in, however, all the teams that I worked closely with I was welcomed into.

I also really enjoyed seeing the events themselves. Although I understand the preparation for the events is of the upmost importance, seeing it all come together with guests enjoying themselves was very rewarding. Knowing that I was part of a team to create a good memory of the event for the guest was fulfilling and very satisfying.

What supervision and instruction were you given?

Each day the supervision and instructions I was given varied depending on the nature of the work. Some days I was closely shadowing the event supervisor, having one to one contact with the organising team and audio visual teams and others I was serving an intimate menu tasting event for a selection of VIP guests. By asking questions I was given more instruction as that is how I personally work. Whenever I was completing a task that was new to me I was always supervised, for example, when completing the event report after the event and completing the Opera and Micros billing the Event Floor Manager for the day talked me through it.

How did you benefit from the two weeks?

During my work experience I learnt so much, adding to my transferable skills and hospitality knowledge. By being shown how to understand a Banqueting Event Form and programmes such as Opera or Micros billing I can now add that to my skills as they are universal programmes used by many different venues. The contacts I gained while completing my work experiences were priceless and will help me begin my career in hospitality.

What are your top 3 tips to people going on a work placement?

  • It is vital to ask questions. By enquiring about what people are doing and why, people around you can see that you are interested in the task at hand and inquisitive about the industry.
  • Make sure you have positive, hands on attitude. The employees are as much testing you as you are working out if you like the job or company.
  • Keep in contact with the members of staff you meet during your placement via LinkedIn or emails, using a professional email address - you never know when they could help you in the future.

Would you recommend work experience and if so why?

I would highly recommend a work experience placement. It allows you personally to see if you like the industry and want to continue working in it before you sign a contract. It also means that the company can see if they want to employ you or not. By being inquisitive with a hands on, positive attitude you are able to get stuck in to fully understand the job roles within the hotel. The understanding of the industry, contacts and whole experience is invaluable and something that is definitely going to help me in my future.