We all are on the same boat. Maybe you will be a bit faster when I just started, but I will reach the dream which I had from my childhood.
– Maria Elena Bayonito Ignacio
Hong Kong is a real treasure for those who love shopping, exploring places, eating different cuisines and especially who love harbours. Hotel internships are crucial to the journey in hospitality. Doing a Hotel Front Desk internship in Hong Kong will give you a kickstart that you always wanted.
Today, we have Maria Elena Bayonito Ignacio, from the Philippines who is currently doing her internship at Park Hotel Hong Kong. We had an interesting chat with her, and we couldn’t wait anymore to share it with you.
To share a bit of Elena’s background, she is holding a four-year bachelor’s degree in Tourism Management, from Pambayang Dalubhasaan ng Marilao. Elena extensive experience in the travel, and tourism industry shouts her love for this industry.
Before Hong Kong, she has held position in a hotel front desk as well as she was the lead travel consultant at Love Air Tours and Travel (a leading travel services provider in Manila).
Adding more, Elena said, working in this vibrant industry has many perks in itself. From culture to people everything is fantastic, and we get an opportunity to see people from more than 40 nationalities every day.
She also mentioned working for more prominent brands is indeed an unforgettable experience. Here at Park Hotel Hong Kong, I’m responsible for handling guests for different enquires including check-ins, check-outs, business centre management and managing any queries.
Here is the excerpt from the QnA:
Why did you choose hospitality as a career?
Elena: I remember the time when I always had a dream of becoming a manager, a teacher, a professor. Yes, we all dream. Don’t you? I was the same and dreamt a lot about my career. As time passed, when I started travelling to different locations, I just fell love with this industry. Its the exact time which made me confident about my career in Hospitality.
Did you find any difficulties while studying or explicitly in a project?
Elena: I did… so many times. But as being said:
Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.
-Thomas A Edison
Read other interns experience here:
There have been extreme situations where sometimes I was financially weak, but I did cope up the hardships from the blessings of my family. When I was about to graduate, my mom who got sick for months and was in stage 4 of cancer, she left us alone. Dropping all the responsibilities on me as I am the elder sister. It was honestly a harsh time for me when I lost someone whom I loved the most and pressure from the college and thesis. I was broked out that time.
Somehow I gained my confidence again and started it all HongKong. I also lead our team for the thesis and the day came when I graduated remembering all the hardships and sleepless nights.
As you worked in a travel agency, did you find any difficulty working in a hotel?
Elena: No, not at all. I started my training from Food & Beverage where I learned the basics of handling a busy restaurant. Soon after 4
months, I got promoted to Front Desk which I found it much more comfortable as I was involved in reservations and ticketing before.
How did you improve your communication skills and what do you do on a daily basis to excel it every day?
Elena: Well, anybody’s communication depends on how much they usually participate in any conversation. I was always an introvert my whole life in school and college. I found my self entirely different person in Hong Kong. In no time, I got many friends. Every time I will speak up, and this is how I improved my communication skills.
Currently, I speak English, Tagalog and Spanish. I also studied Spanish in the college and these days; I am the person of contact for the Spanish speakers at Park Hotel Hong Kong. I learn one sentence every day to keep up my pace and to provide better services every time.
What is your biggest success for you till date?
Elena: For me, the biggest success is when I planned business for the travel agency, executed it well, established it correctly and was able to get the initial clients. However, the idea was stolen by someone, and I had to move. But, it gave me the best experience yet.
What is your plan and how you are going to achieve it?
Elena: I already have figured out what I have to do in the coming future. As after this internship, I will be moving back to the Philippines to pursue a Masters in Hospitality. I will work all the way through my Master’s program and after completion, I would be thrilled to start as an Assistant Manager or Front Desk Manager which indeed is my goal.
How did you like Hong Kong till now? What leisure stuffs you do on your day off?
Elena: It’s a fantastic city, and the exciting part it never sleeps. On my rest days, I usually like to explore the local markets and eating street foods. Dimsums, Shau Mai and Ice lemon tea are some names which I always eat here.
What would be your message to those who wanted to intern or are studying hospitality?
Elena: I focus on dreams and dreaming yet I work hard to achieve it. You would get never stop no matter how the obstacles are. When me a student from public school can accomplish this, everyone else can. Work hard and dream more.
We know you are as thrilled as we are after reading Elena’s experience. We all should be passionate enough to break through all the obstacles and the hardships. As once it’s done, you would have a lot of time to enjoy.
In hospitality the more you will travel and explore the more you will find yourself as the best fit for this industry. Find your hotel internship abroad and start your exciting journey in the hospitality.