Hotel Fenix in Madrid is a part of the Gran Melia Hotels chain offering luxurious experiences to guests from around the world. The hotel is located on the Plaza de Colón, in the exclusive neighborhood of Salamanca, which is in the center of the financial district of the city, surrounded by famous streets of Goya, Serrano, Velásquez, and the Paseo of la Castellana. Guests who arrive to stay at Hotel Fenix expect to receive top quality experience because of the popularity of the location among prestigious guests.
Since the opening of Hotel Fenix in 1953, it has welcomed such guests as Bill Clinton, David Beckham, Gary Grant, and even the Beatles on their first arrival to Madrid. The internship at such a popular destination is a unique opportunity to learn about the hospitality industry from the standpoint of first-hand experience. This report aims to identify and analyze any problem or weak areas observed in the course of the internship to propose a strategy that could be further used for improvement. Particular focus is placed on managerial theory and the interactions with a supervisor for effective plan implementation.
The internship at Hotel Fenix, Madrid, implied working at a reception department of the hotel. The functions of the reception department involve getting directly in touch with customers, and the receptionists are usually the first hotel staff with whom guests interact when arriving at the hotel. Receptionists are also expected to find out more information about guests to get their preferences and make the hotel stay as pleasurable as possible. The front desk staff should also be skilled and knowledgeable in technologies due to the need for rapid information exchange.
During the internship at the hotel, the main problem area observed on my part was the lack of patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations. Customers would often come to the reception desk to complain about noise in the rooms next to them or complain about the fact that they were disturbed by a cleaning service. There were also instances of patients being very angry, rude, and unpleasant in their conversations with me as a member of the staff. There was also a female customer who screamed at me directly for being ‘stupid’ in front of other visitors and staff, which made me almost cry.
Such situations were complex for me to handle because apologizing for inconveniences and promising visitors that their issues will be fixed shortly was not enough. As a result of that, I was perpetually stressed and asked other reception desk workers to handle customers who had any complaints. Being a non-confrontational person, dealing with dissatisfied customers was stressful, which reduced my morale. Another issue was that the receptionists don’t usually update the Strategic Relationship Management (CRM) system, so it was hard for us to know what the customer need, which led to further dissatisfaction among hotel visitors with the services provided to them.
Human Relations Theory is imperative to integrate into managerial activities. It is concerned with improving the productivity of employees dissatisfied with their work and workplace environment. The theory, which was initially developed from experimental studies in the 1920s and 1930s, holds that relationships, attitudes, and leadership styles play an important role in the performance of an organization (Peek, 2020).
The human relations management theory postulates that workers desire to be included in a supportive environment and team that encourages growth and development. Thus, if workers are approached with care and attention on the part of their managers and are encouraged to participate in the work process, they are likely to view their work as being significant, which means that they are highly motivated to contribute with high-quality work.
The difficulty in managing stressful situations with dissatisfied customers is an issue that could potentially be solved with the help of the human relations management theory through the increased collaboration between a manager and employees. A human-oriented approach to management requires the development of special skillsets among employers. The essential skills include communication, conflict resolution, multitasking, negotiation, and organization.
To improve the situation associated with managing stressful encounters with clients, an improvement plan is proposed to be developed. Using the human relation theory, the first step in the plan is the development of a reciprocal relationship between an employee and the manager to establish a system of feedbacks regarding different situations. The manager and an employee must discuss difficult situations to determine what was done well and what should be improved.
The second step in the plan is to facilitate collaboration between experienced and less experienced workers to create a supportive environment in which more skilled and experienced receptionists would guide their co-workers under challenging situations. However, employees who face difficulties handling stress must be given opportunities to improve their skills in practice. For instance, when an experienced worker sees that a newcomer is dealing with an angry customer, he or she may engage in the interaction and help their co-worker overcome the problem and guide the worker and the customer toward reaching consensus.
The third step in the plan is to conduct regular meetings with the team of receptionists and their managers to discuss the most complex situations and how they were handled. During the meetings, the workers will negotiate the use of the CRM system and how the reception staff can access important customer data. A practical example of solving this problem is retrieving relevant customer data from the system and send to receptionists in a form of a daily or weekly report.
Upon consultation with a supervisor, it was agreed upon that the proposed strategy for improvement is not complicated to implement because it is concerned with improving relationships in the workplace and integrating more training. Since there is no need for changing processes, the plan can be carried out step-by-step to ensure the smooth incorporation of the human relations management theory into the workplace. The environment of mutual support and collaboration among the workers of the reception department and other hotel staff is necessary to help less-experienced workers or interns deal with the most important but also most complex part of the hospitality industry – dealing with stressful situations involving customers who complain or argue with the staff.
Despite the challenges that I have encountered during the internship and the high-stress environment, the experience was important for me to get close to the hospitality industry and the management strategies that are being integrated. The experience allowed me to assess personal limitations in skills and develop a plan involving the improvement of a managerial strategy.
Peek, S. (2020). Human relations management theory basics. Web.