Evangelos Ragkousis was at Park Plaza in London, UK.
Towards the end of my first year of studies, enrolled on the Swiss Alpine Center and Cardiff Metropolitan University programs in hospitality and tourism management at City Unity Education Group, I had the chance to be interviewed by numerous establishments in the hospitality industry both in Greece, where the campus is located, as well as abroad. The Swiss program of study that blends practical training with classroom theory yields students and graduates who are very well equipped to step into the industry and accelerate their climb up the ladder.
Why did I choose to work at the Park Plaza in London?
Through Alpine Center’s vast and strong industry links, I was accepted to do my first internship from 1 April to 1 October 2019 as a Front Office agent at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel in London, a member of the Radisson group that includes more than 1100 branded hotels worldwide. This article is directed towards bringing some insight on my time there.
London is considered by many as the trade center for the European continent. Accepting more than 20 million tourists a year excluding the UK itself. This creates one of the most competitive business environments around the world, even more so for hospitality establishments.
I chose to work for Park Plaza Westminster Bridge because I enjoy being challenged. Having a small experience in boutique hotels prior to joining Radisson this was a unique opportunity for me to enhance my skills, while at the same time working for one of the biggest hospitality companies around the world. I spent a lot of time preparing and learning for the environment I was about to embark into. Park Plaza visualizes a workplace that promotes communication and team work, while putting the guest at the center. For me I felt inspired to begin this new journey and creating a path for my future career.
What were my responsibilities?
During my time as a front office agent I was tasked with accommodating the needs of hundreds of guests daily. From answering simple questions to solving complex problems my day never felt empty. The constant support of my team members as well as the well-built communication structure between the departments made it easy for me to learn and adapt to the needs of the guests and the hotel. At the start I was mostly occupied with the simple tasks of the reception such as check-in and check-out. As time progressed, and with my constant bombardment of questions towards my senior team members I soon gained their trust and fully accepted my role. Eventually, I had the chance to be the senior receptionist for many shifts as well as a guest relations agent for one week.
What did I gain through this internship?
Eager to learn and hungry to provide my help to the guests and my team I gained invaluable skills that will accompany me for the rest of my career. Handling pressure, communicating effectively, distributing tasks, technical skills, emotional adaptability and many more. The most invaluable skill for me would be the experience itself. The constant contact with guests, problems, changes and a stream of information to process made me feel challenged and excited while sculpturing me into a hospitality professional.
What was the best part of my internship?
The best part of my internship was slowly becoming part of the team and feeling like I belong in a small family. So far away from home for the first time there were many a times that I missed Greece, but the reception team members and the company soon made me feel right at home. Frequent organized events both within the working hours as well as outside of them made it easy to quickly develop friendships, so much so, that by the end of my time there I did not want to leave. The learning environment of Park Plaza along with the endless activities that exist in London made my time there fly past so quickly.
How has the internship helped me with the start of my career in hotel management?
In terms of my career I believe this was possibly the best choice at the time. The skills I acquired along with a strong brand name to accompany my new CV can make me a desired asset for my future employers. I would certainly also work for Park Plaza and Radisson again which I have now created an opportunity for a long-term career.