Tag Archives: Grand Hyatt Shanghai

Grand Hyatt Shanghai: You eat in my hotel, I eat in yours~

Welcome hoteliers!

LinkedIn is such a powerful networking tool if you use it right. If you add everyone and never communicate with them, what’s the point?

When I listed my position on LinkedIn, I had many requests to connect, as well as requested to connect with others; Grand Hyatt was very popular in Shanghai. So I made some good contacts but my closet contact was with a man from Dubai. He was working as a Ritz executive club manager at the Ritz Carlton Pudong hotel next door to Grand Hyatt and boy was I salty. 

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Ritz Carlton Pudong Club Lounge

Ritz Carlton is actually my favorite hotel chain.

Well, I love Peninsula, Mandarin Oriental, Park Hyatt, Ritz Carlton & Four Seasons. So Ritz is one of my favorites let’s say that.

The Ritz Carlton Pudong was a bit more international than the staff at Grand Hyatt. The Front Office Manager at Grand Hyatt, a German guy, was leaving after being there for 3 years. Leaving me, and the interns who would also leave soon as the only expats in the front office. However the Ritz had a Director of Rooms who was a Hispanic woman, my friend from Dubai, an assistant front office manager who I didn’t meet but was international as well, more interns than us and more foreigner staff overall; Grand Hyatt only had around 8 foreign staff excluding interns.


Connections are very important, I always knew this, however the DOR (director of rooms) was a director in Dubai as well, her husband was from Dubai, they worked at a JW Marriott there, and my friend was also from Dubai, they worked with him and brought him to China after they settled there, that’s incredible to me because it isn’t easy to get in China trust me, I had luck + language + skills they needed that’s the only way I was getting in at my level.


So the club manager and myself became pretty good friends and he would invite me to meet up at the club lounge. And partake of some incredible incredible… one more time… incredible club food. So I introduced him to our club manager a few weeks later and he ate at our club. Of course this was rather under the table, and don’t even be shocked, all kinds of things like this happen in hotels.

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Most times, staff can’t really get the opportunity to try the nice fancy stuff guests enjoy, although in new hotels this is changing. How can we recommend and describe the flavors in the food, comfort of the bed, views etc. without having tested it?

So it became quite often for me to go to Ritz for a meal before or after work, and for him likewise… until we got caught. Our DOR (director of rooms) noticed him from before and wanted to have a meal and see what was going on. After they chatted, it was fine, but he had to pay half the price and could only come by letting us know.

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So yeah, he got caught and it became regulated, but what was surprising is that it was allowed to continue at all. Meanwhile I was sneaky to avoid detection at the Ritz ;D. In the end, I just paid each time to treat my buddy, since Ritz club food was way more expensive than our club. Friends over food are friends for life! 

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Thanks for stopping by, and see you in the next article!

Best Regards,

Daniel Cooper

Grand Hyatt Shanghai: First challenge, old staff new tricks!

Welcome Hoteliers.
You know how they say you “can’t teach an old dog new tricks?”
Do they have a saying for old staff? Certainly you can teach them new tricks right? I’d soon find out.

New managers like myself are all very gung-ho. We’re gonna change everything, we got all these new ideas and we’re gonna MHGA. (make hotel great again, see what I did there? 😉 )

I thank my parents for many things. A good many things indeed, one thing my parents taught me, always pay attention to everything, your surroundings, people etc.
What I got from them is, pay attention to what you say, do, and what’s around you. So when I was spewing all these ideas of great changes to come, the staff looked at me with this look. It was a look that had a little “you crazy as hell,” a little “this guy…” and a little “bye Felicia” all mixed in it.
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I quickly noticed and changed my tune.

The staff definitely saw I took a hint, and as embarrassing as it is to admit. I got a little respect from it, they see I valued their opinion; well at least we all laughed about it several months down the line.
Most of the staff were in their late 20s early 30s and had worked at Grand Hyatt for a few years. The 2nd person closet to my age at my position was 32, married with a kid. So me being 22, definitely raised some eyebrows. I had to prove myself before I could change a pen on the desk since I was definitely being watched; they wanted to see how I performed.

The GM wanted change. So I knew whatever I want to change or enhance, I had to build it and do it myself until they get curious enough to join me; it really is that simple. Not all staff, but a small amount are interested in improving themselves, which I prefer anyway. A small team of elites!

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I created 2 simple VIP programs. The VIP courtesy call log, and re-introduced a program they had a longtime ago such as birthday cakes with handwritten notes. The latter was simple, it’s a guest birthday; send a cake. This is certainly a western tradition but in the east, it was not as widely celebrated, however it was becoming more popular. And it’s a nice gesture, with a hand-written card = good online review.

The former being a courtesy call log. It’s also simple, I broke it into 4 sections. VIPs, Hyatt Gold Passport (now World of Hyatt) members, short stays of 5-9 nights, and long stay of 10+ nights.
Most guests, even if you ask, don’t want to tell you their bad experiences, especially VIPs. Not to categorize guests, because all guests are important. But a normal guest paying $150 on booking.com who leaves a bad review, we can do damage control, give a little compensation and all is well in heaven and earth. A VIP, can result in loss of a contract which can effect 50 rooms nights or more, sometimes it’s the boss of the company itself who can simply move their account to a competitor. So these calls can catch a situation before it festers and becomes deal-breaking; we call that, service recovery
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I would call the guest room an hour to two hours after check-in to ask about the room condition, are the facilities to their liking, do they need anything, and establish a point of contact. If they are short stay guests for 5-9 nights or long staying guests 10+ nights, we call them every 3 days to see if they need a refresh etc.

I also used my report to build preferences such as housekeeping servicing times, so the guests did not get a sudden wake up from the housekeepers, I mean how awkward is it for a housekeeper to poke their head in when you’re snoozing and get woken up. I confirm checkout time which makes it easier to flip the house (more hotel jargon, basically knowing how many departures you have, at what time, how many rooms you can get cleaned at what times, and how many rooms you can get back to plan for your arrivals and pre-assign early departure rooms to early arrival guests or VIPs etc etc etc~).
So, my report was a big deal!
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After a few days of committing to my reports, some staff & interns wanted to get on board.

I suspect for language practice, many international guests from corporate accounts such as Apple, IBM, Microsoft, Deloitte, Credit Suisse had contracted nights, so they were common guests; the staff wanted to practice with them. I also suspect they wanted to sit down in the back office and call guests as such allowed them a small break from the desk and who could blame them for that. 😉

My advice is if you are starting at a new job and want to implement changes, implement them yourself and show its success to the team before you want others to join you on it thus proving your ability and not wasting anyone’s time!

Thanks for stopping by and see you in the next article.
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Best Regards,

Daniel Cooper

Grand Hyatt Shanghai: Guest Interaction Workshop!

Welcome hoteliers!

The GM at Grand Hyatt Shanghai wanted to drastically improve guest service scores since the hotel had been stagnant with guest feedback scores hovering around 74%.

This meant a sizable portion of people were unhappy mainly from the F&B side, or the check-in side. Unlike most hotels, the rooms at Grand Hyatt Shanghai were quite nice, had great technology, and were well maintained. Which meant most of the issues were from a service standpoint: Slow check-in, cold staff, no greetings and the big one… staff couldn’t speak English.

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It was a little easier for F&B since they had a menu, guests could simply point to what they wanted if the staff didn’t understand them, but from the rooms department guests had many varying preferences which couldn’t be communicated easily, or they needed a taxi and the bellman couldn’t communicate their destination.

I recall a time where a guest described an airport he wanted to go to, the bellman didn’t understand him and told the taxi driver which airport he thought the guest was going to, but Shanghai has two airports, one on each side of the city, two hours apart from each other. I overheard as I was walking to pick up a VIP from the front gate, and asked the bellman which airport, he tried to explain what the guest said but couldn’t understand. So we chased after the taxi which was at a red light and asked the guest exactly which airport he was referring to, he was going to Hongqiao airport, the taxi driver was bringing him to Pudong airport.

If we didn’t catch him, oh boy, the guest would have gotten to the first airport an hour and a half later, been lost, then spend two hours going to the other; also the trip would have cost the guest almost $100; for Chinese taxis, that is quite a lot of money.

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The problem our staff had, wasn’t that their English was overly bad, it was decent, the problem was that they get nervous speaking to western guests. So HR and I started working on a guest interaction workshop. The point of this was to introduce a variety of scenarios the guest may inquire about which the staff would be able to provide urgent and effective care; and for the staff to be able to communicate in English!

It was fun and enjoyable, to say the least, they were eager to learn, we also gave them many phrases and sentences they might encounter, taught them how to pronounce certain words & improve their accents, how to handle complaints, international guest tendencies and…. The difference between western countries.


One difference between western countries and China, is that in the west, we are very politically sensitive and very aware of others backgrounds. Such as American, Canadian, Mexican, French, Italian etc. However in China, and also the language is structured this way, but it isn’t as politically sensitive, it’s simply you’re Chinese or you’re not. More specifically, 外国人(wàiguórén foreigner) means every country that isn’t China. The issue with this is that French, German, American etc. have no distinction to most Chinese locals until educated about the differences. All Caucasian people are from America or the UK; all black people are from Africa etc.

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The workshop did wonders to show them some of the differences in cultures as well as improve their language and they were very eager to engage international guests. We did this workshop once a month and had good results. Overall, it was a good experience to teach old staff new skills, and for me, to assist in helping a hotel trying to regain its former glory was quite an enjoyable journey so far. At this point I’ve been working at Grand Hyatt for a two weeks so far.

My advice, especially when working in hotels within mainland China, patience is a virtue. Most of the staff have had limited exposure to expats, even in a hotel setting. Besides the normal interactions, there is a lot they do not understand and have never been taught. Take the time to find the best way to introduce them to different cultures, ways of thinking, and find the middle ground to help them bridge the gap. In my former hotel, I saw that they love learning in a group setting, so a workshop was most effective. See what would work for your property and make it happen!

Thanks for stopping by and see you in the next article!

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Best Regards,

Daniel Cooper

Grand Hyatt Shanghai: Right place at the right time~!!!

Welcome hoteliers!

Life’s certainly interesting how things work out and this job was definitely one of those situations.


Grand Hyatt Shanghai was a place with a lot of issues, every hotel has issues but we certainly had a ton, but that was the beauty of it. The hotel had been operating for 17 years, which is very old; although it had completed a nice renovation two years before I joined.

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Deluxe King size room with a view! Grand Hyatt Shanghai

The problem with old hotels isn’t the product, it’s the owners.

The hotel lifespan in China is very short. In the beginning they invest like crazy to have the best of the best product wise, with foreign workers, top chefs etc. then 3 years down the line, they roll out their staff reduction plans, cut high level positions in favor of cheaper local alternatives which makes sense, I mean it’s China, but you do have to cater to your international guests too.

Then the owning company starts to only care about profit and forget the true sense of hospitality. And that’s when the major issues start to surface. The leadership down to management down to the front line staff, feel the need to cut costs. For example, in order to cut costs, we resorted to giving the guests only 1 room key so we don’t need to order as many room keys; many people, and understandably so, like to take hotel keys as souvenirs. I like that, I mean, isn’t our job to leave lasting experiences anyway?

We also had to limit compensation regardless of the nightmare stay for the guest. Using out of order rooms with messed up facilities as last sell on sold out nights but putting them back in service to put a body in the room; once the guest is seen as walking money, service falls.


I’ve seen this trap many times, but Grand Hyatt was special. Most hotels don’t escape this trap, rather, they encourage it. If they cut costs one year, cut more the next. Makes sense right? But it’s horrible for hotels! Don’t compromise guest experience!

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Sorry about that, but I’m passionate about guest experiences.

Grand Hyatt though was trying it’s best to reverse that, our GM who was from the UK, had put such an emphasis on guest experience that it was shocking. I never worked with a more hands on GM who was always present in the lobby, asked questions to staff to make sure we were prepared, had weekly meetings, watched scores and demanded answers for every bad survey. You name it he was on it, and I respected him for it. He was in between serving the owners who wanted to make huge ROI (return on investment) and ensuring staff is happy, so we treat the guest right.

The way I see it, the job of the agents is to make guests happy, the supervisors protect the agents from the managers who want efficiency in business hotels such as Grand Hyatt, the managers protect the staff from the directors who want to cut costs and force us to give guests one key, and reuse items if not visibly damaged. The directors protect the department from the GM and owners who want to cut positions to save money and make one man work as three. Efficiency is good, but the staff aren’t robots… at least for now.

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This is really a thing… at Hyatt Regency Tokyo

And finally, the GM protects the hotel from the owners who 95% of the time, never worked in the industry, don’t know anything about hotels and only see it as piece of real estate and see people as walking money. The GM also has to tell the owners what’s best for them, I mean, why hire an experienced expert and not listen to his/her advice?


The hotel was in a state of change and I felt that not only could I achieve great things there, but I could learn so much more; and that I did. It was my 2nd week and I created the “guest interaction workshop” with HR for all front of house employees. The way Grand Hyatt was trying to redefine itself, I definitely knew I was at the right place at the right time.

My advice being to recognize each job for the opportunities that may emerge. Sometimes in the most chaotic of situations, lie an opportunity to change, own, or redefine something that changes everything! In hotels, look for something that you can own and take care of; not only is it a great resume builder, but leave your mark in the hotel’s future process and watch your legacy grow!


Thanks for stopping by and I’ll see you in the next article!

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Best Regards,

Daniel Cooper

 

International Hotel Salary Packages Part II~~~!!

Welcome hoteliers!

Thank you for stopping by for another article!

you rock

The last article was a bit long, kudos if you read the whole thing, if you’re thinking of working in a hotel in China, I sure hope you read the whole thing, it has a lot of insight I think and overall, if I knew then what I know now, I would have fought to get a better deal, at least on the plane ticket. 😉

So in this article, I’m going to jump straight into the different salaries that front office staff would receive and of course there’s a disclaimer.

These salaries are the “average” for Shanghai only and for international luxury hotels. If you want to scale it, without major research, it’s about the same as Beijing, and if you are looking at other cities subtract around 1-1,500RMB off the top for level 4-7; again, these are just premature estimations not random salary pulls a lot can vary. Also I did get permission from former staff & friends regarding sharing this information so what’s below are their numbers which do not reflect everyone’s earning potential; it only serves as a potential threshold. Also note that the F&B Benefit refers to eating inside the hotel, ordering from room service etc., relocation refers to just getting your plane ticket purchased on your behalf, transportation etc.

(RMB – USD figures always change daily, so check the numbers daily if need be, as of the posting of this article, this is where the exchange rate has my numbers listed as!)

lets get started

Lets go!

Position Salary (Local) Salary (Expat) F&B Benefit   Housing Relocation
General Manager 42,500rmb($6443) 85,000rmb ($12887) 30,000rmb($4548) 15,000rmb($2274) O
Director of Rooms 29,000rmb($4396) 37,500rmb ($5685) 25,000rmb($3970) 11,000rmb($1667) O
Front Office Manager 15,000rmb($2274) 25,000rmb ($3790) 10,000rmb($1516) 8,000rmb ($1212) O
Assistant Front Office Manager 11,000rmb($1667) 18,000rmb ($2729) 8,500rmb ($1288) 7,000rmb ($1061) O
Duty Manager (me at the time) 8,000rmb ($1212)

(me)

14,000rmb ($2122) 4,000rmb ($606 (me) 4,000rmb ($606 (me) X
Team Leader/Supervisor 6,000rmb ($909) X X Staff housing X
Front Desk Agent/Guest Service 4,000rmb ($606) X X Staff housing X
Intern/Mgmt. Trainee 2,500rmb ($379) (interns) 5,000rmb ($758)

(Mgmt. trainee)

3,000rmb ($484)

(both)

Hotel or staff housing X

I hope this list is interesting, let me say it again, the salaries are based off my friends and former staff including GM acquaintances that were comfortable sharing their package details to help me make this list and comfortable with me listing it here; as you can see it also includes my own package details at the time. J

Final notes to list the difference in my package between my local Duty Manager colleagues & some general information:

  • The salary that other Duty Managers inside my hotel were receiving was around 1,000rmb ($151 approx.) less than mine, did not receive any meal or housing benefits either.
  • Aside from what was listed, I pushed and got laundry allowance as well but few people cared about it, I just wanted to make sure I could get whatever benefits they were willing to give me.
  • The information listed for expat Duty Manager Salary, was from one of my friends it’s very rare to receive an expat package for that position.
  • Guest Service/Relations Managers are at the same level as a Duty manager.
  • Speaking some level of Chinese helps your bargaining power for grabbing a better package.
  • *Can of worms* the reason even if most expats are given a local package, it’s still higher than a true local is because of lifestyle. For a Chinese landlord to rent to an expat, they have to pay a tax so you won’t find housing as cheap as most locals, for example my 1-bed apartment was 4,500rmb/$682 a month, decent location and the best value. My friend who was Chinese had multiple options for 1-bedroom places in similarly good locations for 2,800rmb/$424 a month! A lot of places will say they are unable to rent to expats meaning they didn’t register for it, don’t have the tax system in place, and don’t have the “fapiao (official receipt, later articles just on this)” capabilities either.

My advice, again, reflect on what kind of lifestyle you want and see if the package details if offered a position is acceptable to you. Whilst making this list I had asked a substantial amount of friends to get a salary basis, so that anyone down the line can compare their offer to some average numbers above and see how their package standards. Happy hunting, good luck, and always feel free to ask any questions

Thank you so much for stopping by and see you next time!

Bet Regards,

Daniel Cooper

International Hotel Salary Packages!!

Welcome hoteliers!

Thank you for stopping by for another article.

There was an article I read a few months ago about how us millennials are much more open and comfortable discussing our salary with others as a measure of our success and I have to say I never noticed how comfortable I was discussing it myself; it’s true. I can’t speak for others, but money is not only very important in how I made decision (gotta live right) but I was also curious about how my salary would increase over time; also what were others making? Was I being paid fairly? Unlike government workers our salaries aren’t posted online, so you never really know; only HR knows 😉

(HR is all-knowing!)

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So I don’t mind telling people so they can gauge what they could expect/willing to accept by working in China; both compared to local salaries, compared to their salaries back home as well as how that salary stacks up to the standard of living from a local standpoint and an international standard.

My one and only disclaimer is that I’m not HR, so I don’t know everyone’s numbers it’s only based off my personal knowledge and information I gathered from friends and connections. I’m a curious person; again, there’s no database or information to base it on.

I also can’t really comment much on other departments outside of the front office, also there are differences between working for a franchised property and an equity property, lastly the country you come from IS a factor in how much you will get paid; anyone who says otherwise hasn’t asked as many questions; disclaimer over..

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Before I go into specifics on numbers, I need to tell you the difference between the local and international package, it’s self-explanatory but important. A local package is, well, local, but more than that, for expatriates (expats) you’re more likely to get hired if you accept this package (less paperwork, cheaper for hotel, less hassle and expenses to report.) If you are lucky enough, or have a high enough position to get an international package, thank your lucky stars, it’s a totally sweet deal. So what’s included? (These are from a typical expat standpoint and based off what I had or knowledge I acquired.)

              Local  
Salary mirrors avg. local
Housing Allowance partial cover of rental costs
Insurance partial cover of insurance costs
Vacation 10 days with 1 day earned per annum
Sick Leave 6 days
Bonus depending on hotel
              International  
Salary mirrors international salaries
Housing Allowance covers the cost of most rental apartments in the city
Insurance full cover of most insurance costs
Vacation 10 days with 1 day earned per annum
Sick Leave 6 days
Bonus depending on hotel
Plane Ticket offered after 1 year of service
Relocation covers cost from home country to hotel

Now allow me to explain my charge, I know it’s a little weird, and maybe others have a completely different chart. But here’s the lowdown:

 Salary: As an expat, you’ll get a little more money, but it’s just enough that you can live comfortable living like a local, which means you’re not going to be eating and drinking fancy every night; with an international package, although you’d blow money fast, you make about twice as much per month.

 Housing: On the local package, you’re lucky to get a housing allowance and if offered it’s just enough to subset some of the renting costs. At the time it was enough, for me, I wanted to live decently in a place not on the other side of the city and no roommates; I was in it for the experience. I got lucky and found all of that with what I was offered, but most times it’s good enough to cover half the rent; In an international package you’re offered a nice housing allowance which depending on what you’re looking for, should cover all the rental costs, or if the hotel has house use rooms which is quite common, you can opt to surrender the allowance and live in the hotel (which isn’t bad.)
 – I do want to note that the hotel will give even local package earners a comp. room for usually 2-3 weeks so they can find an apartment.

 Insurance: Touchy point, in all honestly I’m a careful person I’ve never broken anything, that being said as a foreign worker you must receive some form of insurance from the employer, if it’s not offered they’re illegally hiring you, or screwing you, but the local package will partially cover some of the costs depending on the nature of your injury or sickness. The international package will cover more obviously, however in China, even hospital visits are usually paid in cash, and this is a reimbursement, unless its extreme conditions, you’re expected to pay for your visit, submit the paperwork to HR and get a reimbursement.

 Vacation: To my knowledge vacation time was the same with 10 days offered and an incremental 1 day added per annum with a maximum of 14 days for both. It was the same for me and a friend of mine who had an international package for another hotel.

 Sick Leave: Was the same for both of us received 6 days per year.

 Bonus: In China, hotels give yearly bonuses based on the hotel performance which is totally sweet! For instance, the Grand Hyatt Shanghai’s was around an additional 2x which means that if my salary is 8,000rmb ($1,213 USD approx.) that month I’m taking in my normal 8,000rmb and an additional 16,000rmb ($2,426 USD approx.)

 Plane Ticket & Relocation: Here’s where there’s a difference, international package earner are (sometimes) going to get a relocation pay in which the hotel pays for your plane ticket, and your expense getting to the hotel if they didn’t have a hotel car to pick you up from the airport. For your yearly vacation, the hotel is going to pay for your plane ticket to a destination of your choice; this depends on the hotel, two of my friends got a ticket to wherever they wanted for their vacation, another friend of mine was from Australia so could only get a ticket there from the hotel, anywhere else and he had to pay himself, but the point is you get a ticket somewhere.

These are just some of the basics and how the packages vary. If you’re wondering who gets what, think of it like this. Level 1-7, 1 being General Manager, 7 being an intern. Levels 1-3 are getting an international package 95% of the time, levels 4 and below are going to get a local package 99% of the time because ideally they could hire a local over you at that level.

One more thing to note, the most common positions that could be filled by expats overseas are within the leadership committee such as the General Manager but mostly limited to positions within the front office and food & beverage; positions in sales/marketing, security etc. are still going to be locals 99.9% of the time.

Employment levels vary in hotels but very generally you can break it down as below, and I’m going to reflect the levels based on the front office to the GM. The reason they vary as you’ll see there’s an additional position which is not too common in hotels in the west.

Position Level
General Manager 1
Director of Rooms 2
Front Office Manager/ Assistant Front Office Manager 3
Duty Manager 4
Team Leader or Supervisor/ Management Trainee 5
Front Desk Agents 6
Interns 7

Again, these levels vary, but the most notable is the Duty Manager position, in America we have Front Desk Agent -> Supervisor (sometimes) -> Assistant Front Office Manager (sometimes) -> Front Office manager. This Duty Manager is sort of a manager, but not really. It’s mainly a supervisor with a little extra power over operations and handling the day to day flow, whereas the AFOM (Assistant Front Office Manager) is handling departmental matters such as scheduling, budgeting, policies, ordering etc. an AFOM is considered a department head in Asia but in many places it isn’t quite that high up

My advice, and the reason I don’t have standard of living costs in this article, but will have in a future article for sure, is that I had already lived in China, so I knew how to live cheaply, and where I can splurge; plan out what kind of lifestyle you want to have and if you would be able to get by with a standard local package, or, if your position is high enough to obtain an international package, take it! its rare! But I do wan’t to express asking a lot of questions before accepting the job and researching a lot to make sure you’re getting a good deal, at least whatever is acceptable to you.

I know this was a bit of a long article, I’m sorry; I want to make sure I get as much information to you guys as possible. In the next article, I will talk about what the actual salaries are like and some basics on the housing. Thanks for stopping by and see you in the next article!

Best Regards,

Daniel Cooper

How did I work in a Chinese hotel??

Welcome hoteliers!

When I graduated college I worked for half a year in a temporary front office position at the Staybridge Inn & Suites in Times Square, NYC. Sounds nice right? Well, it wasn’t all that bad, except I wanted a life-style change. Now I know what you’re thinking… what recent graduate is talking about life-style change when we’re just beginning well, I had been to China a few times to study abroad and I just felt I wanted a more international life-style and New York isn’t where I’m meant to be at that time.

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So I wanted to work as a front desk agent in China, which you’ll find out why that was lunacy and near impossible, and I had very little luck finding anything; actually let’s tell the truth, I applied to over 300+ internationally branded hotels in many cities for a front desk agent and never got a reply.

Now I’m a firm believer in this belief that I have; actually I’m going to make it a “Cooper quote, from here on out, officially a thing in this blog. #cooperquote

“The internet doesn’t hire people, people hire people” – Daniel Cooper #cooperquote

What I mean is that from then on, I stopped applying online for hotel jobs; I needed to find the person who would hire me, or, could influence my application and reach out to them directly. In most hotels the General Manager is the highest position which led me to my next revelation… (Don’t get upset with me HR people)

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“If I apply online I’m at the bottom of the barrel, if I can send a nice email to the GM or my department manager and have them forward it, I’ll be at the top of the barrel and likely to get a response” – Daniel Cooper #cooperknowledge

***I promise not to sugarcoat anything in this blog just, FYI***

When I got my first interview using my new method, new to me anyway, because again, the internet never contained this information, maybe because it’s a crazy method, but I had no idea how to do it, so I made my own way; anyway I was contacted by the HR at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Shanghai for a position of a Duty Manager and the interviews were conducted on Skype.

 

 

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When you’re having 4-5 hotel interviews a day on Skype, this is exactly how you look!

The Process

Most of the time, the hotel will either call you (they can call internationally obviously) but more commonly will Skype you for two reasons. One, you’re not in China, and two, they want to see what you look like; looks are a thing in Asia and influence your hiring prospects, anyone who says otherwise is sugarcoating in fact, you need to include your picture in your CV which is basically your resume.

Elegant Resume Template Vector Free Download throughout 79 Enchanting Resume Templates Free Download
It’ll look a little something like this.

The first interview is with the HR manager or director, hiring an expatriate is a big deal abroad, so the big wigs have to interview you of course, second interview was with the director of the department, and final interview is with the General Manager or Hotel Manager.

After you pass the interviews and get an offer, congrats, you have to produce a ton of documents such as your college degree, former employment letters providing proof you worked where you said you did since they’re not going to call your past properties, a copy of your passport, criminal background check (don’t be a crook) and in 1-2 months your letters will be in the mail to go get yourself a work visa and head to China!

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That’s the how anyway, now, why did it work out for me?

To be honest with you guys and everyone has a different experience, also, I’m African American, which will be a whole other story, but it does give you additional obstacles but other opportunities as well, I got the job because I had something they needed and they had something I wanted.

In simpler terms, they were using me and I was using them.

win win

I did take a pay cut, which you shouldn’t have to, maybe the gross salary isn’t as high, but there are many perks, which I’ll discuss in another article. I was paid around $1,200 a month, base salary in Shanghai which can be just as expensive as NYC and had $800 as housing allowance which means I pay first and they reimburse me. To scale it even more, the position that I had, equivalent in NYC would be making around $2500 a month after tax, but the standard of living was similar, until you learn to live like a local.

noodles
Noodles are life!

They hired me because I spoke Chinese, accepted a lower salary, was a native English speaker, and was from NYC so I knew how to handle crazy oversold situations; also I could wear 3 hats at once, and teach free English to the staff, so for them total win.

For me, although I knew I was getting low-balled and I had other offers, the decision was like this:

Hotel Indigo Shanghai: Management Trainee position

hotel-indigo-shanghai-4723981523-2x1
Hotel Indigo, red circle is Grand Hyatt, blue circle, Park Hyatt!

Intercontinental Shanghai hotel: Management Trainee

intercontinental-shanghai-4124496486-2x1


Le Méridien Hotel Qingdao: (different city, beautiful city!) Management Trainee

le meridien qingdao


Holiday Inn Weihai (also a different city): Management Trainee

holiday-inn-express-weihai-3879092176-4x3


Grand Hyatt Shanghai: Duty Manager!

Hyatt
Grand Hyatt Shanghai was from the 53rd floor to 87th floor of the Jin Mao tower

So I could be an intern, or jump into management “oh boy my first management position!”

oh boy


I accepted the Grand Hyatt offer; also I knew that I wasn’t in the greatest position to haggle or get into management in NYC, so I knew if I took this position, I could move up and gain more China experience which will further my career there and at home.

So I got my papers in the mail, booked the cheapest economy ticket, a one-way ticket 🙂 and I was in China to start my new job and new life!


My advice is when it comes to China, just as back home; persistence in job hunting is a must. However you also need thick skin, there is some prejudice about how you look, which country or city you’re from, which school you attended etc. If possible, learn some Chinese, it will boost your prospects greatly, and finally, unless you receive an “expatriate” salary package, which I will discuss later, brace yourself to live a more frugal life with a pay cut. It was okay for me because of the title, position offered, and the experience I would gain, make sure you’re okay with it before you accept!

Thanks for stopping by and see you next time!

Best Regards,

Daniel Cooper