Tag Archives: Human Resources

HYATT means Hurry Your A%% There Tomorrow!! 

Welcome hoteliers!

Grand Hyatt Shanghai… ah… I remember my first day as clear as it was 3 year’s ago.

oh boy


I remember when the HR at my current Hyatt told me a joke, and this was as recent as 2 months ago but now it makes so much sense. Hyatt, in a joking fashion means Hurry Your A%% There Tomorrow! I mean, isn’t that incredible?

What does Marriott stand for I wonder…


When my papers and visas were all processed, Grand Hyatt Shanghai asked me twice how soon could I arrive.

Well, 4 days after I get my visa I said my goodbyes to friends and family, and I was on my flight back to the Middle Kingdom.


My excitement was real. I figured since one of my college best friends was still in Shanghai, I’d check-in, get a bite to eat, then hit the club. To celebrate being a manager in such a luxury hotel at 22 years old! Get wasted, relax, repeat, and start working in a few days.

Then reality set in, although I did party, my arrival was like this:

“Im here to check in, I’m one of the new big bad assistant front office managers (I didn’t actually say big bad, but my chest was flexed) oh, and I spoke all in Chinese cause ya know, why not right? The Guest Service Manager came to greet me:

“Mr. Cooper, welcome, we’ve all been waiting for you, let the bellman send your bags to the room and I’ll do your tour of the hotel!”

whoa


Tour?? I thought with a puzzled look. “What tour? My schedule said that was on Monday” (I arrived on a Thursday night.)

“Oh I see, well I’ll do a tour right now for you. Besides the Front Office Manager wants you to start tomorrow”

GRAND HYATT SHANGHAI…

“Well sure I guess, I just got off of a 14-hour flight but yeah I’d love a quick tour.” I said with a unconvinced look he definitely picked up on my sarcasm and said… “Great!! We’ll start from the back of house service area then walk through housekeeping, front office, and guest rooms. It should only take an hour!”

I’m pretty sure it was 11pm when I got to the hotel. I didn’t know it then, but the GSM (Guest Service Manager) would actually be my mentor despite being of the same employment level. He had worked for Grand Hyatt Shanghai for 17 Year’s since its opening and was quite content. Although he’s okay with me using his name, I’m gonna use his initials because it’s just too funny… FYU (I’m dead serious).

After the tour ended and I was in my room I showered, refreshed, and rushed out, my friend was already in the club! On my way out, I noticed something absolutely important and this is very profound. I’m a foreigner, a black guy at that, anywhere I go, I’m going to be seen. The fact that I can’t leave the hotel without passing the front desk means… if I’m clubbing, drunk, or bring back company, I’ll be seen… and judged… and how fast did I realize this?


FYU (Guest Service Manager) was waiting in the lobby, doing lobby management, we all had to do minimum 2 hours a day of lobby management.

“Hey DC, (my nickname but I certainly didn’t tell him that, we weren’t cool like that yet) on your way to club? Gonna meet some pretty girls and get drunk yeah ?”

eh..


“Nah…. I’m just going to get a quick drink at my friends house.” (I can’t have them thinking I’m a party animal alcoholic foreigner, not that I was, most of the time, I actually carry myself quite well.)

And with that, I was in the elevator from the lobby on the 54th floor back to the ground level. (Grand Hyatt Shanghai is on the 53rd floor to the 87th floor of the Jin Mao tower)

So, yeah, HYATT lives up to it’s name, hurry your a## there tomorrow. They intended me to start ASAP, and who can blame them for that. I did end up clubbing hard, but my advice is, to double check and then, to check again your starting schedules. Often in China, the expectation and excitement to have an international manager is to the point that they want you to work immediately as was in my case. Stress the adjustment period since you’ll be jet-lagged and it’ll be miserable for a few days. Don’t burn yourself out at the most critical time, and definitely don’t club and work the next day!


Next I’ll tell you about the club experience in the next article! Thanks for stopping by hoteliers and see you in the next time!

572209-baby-groot.jpg


Best Regards,

Daniel Cooper

 

Negotiating benefits & salary at the Grand Hyatt Shanghai!!

Welcome hoteliers!

When Grand Hyatt gave me my first offer, it was for 7,500rmb/$1,134 a month, flat. No extras!

yeah right


A lot of people don’t like to negotiate or have a discussion after they get an offer because of the fear that they might lose the job, or scare away the employer; but in my experience and from what I’ve seen, is that if they are giving you an offer, they don’t want to lose you and will certainly be open to discussing your compensation.

This exchange is even more extreme for China where everything is open to negotiation, and Chinese people are excellent hagglers; buying fruits at a market is open to negotiation… seriously. But I love it!

So after I found the first offer unacceptable, I sent an email to the GM, and 24 hours later, I had a new offer. The details simply put:

Salary: 8,000rmb/$1212

Housing allowance: 4,000rmb/$606

Two months comp. stay in hotel until I find housing, but if I wanted to stay, I would share a room with an intern…

Laundry: 2,000rmb/$303 allowance


There was just one thing missing, food! I like to eat good, I mean, real good. I do love Chinese food don’t get me wrong, but a nice pizza, or steak, or some pasta… I was going to burn my check. So I needed to negotiate further.

food is life.png


Here’s a piece of advice my big brother in China gave me:

“Contracts in China can always be amended”

So, what I did is instead of pushing for a meal plan and asking too much right away, I waited until I got to the hotel, started working, then approached the HR. Now I don’t want to sound like I felt entitled, but a rapid change in diet, switching to 60% spicy, 20% local, 20% unidentifiable foods can trigger your body in a weird way. To me, I just couldn’t find the energy, plus I was jet lagged. So I gave it a few days then pushed my meal plan and got it; the reason I waited, and they already had me on payroll & working, is that they’re not going to, in theory, let me go because I pushed for a meal plan.

So my meal plan was as follows: although I have a specific amount in my earlier article, I gave that number based on how much I used per month on average but this is what the plan consisted of.

  • 8 meals per week in the Grand Cafe (our ADD (all day dining restaurant))
  • 2,000rmb/$303 in another restaurant
  • 1,500rmb/$227 in the collection of high end restaurants on the 56th floor including Italian, Japanese etc.
  • 50% off if I go over those thresholds and 50% off of drinks at the bar if I went.

Pretty sweet huh?

But to wrap this up in a nice article here’s how it works:

1.) HR departments have a lot of programs, resources and benefits they can extend to those who ask. (So always ask)!

2.) Negotiate the most important things first, and don’t settle just for the opportunity, you need to be okay with what you’re accepting (it’ll affect your morale sooner or later). I was willing to accept a low salary for an opportunity and a title but my parents were always a support base if and when I needed help.

3.) Contracts can be amended, added onto, and ratified in China without pause. Most times, without asking, you won’t receive much, but they usually have a budget for these things they just want to low-ball a little; most employers do.

4.) American culture is viewed as highly respectful (please, thank you, open doors for others etc.) in China this is viewed as too formal, and a little uncomfortable, so when it comes to negotiations, we try not to be pushy, China’s the opposite. Those who push, haggle, and get aggressive, get what they want.

5.) Finally, learn what the standard of living is, and potentially budget and plan before you go. I’ll tell you about being broke in China and it’s not fun, trust me. Build a savings and safety cushions, since China , compared with the United States, has a cheaper standard of living, you end up consuming and buying more goods, food, and things you didn’t at home; as such you rack up twice the expenses.


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

youre-awesome.jpg


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!)

HR


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..

lets get started.png


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