For Winnie Ho, a postgraduate student enrolled in the Master of International Hotel Management at BMIHMS at Torrens University, a career change has really taken off.
Winnie started her career in media and marketing. With years of experience behind her including marketing for five star hotels in Macau, she realised it was time for a career change. In particular, Winnie understood that where she had strengths in running frontline parts of a business, she did not really understand how the operations were run. She hoped that a return to study would enable her to find flexibility and a workplace where her ideas would be heard and implemented.
Giving herself just one term at the BMIHMS Sydney Campus to acquaint herself with Australia, Sydney and life as a student once again, Winnie began her search for a casual position.
What began as a casual guest services agent (GSA) position saw Winnie stay on and progress to a full-time, six-month industry placement position as Front Office Manager as part of her degree. When Winnie graduates in 2 short weeks, she will find herself full-time once more; this time, being promoted to Hotel Manager of Best Western Haven Glebe, a 56 room, boutique hotel located in an inner city suburb of Sydney.
A common dream for hotel management students is to manage their own hotel; often unrealistically immediately following graduation. However, Winnie’s story so far is unique and she really has achieved this seemingly impossible dream.
“Boutique hotels have less staff to rely on, so cross-skilling is key.” explains Shabir Satya, CEO, Everjuve Hospitality Management.
As the person who initially employed Winnie, Shabir explains “There is a greater opportunity for staff to do more. Winnie wanted to learn hotel operations and we were able to upskill her and fast-track her development. We strongly believe that staff should leave us with better skills than when they arrive.” he said.
In the beginning as a casual GSA, Winnie’s day included check-ins and check outs, phone reservations, guest queries and cash handing. Within six months she was managing marketing strategies, sharing her opinions on interior samples for rooms and rebranding for the property’s upcoming refurbishment. As part of a small team of three, she contributed to defining new targets and the direction of the business.
Promoted to Front Office Manager, Winnie now hires staff herself. She is in charge of rostering, negotiating new contracts and organising suppliers. Part of her learning at BMIHMS sparked an idea, which saw all the guest bathrooms using toiletries with sustainable dispensing methods.
Winnie is currently hiring new GSA staff and striving to reach final completion before the grand opening of the Best Western Haven Glebe in the coming months. She says she is happy, having found such a great place to work where her opinions are heard and suggestions implemented. Her passion now is to drive the success of this business and she envisions a satisfying hospitality career ahead of her.
When Winnie Ho graduates in April 2106 she will take on the position of Hotel Manager at Best Western Haven Glebe. The team at BMIHMS at Torrens University wishes her all the best on such a fantastic achievement.