Hi, my name is Alyssa Bennett and I am currently studying my bachelor of business degree in International Hotel and Resort Management at the Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School (BMIHMS).
I am originally from country Victoria and I chose to go to BMIHMS to be part of the hospitality industry. I knew early on that I wanted a job that was diverse, challenging and would allow me to travel.
My initial taste of travel came with my first Industry Placement (IP) undertaken on Hamilton Island as a Food & Beverage Attendant at Bommie Deck, www.hamiltonisland.com.au/bars-and-clubs/bommie-deck. It was the first time I had been to a resort and I loved the tropical experience; the work and out-of-work lifestyle. This fast paced environment and the unique challenges that remote location offers combined with a beautiful setting is certainly something I wish to repeat in my career.
All set to begin a second IP and expand my experience in resorts I further challenged myself by finding a property overseas. Matakairi Lodge in Queenstown, New Zealand is situated on Lake Wakatipu and offers breathtaking panorama views throughout the property. It is here I worked as a receptionist for six months as part of my degree.
This luxurious property is styled by acclaimed interior designer Virginia Fisher. It offers only 16 guest rooms each with private balconies looking over mountain ranges with a sitting area and fireplace, walk in wardrobes and luxurious bathrooms. www.matakaurilodge.com
My role was diverse and nothing likes what you would imagine a receptionists’ role to be. Duties consisted of general guest services, concierge, communications, guest activities and night audit. Booking guest activities including; golf, horse ridding, helicopter fishing, water sports, adrenalin sports, wine tours and scenic flights with personal pilots.
As Matakauri Lodge is a Relais & Chateaux property offer all guests personalised dinning experiences. The Head Chef, Jonathan Rogers creates individual menus to all guests, daily. The meals focus on what the guest preferences are with a focus on modern New Zealand cuisine.
Initially I was a little intimidated, it was overwhelming at first, but with time and ongoing training I soon settled into my role and felt comfortable dealing with the demands expected of me. Guest expectations are very high and being accountable to this was challenging.
All staff members of Matakauri Lodge have the responsibility to provide all guests with a memorable stay, a stay that is talked about being “The best I have ever had”.
In everything that we do we have our guest in mind, assisting them in anyway possible. Observation and thoughtfulness is key to the success of this property. Personal profiles of all guests are made for return visits to the to continue to improve on their experience.
I made notes on what activities they attended, how they like their coffee/tea, and amenities they prefer in their rooms. These are part of the little things that distinguish a stay at this luxury lodge from other five star properties.
Am I going to base my career on resort management? I am still deciding. However I would not have given up these experiences for the world.