Author: Debbie Harding, Conferences Sales & Services Manager
We have a unique business cycle for hiring Guest Service Agents at our Front Desk during the summer Conferences and Accommodation season at UBC. Our season (4 months) is determined by the student academic year in that we open when students leave campus in April and we close when students return to campus in September. Each year we post the Front Desk Guest Service Agent positions to UBC students and each year we are amazed at the quality of candidates that apply. Not only do we hire a new amazing crew each year, we take the time to train this group to the utmost standards of Guest Service.
But that’s not all! Imagine each year training 8-10 new staff on a complicated reservations software system. Training staff about the product that we sell, which includes several different types of accommodation, unique buildings, different pricing and so much more! Staff are thrown into a professional office where not only do we run a fully operational conferences business, but we are also in the business of housing students.
Why is this so important? These brilliant students transform into the very best front line, first point of communication, conference, accommodation and student housing experts. How do we do this in an efficient and successful way? We have to be experts in what we do and darn good communicators. We instill in our staff our vision, mission statement and departmental goals.
We start with the big picture of why we’re here and why we do it. It is imperative that our staff “get it”. Of course, our number one priority is always the guest. Our second priority is to never forget that we are unique and have an amazing reason for being here and that is because the revenue we generate goes back to the students by way of the student housing budget. Everything else flows from here, the motivation to be the best is intrinsic in their work ethic.
The amount of time we dedicate to our training program is reflective in the outcome of our student staff Guest Service Agents. The feedback we get from guests year after year is so positive, generous and gratuitous; we know how fortunate we are to have this natural resource on campus to fill these critical positions. Working in Conferences & Accommodation contributes to the students’ education through real business training, skills development, leadership opportunities, and conflict resolution – all sought after skills that are transferable post graduation. The staff work so hard and are so focused on doing a great job that seeing the transformation from the beginning of the season to the end is truly gratifying.
Debbie Harding, Conference Sales & Services Manager
UBC Conferences and Accommodations
E: email@example.com; T: 250-807-9358