Make Customers Feel "Warm"
Make Customers Feel "Warm"
  • Kee Seong Eun-hye 기자
  • 승인 2008.04.09 18:21
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Lee Yoon-mi, Hotelier of Sheraton Grande Walkerhill Hotel Rooms Team


1981, Born in Seoul

2000, Graduated from Dongmyung Girls’ High School

2003, Joined Sheraton Grande Walkerhill Hotel Rooms Team

2004, Graduated from Sookmyung Women’s University, Division of Business Administration

Are you familiar with the work of a hotelier?  You may have seen someone with this job on Television.  However, people usually don’t know exactly what he or she does.  A hotelier is a person who works in the hotel business and represents the hotel with the best service.  Its work is largely divided into three parts: B/O (Back Office), F/O (Front Office), and F/B (Food & Beverage).  

Hotelier rose as a popular job in Korea after the broadcast of the soap opera, ‘Hotelier.’ Also, as one of the jobs which are included in tertiary industries, young people prefer to apply for this position.  For the Sookmyungians interested in being a hotelier, the Sookmyung Times (SMT) met with alumnus, Lee Yoon-mi (Lee) who is the hotelier at Sheraton Grande Walkerhill Hotel, and has worked there for four and a half years.  How about meeting her right now?

SMT: How did you first start working as a hotelier?

Lee: It was an opportunity that came to me by accident.  Actually, I’m not sure but I think that I wanted to be a hotelier unconsciously.  When I was in high school, I dreamed of majoring in Hotel Management.  However, finally I majored in Business Administration.  In the seeming vortex of one day, I became a senior and employment season was approaching.  I was wondering what I really wanted and what work would fit my aptitude.  At that time, I participated in “CAP (Career Achievement Program),” hosted by the Ministry of Labor and theCareerDevelopmentCenter and through a lecture I discovered that my aptitude fit well in the service industry.  In the nick of time, Sheraton Grande Walkerhill Hotel was recruiting new interns so I applied and started my hotelier life unexpectedly.

SMT: How about your life after you became a hotelier?

Lee: My motto is “茶半香初” which means “The fragrance still remains after you drink half of the tea.”  It implies “Don’t forget your initial mind.”  So, there is no big difference in my life before and after I became a hotelier.  I feel worthwhile always by finding out something new and meeting new customers.  The only difference is that I now have an occupational disease.  When I visit accommodations or restaurants, I estimate the grade of service and when I find good service, I benchmark it, comparing and analyzing it with my work.  Also, I can enjoy a life after-hours because my work is shift work.  Nowadays, I am learning belly dance.  The best benefit of my job is that I hardly get stress compared with my friends who work in big companies because I can enjoy my work.

SMT: Hotel service is at the forefront of the service industry.  As a hotelier who serves her customers, could you define what “Service” is in your own words?

Lee: I think “Service” can be expressed in one word, “Warm.”  It can also be done with the following words: Trust, Consideration, Thankfulness and Kindness.  However, how do you feel when you hear all those words?  Maybe it is still “Warm.”  After you are cared for, it’s not simply a completed act.  After you experience an act of kindness, you don’t take it for granted.  When your “Warm” feeling from the experience lingers for a long time in your mind, that is service, I think.  

SMT: In their work, hoteliers can meet so many people compared with other jobs.  However, these meetings are only short-term, which can be hard.  What do you think about this problem?

Lee: I don’t think that it’s only a short-term meeting.  Customers who have contracts with big domestic companies stay on the executive floor, which is where I work.  Therefore I call their names repeatedly and talk with customers who have finished their work so we develop a relationship similar to that of friends.  So, they stay in our hotel again when they have a chance to visit Korea and we can continue meeting.  In the case of general customers, I do my best to make them feel different, warmer, than in other hotels, because customers who feel “warm” remember Sheraton Grande Walkerhill Hotel on special days or anniversaries.

SMT: Was there any practical experience or work that helped you become a hotelier?

Lee: First, I experienced applying to a touring overseas program which the Korean Horse Affairs Association held, and also writing a report about “Accommodations for the enlarging incomes of farming and fishing villages.”  Also, I participated in a Symposium between Korea and Japan as an executive which was hosted byKyushuUniversity about the exchange of learning and culture.  Through this opportunity, I could meet foreigners, and understand their emotions by talking with them.  It helped me foster a global mind.  Above all, through the “CAP” which was hosted by the Ministry of Labor, I could discover my aptitude.

SMT: What must Sookmyungians who want to become hoteliers prepare during their university life?

Lee:  See more and experience more.  A hotelier meets people from all over the world with various desires, so developing multiple common senses and broadening your general knowledge are very helpful.  Because you are the student, it’s hard for you to stay one night at a hotel and have dinner at a hotel restaurant, but you can visit different kinds of hotel and observe them.  Working as an intern is good opportunity for you to check if it fits your aptitude.  Also, communication ability is crucial.  In order to make customers feel comfortable, smooth communication is necessary.  If you study English, Japanese, and Chinese, it will help you after you become a hotelier.

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