Hospitality training in Thailand: The best is yet to come!
5 Kingsmen tips for a good start in hospitality management
published : 14 Feb 2020 at 15:04
writer: Roman Fix
With Thailand witnessing an ever-improving number of guests visiting the country each year, as it is well-connected to other surrounding countries in Asia, more and more students freshly graduated from Universities or colleges, choose to work within the hospitality field.
Among the many obstacles in front of them and without the “academic cocoon” acting as a shield to protect them from the sometimes-challenging working conditions that the market provides, many young aspiring hospitality workers might feel overwhelmed, disoriented lost or even worse at the outset of their careers.
Kingsmen Hospitality is glad to provide them with 5 timeless, sense-making and time-proven tips in order to start their careers on the right foot.
1.Language Savvy: Be International!
Thailand keeps becoming more and more international and while a certain fringe of society is reluctant to use foreign languages in the workplace, the watchword is innovate!
English is already – and will remain for a long while the “Lingua Franca”, the common language. Try to use English language as much as you can, not only when dealing with the front-of-house but also when addressing your Thai colleagues during formal meetings where foreign staff are involved. You will thereby not only practice your language skills but also be perceived to be an inclusive person, distinguished from co-workers’ different linguistic and cultural backgrounds, showing concern and attention to all the colleagues in the room.
As aforementioned, if English is the common language used in hospitality in Thailand, do not shy away from learning a third language. Chinese, Korean and Japanese could be great additions to your curriculum vitae, but not solely; you might also consider, instead of learning a language that everyone wants to learn, choose to focus your attention on “secondary languages” in which few people are able to interact. How about more exotic languages? Spanish? Italian? French? These languages will turn you into a “language specialist” and will allow you to open more doors.
The “This is Thailand, we speak Thai” attitude is long gone and if not, has to pass away as it is seen as a unilateral way of communication, often leading teams with members from various origins to misunderstandings.
2. Punctuality: Do Not Underestimate The Power Of Being On Time
Considering punctuality as something trivial is one of the most severe mistakes one could make when starting a career, especially in hospitality.
By being punctual, you send the message: “I am respecting you, your time and your agenda.” This goes for your seniors to whom you owe respect but also to your juniors for whom you have to set an example.
Bangkok is widely recognised for traffic congestion and erratic traffic lights. It might happen that despite your effort for being on time you will inexorably be late.
If such a case occurs, have a plan of action ready: call your supervisor, apologise, mention where you currently are and give an estimate of how long you will take to reach your meeting point. Later on, reflect and try to identify what made you late and develop a proper and lasting solution.
3.Grooming & Dress code: Control Your Image From Head To Toe
For better or worse, we live in a world where we are – not solely but mostly, judged on our appearance.
Whether it is towards guests, colleagues or clients and regardless of the department you work in, it is of the utmost importance to dress in conformity with expectations. No one will blame you for wearing a suit with a necktie, for knowing how to iron your shirt or polish your shoes. What young people are sometimes failing to understand is that it’s not about looking wealthy, sexy or “hi-so”. The key word here is professional. And trust us, it just feels good to look professional.
When it comes to accessories, classic and conservative yet classy is best. For watches, it is time to say goodbye to your G-Shock bought during your first year at university!
Needless to say, a proper daily shave is “de rigueur”.
The same goes with your haircut, each time monthly; short, no fancy colours and well-trimmed behind the ears.
For the ladies, remember to keep your hair attached at all times with no loose hair here and there. You will have plenty of time to learn why during your long career. And no, this is not a fashion thing.
Do not forget that you remain an all-time ambassador of the establishment you represent as well as an ambassador of your own person.
4. Knowledge And Skills Acquisition: Turn To A Sponge
Keep this fact in mind: knowledge is everywhere, educate yourself.
Don’t wait to be taught, be told or shown, you will find that everyone around you is quite busy and not everybody has the patience and teaching skills of a master Yoda. Be proactive and look for answers by yourself. If you do not know, do not be afraid to ask at the right time.
We are lucky to live in an era where a humongous mass of knowledge is available online for free and if not, for a very reasonable price. Use the World Wide Web when you can, whether it’s to search information on Google or on Wikipedia but learn to discern relevant information from fallacious or non-relevant sources.
Also have thoughts on varying the media you get knowledge from, as the more variation you have the more you will be able to retain knowledge. Develop your own online research, read books or go to your local library, listen to audio commentaries, ask your seniors and colleagues about their opinions on given situations. These are all different ways of getting new knowledge and skills.
Lastly, take notes and compile your information. And yes, this implies using a pen and writing on paper. So old fashions still make sense.
5. Build Your Own Career Path
We all had this question asked during our hiring interviews: “Where do you see yourself in 2 years from now?”.
Try to use this rhetoric to build your own career path.
Ask yourself: “Where am I going?” or “What am I trying to achieve?”
You have just left the starting block but where is the finish line? What is your dream job and how to reach it? Build your own blueprint and establish your own goals. Finally, religiously respect your road map and don’t forget to reward and treat yourself at each goal completion!
As you can see, these tips are easy to understand and be put into practice.
It’s not about reinventing the wheel but more about remembering the basics and putting them to work.
Along your career in hospitality, you will encounter numbers of challenges to solve by using your knowledge, experience, skills or even wit. Experience can’t be taught; you will have to think quickly smart and take the best decision within the allocated timeframe.
See each issue not as an unsurmountable difficulty but like a challenge, a learning experience on your way to success.
As you progressively gain experience, think about periodically reflecting on past challenges: have you been able to overcome them? How? Were there any other ways to solve them? Would you do it the same way now that you have newly-earned experience?
Pair these 5 aforementioned tips (among many others) along with an open-minded, forward thinking, action-reaction mindset as much as you can and it is safe to officially declare that you are on the right track for a bright future in Thai hospitality.
Author: Roman Fix, Chief Learning and Development Officer at Kingsmen Hospitality, email: email@example.com
Series Editor: Christopher F. Bruton, Executive Director, Dataconsult Ltd, firstname.lastname@example.org. Dataconsult’s Thailand Regional Forum provides seminars and extensive documentation to update business on future trends in Thailand and in the Mekong Region.