The cool thing about working in a luxury hotel is that you never know what kinds of people you will meet on a daily basis. This is not to say that you cannot meet interesting people at a non-five star hotel, however many conferences and events are often held at big, international hotels giving staff the opportunity to interact with a wide range of people. I had the privilege of meeting several U.S. politicians/attorneys and even helped one person in their group at the concierge. They talked with me for a long time and were happy to have met someone from the U.S. It was such a happy intern moment for me when the person I helped returned to the desk and asked for my name specifically. Of course, when I interact with foreigners I often will give my first name to them after talking with them for awhile because it feels strange to refer to my last name in English.
Today there were a lot more foreigners that needed help than yesterday. The big challenge with foreigners for me is not with understanding them obviously, but is how to help them with reservations, giving instructions, etc. There are a lot of things I still do not yet know and my superiors do a lot of on-the-job training with me. Thankfully the foreigners are very patient and I feel at ease. The concierge members are encouraging me to be more active and take on more responsibility even though I have a lack of self-confidence; I am thankful for their encouragement and will do better at being more self-reliant instead of automatically asking for their assistance. Whenever I receive a smile from a guest or a smile from another bellman or lobby attendant I feel at ease; it is like we are saying we are all in this together.
I can feel myself getting better at figuring things out with clients on my own and in my Japanese skills. I still often accidentally say things incorrectly but I find that most people are very understanding and can comprehend what I say. Today I pretty much answered the same questions over and over again because there was a large event of over 1,000 people so it was not too difficult. A good thing about older guests is that you can speak slower with them because some of them are a little hard of hearing, which is helpful to me because I cannot always speak quickly in Japanese.
There were a couple of guests whose Japanese I could just absolutely not understand, but my superiors helped me out. Some people come from different parts of Japan so they have an accent that even the other concierge members have difficulty understanding. I also noticed that you do not necessarily have to help a guest super quickly; you can politely ask them to sit down and wait which is super nerve-wrecking to me to have a client wait on you. One person in particular asked a super hard question, and after I handed it off to my superior and asked her what I should do in the future if I were to be asked that again, she was like, "That was difficult…don't even worry about that." Concierge work is very complex!
I think the best part about my day today was when a different guest from the U.S. came up to the desk to say good-bye to me. He wished me luck on my internship and even took a picture of me! I think people are right when they say the best thing about working in a hotel is when people say, "thank you."