Tuesday, March 06, 2007

How do I Become A hotel PR Manager?

IMAGE is everything in the service industry, more so in a hotel where the clientele come from within and outside the country.

And the responsibility of safeguarding the image of a hotel falls squarely on the shoulders of its public relations (PR) manager.

Jasvin Sidhu, PR manager of The Saujana, Kuala Lumpur, did not come in with formal education in PR. She had started out as a secretary.

"I had a keen interest in this line so I would assist the PR department whenever there were events," she says.

She never went for formal training (she did not get to complete a course in marketing, PR and advertising because of work commitments) but whenever the chance arose, she would jump in to help and learn.

When the post for a PR manager at The Saujana came up, she took it. Aside from the work she had done before, she also sought the advice of friends in the line.

"This line of work is demanding but also fun."

A "normal" work day would be hectic, starting with scanning newspapers for news of the hotel, its competitors and news that could be used to help the hotel in its strategies, followed by a departmental meeting, a heads of department briefing then back at the desk to clear e-mail before meeting clients, mostly media, throughout the day.

"If there is anything going on around the hotel or which involves the hotel, then I would be there too," she says.

Jasvin will also attend trade functions and cocktail receptions where she meets not only members of the media, but also corporate clients.

Time at the end of the work day is reserved for going over her schedule for the next three days or for more appointments, depending on the clients.

"Weekends and public holidays are spent here," she says, adding she is practically married to her work.

Despite the long hours, each day brings new challenges and experiences.

One of the things that Jasvin loves about her work is having something different to look forward to each day and meeting new people.

"It’s never a boring day, it’s hectic but I think I work well under pressure.

"If something crops up at the last minute, I’d still take it on even if my plate is full. Opportunities don’t knock twice."

Jasvin works closely with the media, locally and internationally, either in the promotion or advertising of the hotel or to jointly organise events.

She also works with Tourism Malaysia to take advantage of any opportunity there is to put the name of the hotel in prominence and bring in more guests to the hotel.

She works closely with different departments of the hotel, such as sales and marketing and food and beverage, to promote the packages they come up with.

As PR manager, Jasvin also has to work at least a month ahead to organise and promote events for the hotel.

Sometimes, she is called in to emcee events.

Time management and organisational skills are a must, as are a friendly and approachable nature as well as the willingness to work hard.

"It is also important to maintain good relations with the media," she says.

It also helps if your boss is supportive of your work. At The Saujana, general manager Herbert Laubichler-Pichler encourages his staff to go for training.

Jasvin has no regrets about the career she has chosen though at times she wishes that she had done it earlier.

Source : NST
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