Checking in to a potential career
Economics major discovered a passion for the travel industry while on co-op with a Shanghai hotel
October 20th, 2011
Last year, Northeastern student Sherry Lee routinely walked past the Langham Hotel on Franklin Street on her way to her co-op with a public relations firm in Boston. One day, her curiosity and passion for travel led her to inquire about an internship for the fall.
But her go-getter mentality didn’t stop there. Last summer, the senior economics major got an interview on the spot with the Langham Hotel in Shanghai, while she was studying at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. The impromptu visit led to her second co-op.
From January to June, Lee served as a guest-relations officer for the Langham Yangtze Boutique Hotel in Shanghai. She greeted guests at the front desk and gave tours to business clients interested in using the hotel space for meetings.
“I thought it would be interesting to see the inner-workings of the hotel industry,” Lee said.
As part of the experiential learning opportunity, Lee created an action plan for the hotel to boost its rating on the travel website TripAdvisor. To ensure that guests would be more apt to give the hotel a favorable ranking, she met with guests individually to learn more about them and make sure their check-in processes ran smoothly. After their stay, she followed up via e-mail to ensure their experiences were as enjoyable as possible.
The experience, she said, gave her the opportunity to connect with people from many different companies around the world. Forging diverse connections, she noted, enriched her co-op experience and global perspective.
“I learned so much on this co-op about the importance of networking, and I met so many people from different types of cultures and industries,” Lee said.
After graduating at the end of the semester, the Taiwan native hopes to work in Asia, where the hotel industry is booming. Lee, who moved to the United States in 2000, would like to perfect her Mandarin by working and living in Asia.
“I definitely want to stay in the hotel industry, and I love the sales and marketing aspect,” she said. “It would also be a great opportunity to see the world.”
– by Greg St. Martin