Continuing to my third week internship at Thiripyitsaya, I was assigned to intern at the Front Office of Thiripyitsaya Resort, which housed the reception and the concierge.
The reception accommodated the cashier, room reservation, Night Audit, and vehicles renting programs. Constructed in an open-typed style with a blend of Burmese & Japanese architecture, I would say that Thiripyitsaya’s reception is the most beautiful one I have ever seen in life. Sitting right in front of Thant Kyi Mount and along the Ayeyarwaddy River, it is well-accepted that the resort possesses the most gorgeous view among other resorts in Bagan City. Sitting right in front of Thant Kyi Mount and along the Ayeyarwaddy River bank, it is well-accepted that the resort possesses the most gorgeous river view among other resorts in Bagan City.
From the training at the reception, I have learned that the reception not only is a place that represents the whole image of a hotel, but also it is a communication medium between the customers and the management teams. When encounter a complaint from customers, the receptionists help make negotiations with the guests to resolve it. When a guest come to the resort for check in, the receptionist would create a for the guest and document his/her information into the profile. From guests reservation to documenting guests information, Thiripyitsaya uses OPERA System to manage rooms assignments, reservation, occupancy rate, and guests’ check-ins & outs. The OPERA System also helps the management teams to keep records of guests’ background information, preferences, and locate repeated guests. After OPERA System was installed at the resort, management teams from all departments are able to supervise the in-house occupancy rate, rooms availability, housekeeping, etc. Overall, OPERA System has helped the Resort to function productively and efficiently in delivering services to the guests. It also helps the management teams to be organized at handling Resort finances and room managements. Besides documenting guests information internally, the reception was also asked to send the guest list to the Ministry of Tourism & Traveling to keep track of the number of inbound tourists.
Regarding the room reservations, there are four types of customers at Thiripyitsaya. They are Free Independent Travelers (FITs), Travel Agents (TAs), Companies, and Online Travel Agents (OTAs). While I was interning at Thiripyitsaya, the reservation was divided into two division. Thiripyitsaya’s reception was assigned to arrange the reservations from TAs. Whereas the Thiripyitsaya’s Sales Dept. was in charge of the OTAs. A room sold to each type of customer is varied because different types of customers are given with different rates or signed with different contract rates. For example, the rate sold to TAs is lower than that to FITs because TAs bring abundant guests to the Resort. And the rate sold to companies could be the lowest because companies stay for a long period at the Resort. Nevertheless, based on different conditions, the actual selling price that guests get from OTAs could be lower than that of FITs, or the actual selling price that guests get from TAs could be equivalent to that for OTAs. From the resort front office’s manager, I have learned that this is how hotels are operating these days. At this point, almost 80% of hotels in Myanmar are linked with TAs/OTAs. With the annual rise of tourists in Myanmar, the number of hotels is increasing daily as well. In Bagan only, there are about 43 hotels operating currently.
In addition to the reception, Thiripyitsaya’s front office also placed another desk for the concierge (tour desk.) There, guests are able to learn about the activities and promotional packages in depth that Thiripyitsaya offers. The activities that Thiripyitsaya currently offers are: meditation at the Pavilion, exploration around the historical Bagan, cultural immersion activities, and back to nature programs. Moreover, Thiripyitsaya also offers to coordinate tour guides, hot balloon rides, taxis, electric & manual bike rentals, cooking classes, pagoda dinners, etc. When a guest makes a request regarding these activities, the Concierge and the Reception would work closely to fulfill the request.
To sum up my week at the Front Office, I would like to state that I like working there. During my times as a trainee at the reception, I met many friendly guests who conversed with me regarding where they were from, why they came to stay at Thiripyitsaya Resort, why I was interning there, etc. From America to Ireland, from Sweden to Vietnam, conversing travel experiences with guests from around the world helped me to expand my knowledge and also learn more about my country in the eyes of foreigners.