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The lure of tourism

Expert tips on what it takes to succeed in the service industry

The lure of tourism

Tourism is one of the industries that brings in a huge amount of money to Thailand each year. And the most important people for the Thai tourism industry are those working in the service section, such as hotel staff, travel agents or airline stewards and stewardesses.

To be successful in this type of service work, Rookie has some tips from Suporn Amornjitranon, president of Thai-Universe Training and Testing Centre, who has more than 28 years of experience in the hotel and tourism business.

English communication skills are a must.

"This type of job requires that you meet people from around the world. English is the universal language. Without conversation skill, especially listening, you are not suited to the job.

"People from different parts of the world have different English accents. Singaporeans and Indians are good examples of people who always cause Thais to fail to understand their pronunciation. Their talking speed is also another problem.

"The easiest way to practice listening skill is to listen to anything in English without giving too much attention to its exact meaning. It could be a song on the radio or a conversation in a movie. This will help you to absorb and understand English. Just like a child."

Be eager to learn new things.

"If you are a student in tourism or hotel management, never let a summer pass by doing nothing. An internship is the best thing for the school break. It could be in tourism or at a travel agency, depending on what you're studying.

"As an intern, don't stick only to your given position. Try to find ways to learn the scope of other positions. For example, if you are an intern receptionist, you might ask those in charge if you can try being a telephone operator or information officer.

"The more and various experience you gain during an internship, the more chance you'll have of being hired as a full-time employee."

Being service minded

"It's your service, not your pretty face that will win the heart of your customers. Good service consists of three types of impression given to the customer.

"The first impression can be created easily. For example, if your customer has a child, kneel down and play with him or her. Do not just bend forward and greet.

"Once you've greeted your customer and offered them a seat, do not answer any phone calls during your conversation. You have to concentrate only on the person in front of you. This is the second impression.

"The third impression occurs when the customer departs. A simple wai is enough. However, it must be sincere. Do not wai or say goodbye and wander off at the same time. This shows disrespect.


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