It is no secret that the hotel industry is one of the most demanding, exhausting, merciless industries ever. The role of the ‘Marcom Managers’ is unique to this field. Very often, they are a one-person team, battling for breathing space among pressing F&B Managers, Banquet Managers, Chefs, Revenue Managers, Sales Managers and General Managers.
They are expected to have magical promotional and PR powers, drive bookings through social media, possess a certain coquettish air, and be able to juggle vendors, printers, designers, agencies, journalists, budgets, returns, and multiple reporting bosses, while keeping their sanity.
Despite the apparent glitziness of the hospitality industry, it is filled with relentless working hours, lack of weekends, ungrateful guests, and of course, inevitable corporate politics.
I cannot remember how many times I’ve been asked – you work in a….hotel? So do you like, wait tables? Ok, first of all, it takes great skill to wait tables. And secondly, contrary to popular belief, Marcom Managers do not wait tables.
The perception of the industry in India is unfortunately still very grim. It’s the thing you do if you’re not smart enough to do a traditionally intelligent job. Like sit at a computer and crunch oh-so-intelligent numbers. Or sit at a computer and enter smart data. Or sit at a computer and design a machine.
My former colleague once told me of a gruelling encounter with school authorities before they agreed to admit her daughter. They just wouldn’t understand what she did at a hotel, and why a hotelier would come to their school. “This school is for children of parents with recognisable careers only – doctors, lawyers, engineers, IT professionals, architects, and on exception, teachers.” Absurdity.
So I told everyone who asked me this question a different story. I told them my job was to personally escort guests to their rooms while carrying all their bags. Then, I would go into the kitchens to personally cook them a gourmet meal, and back to their rooms to feed them. Then I’d tuck them into bed, sing them a lullaby and kiss their foreheads goodnight. In the morning, I would gently stroke their hair to wake them up, with a cup of steaming coffee. On request and for additional pay, I would pack them a customised lunch box to take to work.
It is difficult to describe the satisfaction I get from the utterly shocked reactions.
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