After 20 years in the industry, David Fung ranks positive attitude and self-motivation as fundamental requirements for employees I AM A PEOPLE person, and in my position as director of sales at the Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel & Towers I manage the day-to-day operational strategies of the hotel. I respond to inquiries promptly, keep track of business trends, oversee corporate events and seminars, review market analyses to determine customer needs, monitor all assigned accounts and ensure that proper procedures are followed for group accounts. I believe that technical know-how can be taught, but in the hospitality industry attitude is very important. A 'can-do' attitude with strong communication skills are the basic expectations of a self-motivated salesperson. I've been in the business for more than 20 years, and I feel that sales staff are generally committed and passionate about their jobs. It is the only way to be in this industry. On any given day, I head the briefings with my sales team usually before 9am. Then, some of the sales staff meet guests to develop and maintain a good rapport with them. I'm responsible for the overall direction, co-ordination and evaluation of the department. Organisation skills are crucial, and the ability to juggle different tasks is sometimes required. We react to changes all the time and people in my position must have an adaptive attitude, and a cool head when facing customers. Instead of reacting to emotional behaviour, it is important to resolve the issue. During the year, Hong Kong is inundated with business travellers visiting trade fairs and conventions. In a sold-out situation we sometimes can't accommodate regular business customers, but as the point person I try my best to appease both ends (supply and demand) and put our customer on an absolute priority waiting list. Resolving problems using good judgment is an important part of the job. Competition is severe, and there has been a significant growth in transient business travellers who come to Hong Kong to attend conferences and meetings. We are working in a global marketplace and customers have high expectations. Extensive knowledge of sales and marketing, revenue generation and yield management is required in this position. This means we have to look at our strategies of room inventory and profit returns to improve sales. The sales department is the heart of the hotel in that our business decisions affect all of the departments; it is critical to the overall success of the hotel. I have a background in the hospitality trade and worked in Washington before coming to Hong Kong. The service level across the board is very high, but we have a shortage of the right people as a result of competition from Macau. The Sheraton, a Starwood property, has an advantage in attracting talent from a pool that is not restricted to Hong Kong. Training is a continuous process, and it is part of the job to anticipate the needs of the guests and make them feel welcome and comfortable.