A career with suite rewards

YP cadet Erica Kwan

A hotel floor manager irons out the little details that make your stay memorable

YP cadet Erica Kwan |

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YP cadet Erica Kwan learned the ropes from Carter Lam
Carter Lam Wing-fung works at The Langham, a five-star hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui. As he likes to keep things clean, a career in housekeeping seemed perfect for him.

His job is to make every guest feel pampered and comfortable. It's not an easy task, though, as there are 500 rooms in the hotel.

After finishing his A-levels, Lam applied to the Swiss Hotel Management School, and studied hotel and tourism management. The course included internships in Hong Kong and Switzerland.

Lam chose to train at the The Langham as a student and returned for a full-time position in 2012.

"I chose this job because I enjoy clean environments and neat spaces," he says. "Being in charge of housekeeping allows me to maintain a tidy place for guests to relax in."

Moving up

Newbies start off as a Room Attendant whose main duty is to tidy the rooms.

Lam's position is Floor Manager, which is a junior supervisory role. He focuses on the quality control of rooms (making sure the rooms are perfect before guests check in) and supervising room attendants.

The next step up is Assistant Housekeeper, a position that involves more planning and administrative work. Further up the career ladder is Housekeeping Manager, a job that requires more than 10 years of experience.

The highest position in housekeeping is the Executive Housekeeper. Both the Housekeeping Manager and Executive Housekeeper oversee the department's operations.

A great housekeeper

"Time management skills are vital as you need to prioritise your tasks. For example, you need to allocate manpower to tidy the rooms that guests will come to first," Lam says.

"You also need good communication skills. We aim for a classic and elegant tone when speaking to guests. Most importantly, it is essential to be able to deal with tricky situations. For example, there was once an angry guest who told my team off. We had to listen to him patiently before we apologised and tried to make it up to him."

A day in the life

Lam gets to work at 8.30am and starts the day by organising staff to do the cleaning. "I will then read reports and make special arrangements if we have VIPs, such as celebrities or loyal guests. After that, I attend the morning briefing," he says.

"For the rest of the day, I inspect rooms and see if there are any problems with the facilities and furniture that need to be reported to the maintenance department. I also take orders from the front desk and see whether there are any special requests from the guests."

Salaries and benefits

Room attendants can expect to receive HK$13,000 to HK$14,000 per month. Junior supervisor posts such as floor manager receive around HK$16,000 to HK$18-000. Hotel staff can eat for free at the staff canteen.

Erica's experience shadowing Lam's job:

"After putting on a room attendant uniform, I was ready to work. I had to fluff pillows, change bed spreads and clean the bath taps. These tasks may seem easy, but try making a king-sized bed and you'll have sore arms.

"I learned that a room attendant should be meticulous and pay attention to the smallest details so that guests can enjoy a comfortable stay."

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