Last night on Channel 4 was the first showing of Hilary Devey’s The Intern. This episode was based in The Milestone Hotel where three interns were given a week’s trial to prove they had the ability to be trained as future hotel managers… however the candidates were not told that some of the scenarios they had to handle were set up with hidden cameras and actors that were pretending to be awkward guests. So how did they get on?
The first candidate we met was Princess and she was gaining experience in housekeeping. The scenario set up for her was that the guest – a reality TV star was handcuffed to his bedpost. Poor Princess did not know where to look and whilst searching for the key was trying not to laugh. She eventually made her excuses and left the room, although was very star stuck and could not contain herself. Whilst being under the strict instructions to be as discreet as possible, the first thing she does is to go to Concierge for help. A good first point of call although she explains her predicament to the whole concierge team which is overheard by the front office staff. Concierge advise her to seek help from the maintenance department, and on her way she bumps in to her housekeeping team and lets them know the situation. Discretion is key in a five star hotel and gossiping amongst the staff is not a good start. Princess resolves the predicament by letting the guest know that she will need a member of the maintenance staff to come in and cut him free, which he agrees to. So how should Princess have handled this? It would have been better if when she went to Concierge she spoke to just one member of the team in a private back office rather than in the lobby, and asked for advice of how to handle the situation. Then she should have gone straight to maintenance and got their assistance.
The next candidate we meet is Georgia. Her scenario is that “regular” guest “Mrs Sloane” is coming to stay with her three dogs. Set up in her room are dog bowls and a doggy menu ready for their arrival. Georgia greets Mrs Sloane and is asked to take the three dogs for a walk in the park. She is told that Mossop, a lurcher, can be let off the lead so he can go for a run. So it is no surprise when Mossop, a trained acting dog, runs off. Georgia is aimlessly wandering round the park looking for the dog and then finally gives up and returns to the hotel with just two dogs. After a talking to with Hilary she bucks up her ideas, and puts up posters for the dog around the park and gets a team of staff from the hotel to help her search for the dog. When she returns to the hotel, Mossop is waiting for her in the lobby brought back by a passing stranger.
Our third candidate we meet is Talaere. He is working on the Concierge desk and is asked by a “guest” to park his Aston Martin, which he duly does. Thirty minutes later the guest asks for his car back, so Talaere goes out to bring it to the front of the hotel only to find that it is being towed away. He asks if he can pay to have the car back and is told to contact the local authority. The guest comes out of the hotel seeing his car disappearing down the road, obviously very concerned by this explaining he needs to get to a meeting and his suit and laptop are in the car. Talaere assures the guest he will sort it out. He speaks with his colleague on the concierge desk and after some coaching realises the first thing to do is to get the guest a suit so he can go to his meeting. He is told he has an hour before the guest needs to be at his meeting. So he gets the details he needs from the guest and goes off to the tailors to buy a suit, which is a five minute walk down the road. Talaere has great attention to detail and this is why Hilary thought he would make a good five star hotel candidate – however his fastidiousness means he spends almost an hour with the tailor choosing suit colours, inspecting the quality of the shirts and belts. He eventually makes his way back to the hotel with the suit although is late. Once more being late is not acceptable in a five star establishment. So the guest has his suit, however the fact that he also said he needed his laptop which was in the car was not actually addressed.
All three candidates were then given another challenge to handle. This time Princess is acting Reception Manager and has a small group of “guests” to check in, although there is no booking for them and the hotel is full. She invites them to take a seat in the conservatory whilst she deals with the situation saying that they can have complimentary tea and coffee whilst they wait. So far so good. Although our” guests” decide to order food and a bottle of sherry whilst they wait bringing the complimentary refreshments to a cost of over £300. Princess explains the overbooking situation to them and has organised for them to stay at a sister hotel, however reiterates that the refreshments are for tea and coffee only. The guests reluctantly agree to this.
Talaere is now working in food and beverage and have a couple to serve. The male “guest “has organised a surprise celebration cake to be brought in for his girlfriend with the message “Marry me”. Talare inspects the cake and checks the name “Catherine” on the cake is correct and is assured it is. He is just about to deliver the cake when he passes another colleague who says the name is spelt incorrectly and it should say “Kathryn”. Talaere immediately returns to the kitchen and asks the chef to change the name. The chef (who is in on the scenario) refuses to do this and throws the cake on the floor. Talaere then bumps in to the guest who asks if everything is ready. He tells him that the chef has just thrown the cake on the floor, but not to worry he will sort it out – too much information! This time he runs to a local cake shop and gets another cake with the name spelt correctly and returns in haste so this can be presented to the couple. So he was able to rectify the situation, although again discretion is needed when dealing with situations like this. The guest did not need to know about the incident in the kitchen.
Our final scenario is with Georgia. This time she is on the Reception desk. She has just checked in a “guest” and he asks champagne to be brought to his room. She delivers the champagne and even though she only checked him in on his own, there is a female in his bed. She opens the champagne and then leaves the room. At that point his “wife” arrives at the hotel and asks for his room number. Georgia does well not to give out the room number and says she will call the room, knowing full well that this guest is about to be caught out by his wife. She is quite good at explaining why she is going to do this, although could have come across a little more professional. The “husband” has enough time to get rid of his companion and Georgia escorts the wife to his room, and then is caught in between the two having a marital disagreement. Georgia remains calm throughout and is as discreet as possible.
So who was the job given to? Well the final decision was down to Managing Director Jonathan Raggett and out of the three Georgia was selected. A well deserved appointment and hopefully she will succeed in her hospitality career.