Michaela Pontzen's story
I started as an apprentice and it was good to be able to work in every department in the hotel. It was great experience; I learned a lot and saw how important the work of each person is.
I train ibis apprentices in reception and in the restaurant at breakfast. Apprenticeships are important to teach people something new and how to behave with clients. It is helpful to learn about a job by doing it – not everyone learns well through books. It is a good system, a combination of the classroom for one or two days and practical learning the rest of the week. That way people can put into practice what they have learned in school.
Apprenticeships are a great opportunity for people who enjoy learning from books and the converse, people who are not so good in school or are not yet confident in our language, they can still create sparkling moments for guests.
It takes a lot of planning to train apprentices because we have to consider their days in school, when they are not in the hotel and the days before that, so that they do not work late. And some people have extra lessons to help them in school. This has to be coordinated with the colleague who is guiding and working with them. We also have to liaise with the chamber of commerce to register the apprentice for the role and the exams.
In addition, I train colleagues; it is not difficult to train people who are older than me – although not many are! I teach them how to treat guests, to make a reservation and what they should write in emails, how they should express themselves. This is for those who have not been in the company very long. I love to see how people develop and become confident in their work.
I have been here 25 years and started in reservations. I also helped in other departments such as the restaurant, kitchen or housekeeping. I enjoyed that variety; it is very important to get experience in a number of departments and hospitality provides that opportunity, unlike many other sectors.
If you are new to hospitality, it is important to be friendly towards customers. Even if someone asks you a question and you don’t know the answer, that doesn’t matter as long as you are polite and friendly. Tell the guest you will find out or ask a colleague to help them.
And if you are thinking about working in hospitality, there are numerous possibilities to work in different areas and find out what you are good at. And you work with people; if you like people, hospitality will be right for you.
- Michaela Pontzen
- Reservations Manager
- ibis Munich Garching (Germany)