Work Experience at The Whitehouse Hotel.

Since the beginning of the course we have been taking part in weekly work experience sessions at The Whitehouse Hotel. We are expected to work alongside Kelly, who is the Events and Conferences Co-ordinator, and Sam, the Food and Beverage manager. The purpose of the work experience is to give us first hand experiences of the events environment.

Since starting my placement, I have had some very mixed experiences. I have spent time with staff upstairs, preparing for events, and some downstairs with Kelly, the events co-ordinator, learning about bookings and the system she uses. I enjoy my time with Kelly, more than I do when I am upstairs, due to feeling like I am learning something useful when I am with her. Being upstairs allows me to use previous work experience, gained though jobs, to help, but I feel like I am not learning very much. I also feel like when I am upstairs, there is not always enough for me to help with, so I end up doing tasks the staff do, such as hoovering.

On the 10th December, I was with Kelly in the office. She asked me to set up templates and booking forms for the Bavarian night they are holding in February. I did this without a problem. The next task she had for me was to input some customer data into a website called Revinate. This website automatically sends out feedback questionnaires for customers to fill out, the answers are then used to calculate a score on a monthly and yearly basis. The staff have a target score to reach each month. This score can then be compared to other local competitors, as well as other hotels within the Redefine:BDL company.

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Food and Beverage.

According to (Allen, 2009) food and drink can play a pivotal part of an event, whether it is the main focus of the whole event (such as gourmet food and drink events) or can be something guests can interact with, whether it be in the form of edible centrepieces, or take home gifts.

Allen (2009) also suggests trying to incorporate the theme into the food and drink, the example she gives is for a Texas theme you could serve appetisers such as Hickory smoked Salmon and cocktails such as a Seven and Seven. The main meal, or buffet, would also carry the Texan theme along with the events entertainment.

For something completely different, Allen (2009) offers the idea of trying something different to wine tasting. This could be anything from whiskey samplers to custom cocktails. This breaks up the normal hum drum of standard events and leaves the attendees with a talking point and something to remember. Whatever the drinks choice, the venues supply of glassware should be questioned, especially if a specific type of glass is required. If they are in short supply, the organiser could be footing a bill for expensive, last minute hiring of glasses.

Allen (2009) also states that the service of food can be integral to an event keeping its momentum. If food is a buffet option, having more than one service station can help keep people moving. Along with drink and entertainment stations dotted around too, the event should be able to keep its buzz.

If there is no seating option for the event, so all guests remain standing, considerations should be taken as to which foods are served. Allen (2009) says to bear in mind that no food is served with dipping sauce or bones and all food should be bite size. Consideration should also be made as to whether guests will be given plates or just napkins. Whether guests are given plates for their nibbles, or if there is a full sit down option, the venues supply of crockery needs to be questioned. The last thing an organiser wants to be doing is hiring in extra crockery at a premium price.

The most important aspect of serving food, and to some extent beverages, is allergies, dietary requirements and intolerances. Allen (2009) states that the easiest way to gauge guests need is to include a section on allergies, intolerances and other requirements on registration forms. This gives the organisers a heads up to any special orders they may need to put in with the venue.

 

References:

Allen, J. (2009). Event planning. Mississauga, Ont.: J. Wiley & Sons Canada.

 

Thursday 3rd December: What a day!

On Thursday, we were invited to attend a CVS (Community Volunteer Service) meeting at the Whitehouse. The purpose of these meetings is for charities to meet with local business to discuss ways they can approach problems they are experiencing, usually involving engaging and recruiting the public, or specific demographics.

I was sat on the table with Debbie Gibbon, who is the lead on many aspects of care charities within Telford. The problem she was facing was how to engage local businesses to become “Dementia Friendly” and to have a point of contact of carers, where they can approach and ask for advice or be pointed in the right direction of services and help.

The conversation quickly turned to how it could be seen as Corporate Social Responsibility for companies to have this help available, but the general consensus was you have to make the company feel as though they are being rewarded for helping the charity. Various ways were suggested and I think Debbie took a lot of ideas away with her. The next problem arose, which was how to reach out to carers who are not known, or do not know that they are a carer.

Debbie told us there are approximately 17,500 carers in Telford and Wrekin, but only 2,500 are known to them. She stated their current approach was not working in helping them identify the people who potentially needed their help. We were given one of the Carers Centre’s current leaflets to look at, which we quickly decided was to vague. Nothing about the leaflet screamed “Pick me up! I could be useful to you!” so we thought it would likely just be overlooked. Talk quickly turned to a mobile app, which would point people in the right direction of useful services and advice in times of need. Carers often think they aren’t eligible for help, so do not look for it, this app could help them realise this isn’t always the case.

We also discussed ways to approach people who might know someone who is carer and does not realise it. These were the people we decided the charity needed to target to help them support the 15,000 unknown carers in the local community.

If you know someone who is a carer, whether they realise it or not, and they live in Telford, please direct them to http://telfordcarers.org.uk/ where they can find help and support in many areas.

 

Once we arrived at college, we were straight into working on our assignments as deadlines are dooming. The part of the day people were anticipating most, however, was Beth’s lesson. During Beth’s lesson we would be pitching our event ideas to Joel, from Jailhouse Tours, for him to consider holding at The Dana in Shrewsbury.

I was feeling confident about my idea of holding a Notorious Serial Killer tour, I wasn’t feeling to great about standing in front of everyone and pitching it though!

5pm arrived, along with Joel, and the butterflies began. I was up first and petrified. I feel I started off great, clear speech and lots of enthusiasm but then all of a sudden I lost my train of thought and began to stumble over my words. I internally panicked, knowing that once that starts, a stammer is pretty imminent. Luckily I made it to the end without too much of an issue! Joel seemed to like my idea, he said he thought they had thought of everything, or been presented it, but this hadn’t yet come up. He had lots of feedback, and ways it could be altered to fit properly, but he seemed to think it had some potential.

Once it was over, and I could relax, I wondered what I had ever been worried about. I had written the pitch well, and had covered every aspect that needed to be covered. I think I just need to work on my confidence with public speaking!

Pitch Reviews.

On Monday, we were set the task of reviewing each others pitches for Joel. In the time given, I was able to review both Lauren and Sophie R’s pitches.

Lauren – Serial Killer Charity Ball

I really enjoyed looking through Lauren’s pitch, it was well thought out and included some very interesting details that may not have previously been thought of. She included a potential floor plan of what A-Wing, the intended location at The Dana, which I thought showed she had put a lot of thought and effort into the idea.

Although costings were vague, due to a lot of competition and potential for Joel to have contacts in the industry, I thought the ticket pricing structure was fair and well thought out.

The only point I made to Lauren, was to maybe include some research into other unique and odd venues that have held such events. I made this point so she could gauge potential missing costs, ticket prices and interest in the event in general.

Overall I feel Lauren has a very strong pitch, which she will present with great confidence.

 

Sophie R – Scavenger Hunt

Sophie also has a very strong pitch, her idea of a Scavenger Hunt in the prison is a really good one. I didn’t find anything she really needed to change, just a few questions that may be asked by Joel. Most of my questions she could answer already which shows she has thought this through very thoroughly.

Sophie had researched similar events that had, or were, happening around the world, and included this information.

Overall I feel that Sophie also has a strong pitch, which she will also present with great confidence.