Post by Lacey Hagen;
I just completed my third semester of graduate school and, while I enjoyed a short break, I am now beginning to work on my final research project. Although I find the topic interesting, research is not my strongest skill. I decided to pursue a graduate degree in hospitality because I enjoyed being in an industry that is built on personal interactions with the purpose of designing a memorable and comfortable experience for guests while building lasting relationships. I understand that research is extremely valuable to the hospitality industry and I am very fortunate to be at Temple University and surrounded by some of the brightest minds in this area of study through the National Laboratory for Tourism and eCommerce (NLTeC); however, sometimes I need a break from reading journal articles to do a different form of hospitality “research”.
There are two things that students perfect during their years at college: research techniques and the art of enjoying an adult beverage. So why not attach a professional purpose to enjoying an adult beverage? If you ask any of my friends, they will confirm that I enjoy visiting hotels either for a property tour (scheduled or impromptu) or to grab a quick drink at the restaurant, bar or lounge to soak up the atmosphere. I think it’s one of the best ways to really understand a property, brand, and company short of actually staying at the hotel. Considering that the average rate of the hotels that I like to visit are equivalent to half of one month’s rent, a drink or two is the next best option. My advice to students is to go in to the property with an agenda and ask yourself: Would I enjoy working at this property for thirteen hour shifts? Would I enjoy being here on evenings, weekends, and holidays? Would I enjoy interacting with these guests? Could I work with and/or manage these employees? Could I plan an event here? Do I prefer a property that accommodates thousands of guests or a more boutique property that accommodates a small and exclusive few? Could I sell this property? Could I market this brand? Would I be proud to call this property and company my employer? Exploring these questions is a great first step in your research of finding your place in this diverse industry.
As I mentioned earlier, two things that college students excel at are research and socializing, but a third is finding the perfect profile picture. So, I would like to share with you five of my friends’ (and fellow hospitality students) profile pictures that they took while doing some field research. They are all from various properties in New York City that attract and satisfy different travel customer segments. Even though this is just a drop in the bucket of all the unique properties that New York City has to offer, it is a decent cross-section of researchable options. I suggest to all of you students out there to take this winter break as an opportunity to do some additional research, not only to improve your understanding of the industry, but to improve your Facebook profiles as well.
Pictured is Katharina Kühnle, my former coworker and fellow summer intern at HVS, at the The Dream Downtown's lounge PH-D (quite an appropriate name of a place to conduct your research). Located in Chelsea, the Dream Downtown is one of the newest and most sought-after destinations in the city and frequented by celebrities. Note that access to PH-D is not guaranteed after 9:30pm, so you must call and plan ahead.
Pictured is Walter Kealey, an MTHM classmate at Temple University, at the Yotel New York City’s Green Lounge. The Yotel has New York’s largest hotel outdoor terrace and is located in Hell’s Kitchen. The Yotel is also a newer property but has a very futuristic atmosphere, including the Yobot, a robot on the first level responsible for storing and retrieving luggage.
Pictured are myself and Nancy Hagen (my mom) at the Gramercy Park Hotel, located in Gramercy Park, in front of original Andy Warhol artwork in the Gramercy Terrace. All employees at this property have extensive knowledge, pride and appreciation of all the unique and exclusive artwork that the Gramercy Park Hotel is famous for.
Pictured is Grace Chiao, an MTHM classmate at Temple University, at the Broadway Lounge in the New York Marriott Marquis located in Time Square. This property has over 1,800 guest rooms and 101,000 square feet of meeting space and is located in one of the most visited destinations in the world. There is never a dull moment and the energy of the property and location is quite infectious.
Pictured from left to right: Marianne Le, Lacey Hagen, Grace Chiao, and Maghan McNeils, all MTHM classmates at Temple University, at the Press Lounge in Kimpton Hotels' Ink 48, located in Hell's Kitchen. This is my favorite view in New York City and the hotel staff really takes the concept of "boutique hospitality: to heart.