Here is an update on my internship, I realize I have not updated in a long time, so this is a condensed version of my journals for the first 5 weeks.
Week of March 05, 2012
This week, I was introduced to the Accounts Department where I will be spending 90% of my internship. I worked with a girl named Yanet (Janet) to learn how to create new accounts for people who buy Savoy afternoon tea and dinner vouchers. I really like her because she took me under her wing to make sure I always had fun was included in this new place. Once we create the accounts, we add the voucher amount and the postage so that when people come in, they are able to redeem the vouchers in the shops. After the first day, I was able to do it on my own because it is pretty mind numbing to do. However, it is fun and interesting. This week I also started the reconciliation of operations packets. These are for the audit that will take place in April or May. The department is backlogged from last December, so it is important to get all this put together. This is all I really did this week, but next week I will be head of a project to clean out the department of old paperwork.
Week of March 12-16
This week I spent a lot of time sorting through the store room in the accounts department. They are doing a sort out, so I helped clear all the old paperwork from 2010 through May 2011 in preparation for their external audit in late April and May. I labeled 90 boxes to be put into storage for 9 years. Besides this, I also completed the Ops Packs from December of last year until the most recent available. With these two major tasks completed, the week was finished. I did not do much accounting at all this week besides filing, but next week should be better because one of the girls is leaving on holiday for the next two weeks. I look forward to doing most of the work she normally does and perhaps even to have a tour of the Savoy from top to bottom. Rumor has it that Danny De Vito is in residence starting Saturday, so I might even catch a glimpse of him. (Hopefully!)
Week of March 19th – 24th
This week, I covered for one of the young ladies who was on holiday. I created accounts for vouchers so that when people come in they can redeem them in restaurants or for overnight stays, but I also redeemed vouchers that have already been used, so it took my accounting skills one step further. This week I also took over house charges, which are checks that have been charged to the Savoy Hotel either because an employee needed a meal, a general or hotel manager has delivered something complimentary, or a guest has complained or been a longtime guest.
This Saturday, I worked a Kosher event, and was able to take a day in the kitchen. I learned how to make a kosher meal, bake some really delicious cakes, and how to use a knife properly. I even got to wear a chef’s uniform, and the servers would call me chef! It was a great experience. Next week, I will be able to spend a day with housekeeping and then in concierge!
Week of March 25th– 31st
This week, I was able to learn different sides of the accounting in the office. I learned all about house charges, invoice reconciliation, and more about voids and the reports that accompanied them. I was also able to finish the excel void report worksheet, which future people in the office will be able to use. This will give restaurant managers the ability to see who is most responsible for dropping reports. However, besides all the paperwork I was sorting through trying to get the office prepared for month end, I got to experience three really interesting things.
As part of the auditing process in the accounts department, each outlet must submit a report showing the amount of merchandise they currently have in storage. On Friday, I completed my first audit by counting the different wines, spirits, alcohol, and refreshment drinks in the Savoy’s cellar. They have all of the bottles labeled in silver cubbies. I was not much good at counting because I have no experience in knowing what certain posh bottles look like, so an attendant spent some time showing me around and telling me all about the different things they have. One of the coolest bottles there had to be the Jack Daniel’s special edition whiskey, but I also got to see a whiskey signed by the queen. It is supposed to be for royal occasions. The attendant also told me the cellar used to store horses back when it was a palace and prior to the invention of cars, so it was really interesting to see some of the remnants left by the past. He said where The Savoy stood now, had been the palace (owned by the Count of Savoy), then a medical facility during the war, abandoned and used by the homeless, and then refurbished back in the 20’s. I also heard a ghost story that the entire place burned, and there were many people that were trapped below. The entire process was really intriguing, and I am so glad I got the chance to experience the wine cellar. When I left that day, one of the security officers took me to see the roof of the hotel, and it one of the most beautiful things I have been able to see in London so far. You could see the entire city.
On Saturday, I was able to experience a different side of the hotel. Last week, I was in the kitchens, and this week I worked in Housekeeping after working in the Accounts department for an hour or two. I worked as a maid for the first couple hours, and the work was fun but very difficult. We cleaned everything, including under the beds and high dusting, and we changed the duvet covers even if the guests were staying overnight again. All of the rooms were beautifully arranged, and each had its own personality with a view of the river and the London Eye. What I liked the most though was the “fast-filling” tub that The Savoy became famous for back in the day. I mostly just miss taking a bath though. The most interesting part of housekeeping is that they truly cater to each guest. If it was for a VIP, we would leave workout clothes, flowers, and the ability to have dry cleaning specially delivered to their room and any in room dining for a very discounted price if it was not complimentary. For rooms with children in them, we left them small gifts depending on their age. For the very young, we left them a coloring book and colored pencils, a crib or small bed, tiny slippers, and a baby’s bathrobe. For the older children, we left a small book and Casper black cat that related, some larger slippers, and a child’s bathrobe. For the rooms we needed these special things, the porters would bring us anything we asked for. After working with the maids, I was able to follow a porter around as he ran to and from the laundry and closets. It was his job to keep the pantry of linens full and to keep the maids prepared. The day was interesting, and the hard work humbled me.
Week of April 1-5
This week I was quite excited because I was able to work in three different departments. On Monday, I worked in accounts, but I was able to see a different side of it, mainly Accounts Payable, performed stock checks in different revenue centers for the hotel. I was able to see the River Restaurant, Thames Foyer, Savoy Tea, Simpson’s on the Strand, the Butler’s Tea and Coffee offices, and the American Bar. When I went to each restaurant or office, I counted all the wines, champagnes, sodas, and spirits to audit the venues for correctness. It was interesting to see each of these places, but I was quite busy that day because I was preparing three days’ worth of house charges on my own as well as preparing for my big days coming up the next day and Thursday.
Tuesday, I came in to the office and received my florist uniform. For the first half of the day I roamed around the hotel with a florist who checked all the flowers for water and freshness. Each arrangement was so beautiful to me, but I could tell I was only seeing it them naïve eyes. She would look at them and be able to tell whether they were getting enough water, or needed to be moved. It was amazing to me. I did not have the chance to arrange any flowers myself, but I did cut some orchids to place on tables in the Thames Foyer. After lunch, I went back to accounts, but I was not to work much because my manager offered me the chance to go see more of the hotel. This was the day I had the opportunity to see the Royal Suite and suite in the design of a famous opera singer. The Royal Suite was more luxurious than I could ever imagine. When we walked in, it was like walking into a set of rooms fit for a king or queen. It was set up as an entire side of the hallway facing onto the Thames River. Each set of windows had a view of the London Eye, Big Ben, and Parliament, so it was very nice to see. The day ended up being very rewarding overall.
Wednesday was another big day in accounts because I again had another opportunity to learn more about the hotel. I spent most of it working on catching up for Tuesday, but after lunch, I met with one of the financial controllers for our office. He went through the month of March’s PNL’s, which stand for Profit and Loss Report. He was very thorough when he explained everything on them and even taught me how to do simple analyses of the numbers. I was humbled to have been given this kind of time. After meeting with him, I was then ushered to the Revenue Manager’s Office to meet about some more numbers. This time, he gave me a more in depth view of how the hotel decides to operate. There was a lot of outside analysis to look at, so the time with him ran over two hours. Again, I was humbled to be given some of his time. After these meetings, I met with the head of laundry to be measured for my uniform for tomorrow.
Thursday I worked in the front office aka, the grand entrance. I talked to many of the guests, but my favorites were the elderly women that came in for afternoon tea. They would come in and talk about the restoration and all the famous people that would stay at the hotel. I learned a lot about the hotel from them. The actual entrance itself was lifted and brightened. When they were restoring the entrance, they discovered the beautiful ceilings and decided to keep all the woodwork. They auctioned off all the dark wood and replaced it with a lighter version, and decided to replace a lot of the old parrot-like wallpaper with more modern versions.