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2 hotel staff who showed caring attitude to pandemic-related guests among winners of Singapore Tourism Awards

SINGAPORE — Sometime last year after the Covid-19 pandemic struck, Ms Freida Ng, a senior guest service executive at Quincy Hotel Singapore, was on duty when a migrant worker, who was serving his quarantine at the hotel, called the front desk distressed and crying.

2 hotel staff who showed caring attitude to pandemic-related guests among winners of Singapore Tourism Awards

Senior guest service executive Freida Ng, 28, at Quincy Hotel on July 16, 2021.

  • Ms Freida Ng and Ms Yvette Yong are two of the winners of the Singapore Tourism Awards 2021
  • This year’s awards “recognise and celebrate the extraordinary resilience and dedication” shown by those in the tourism industry during the pandemic
  • Ms Ng and Ms Yong said Covid-19 has changed their roles as guest service executives and altered the way they interact with guests

 

SINGAPORE — Sometime last year after the Covid-19 pandemic struck, Ms Freida Ng, a senior guest service executive at Quincy Hotel Singapore, was on duty when a migrant worker, who was serving his quarantine at the hotel, called the front desk distressed and crying.

“He was actually very stressed out about losing his job and worried about his swab test results,” said Ms Ng, 28. The worker had called the front desk seeking more information to try to make sense of his situation.

Ms Ng proceeded to calm him down and reassured him, and made it a point to call the worker daily to check on his well-being and have small talk with him to make him feel less lonely.

“That’s the least I can do for him – to provide him with a listening ear,” said Ms Ng.

In addition, Ms Ng bought a packet of murukku (a traditional Indian snack) for him to cheer him up and make him feel better.

“It’s just to let him know that we’re here for him and we care for him... I feel like it’s very important that he felt comfortable during his period of stay with us,” she added.

The migrant worker eventually tested negative for Covid-19 and returned to work.

Ms Ng is one of two winners in the Customer Service Excellence (Hotels) category of the Singapore Tourism Awards 2021, the nation’s most prestigious awards for the tourism sector. In total, there were 77 finalists across the Experience Excellence, Enterprise Excellence and Customer Service categories.

The awards were given out at a virtual ceremony on Friday (July 23), which was attended by Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong.

While the tourism industry has ground to a halt due to Covid-19, the Singapore Tourism Board said in a media release that this year’s awards “recognise and celebrate the extraordinary resilience and dedication” shown by individuals and businesses in the sector, as they continue to navigate the challenges of the pandemic.

The other winner in the Customer Service Excellence (Hotels) category is Ms Yvette Yong, a guest service executive at The Seacare Hotel.

In the early days of the pandemic last year, Ms Yong was working the night shift when she received a call from a Malaysian guest who was working in Singapore and had been boarded at the hotel.

The guest was crying because she was unable to return to Malaysia due to the movement control order imposed by the Malaysian government.

Guest service executive Yvette Yong, 21, at The Seacare Hotel on July 21, 2021. Photo: Ili Nadhirah Mansor/TODAY

Ms Yong, 21, then took a hot drink up to the guest’s room and sat with her outside her room, consoling the guest and telling her not to worry.

Being a Malaysian herself, Ms Yong was able to empathise with the guest as she herself was also unable to return home during that period.

“As a guest service executive, I am trained to provide a ‘home away from home’ experience to my guests,” said Ms Yong, who goes the extra mile in making her guests feel at home at the hotel by periodically calling to check in on them.

Because of the pandemic, many service staff in the tourism industry are unable to serve actual tourists. Both Ms Yong and Ms Ng had won the award for serving pandemic-related hotel guests.

CHANGING JOB SCOPE

Both winners spoke about how Covid-19 has changed their roles as guest service executives and how they interact with guests.

“Our usual day-to-day operations have changed because of the additional workload we have... we have to take (extra) note of our own personal hygiene and safety,” said Ms Ng.

Ms Yong said that there are more standard operating procedures to follow as compared to before the pandemic struck.

She also lamented the lack of human touch with guests, as The Seacare Hotel currently exclusively serves those on quarantine.

“Before Covid-19, we could interact with guests face to face... but the current pandemic limits our interaction with guests as they are required to stay in their rooms at all times,” added Ms Yong.

Agreeing, Ms Ng said: “We try our best to connect with our guests through phone calls, to check in on them and reassure them that we’re here for them.” Currently, Quincy Hotel Singapore also serves only those on quarantine.

Despite the challenges brought about by the pandemic, Ms Ng shared that her past training has equipped her with skills that have been crucial during this period.

“Working in the hotel industry, we have to think quickly, which is what we need during this pandemic,” said Ms Ng, adding that the crisis has required her to be agile and receptive to change.

“I’m constantly trying to encourage my team to have the courage to embrace these changes with an open mind,” she added.

Related topics

Singapore Tourism Board customer service domestic tourism hotel industry

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