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interviewer: What exactly are Free Sale Agents?
reservations manager: Well, every week, or even daily at busy periods, we send out availability charts to Free Sale Agents, who are usually in the States oi Furope, and are usually either part of our own company or reputable agents. They sell rooms at an agreed rate - normally the corporate rate -which is arranged by the Sales and Marketing Department. They are told every week what rooms they can sell and if they can sell at a discounted rare or not. The Free Sale Agent doesn't need to check with us first, so it lowers administration costs; they just send in a confirmation .sheet.
interviewer: What about Allocation Holders?
reservations manager: Allocation Holders are agents who have a certain number of rooms that they agree to sell in our hotel. They normally sell on FIT rates — Fully Inclusive Tariff rates - which are from the leisure side of the business and are cheaper than corporate rates. The customer pays them directly, they get commission and pass on what is left to the hotel. The rate is agreed with the Sales and Marketing Department. An Allocation Holder usually has up ro twenty rooms over a weekend, on a seventy-two hour release - in other words, by Wednesday, the hotel can take the rooms back and re-sell them.
receptionist: Good evening. Can I help you? guest: Well. I hope you can. I'm in room
607 and frankly, it's disgusting. I'm
extremely annoyed. receptionist: Oh, dear. What exactly is the
guest: Everything. For a start, the room is
ridiculously small. I specilically requested a
large room. receptionist: I see. Is there anything else? guest: Yes, there is! It's absolutely filthy.
Yesterday, when I arrived, it was dirty, and
it's quite obvious that it hasn't been cleaned
for days - the bath's got dirty marks all over
it and there's dusr everywhere. receptionist: Well, that's strange: they
should have cleaned ii this morning and
yesterday. Are you sure? guest: Of course I'm sure! I know dirt when 1
see it! And another thing: the sheets haven't
been changed. ki i i ptionist: Oh, dear. I'll send room
service up with some clean sheets, and I'll
make sure the room is cleaned first thing
tomorrow morning. guest: Tomorrow! I'm afraid that's not good
enough. I want it cleaned now, immediately,
do you hear? receptionist: Well, I'm terribly sorry, but
that's not possible. The cleaning staff have all
finished now. You should have complained
guest: What? This is totally unacceptable! If you can't clean my room then I want to move.
receptionist: I'm awfully sorry, but we're
fully booked. guest: 1 don't believe this. 1 demand to see
receptionist: Good evening. Can I help you?
guest: Well, I hope you can. I'm in room 607 and frankly, it's disgusting. I'm extremely annoyed.
RECEPTIONIST: OK. Mrs Jenkins, isn't it?
receptionist: Now, what exactly is wrong? guest: Well, for a start, the room is very small
- I requested a large room. receptionist: Actually, room 607 is one of
our larger rooms. guest: Is it? Well, I'm bitterly disappointed,
I'm afraid. Also, it's very dirty: the bath
hasn't been cleaned and the sheets haven't
been changed. receptionist: Oh, I'm terribly sorry, Mrs
Jenkins. It must be most upsetting for you.
I'm quite sure there's been some mistake. I'll
send someone up immediately r<> look- ir ir guest: Well, really I'd like to move room
receptionist: 1 understand. We are very busy, but I'll see what I can do. Why don't you wait in the lounge bai while 1 soil this out. I'll arrange tor a complimentary drink for you.
guest: Well, OK, then.
receptionist: I really am most sorry, Mrs Icnkins, for the inconvenience you've suffered.
woman: I must tell you about this one hotel
we stayed in, about three years ago. friend: Where?
woman: Well, it was just a little place in the country. We went for our anniversary -thought it would be relaxing and romantic. We'd seen it advertised in a magazine and it looked really quiet and peaceful.
friend: And wasn't it?
woman: Well, nor exactly, no! For a start, when we arrived on the Friday evening, there was no one at the desk, so we rang the bell and waited, but nobody came. Then we heard voices in the back room, shouting and getting louder and louder, so we rang the bell again and eventually this little red-faced man popped our and shouted, 'Yes? What do you want?'
friend: Ha ha.
woman : Well, we were a bir taken aback, but we explained we had a reservation and he calmed down and we checked in. He told us the room number - 106 ...
friend: You've got a good memory!
woman: Well, there's a reason.
woman: Anyway, he gave us the key and off we went, only to find that the key didn't fit the door. It turned out that he'd given us the right key but the wrong room - wc should have been in room 107.
friend: And was the room OK?
woman : Yes, it was fine - the bathroom was a bit small, but OK. There were no towels, though. 1 went down to ask for some and hc-just said, 'You want towels? You didn't bring one?' I was furious! Anyway, he apologized and brought lissome.
friend: Ha ha ha. Sounds awful.
woman: Well, it doesn't end there! It went from bad to worse. Dinner was a disaster. The service was appalling. The waiter was drunk and could barely stand upright, let alone carry the food. He dropped my soup all over rhe floor. And rhe food was vile -tasteless and overcooked.
friend: Did you complain?
woman: We were sick of complaining! It was more trouble than it was worth. We just left and walked along the river to the local pub, which was lovely. But then we went back to the hotel to spend the night.
friend: Oh no! What happened then?
woman: We got back and went to bed. So far so good. But then after about ten minutes a
horrible screaming noise started. We didn't know what it was. It sounded like someone being murdered, but we came to the conclusion it must be to do with the water pipes. Well, whatever it was, it went on all night and we hardly slept at all. By the morning we'd had enough. There was no way we were going to spend another minute there. We got our things together, had breakfast, which was surprisingly good, and asked for the bill. He got all upset and asked why we were leaving, at which point we complained about everything. He got really annoyed and said we'd have to pay for the second night because we'd made a reservation. Well, he eventually backed down after we threarened ro write to the local tourist board and the local newspapers, but he still tried to charge us for some newspapers we never had.
friend: Did you go to another hotel?
woman: Oh no, we just gave up and went home. Our weekend was already ruined. But anyway, the final chapter in the horrible saga happened about a month later. I was reading the paper and 1 came across a story about a murder in a country hotel. Guess which hotel?
woman: Yes! There were photos of it
plastered all over the paper. The hotel owner had killed his wife after a blazing row and hidden the body in one of the bedrooms. But a guest was given the wrong key by mistake and found the body by chance.
friend: Oh no, that's horrible!
woman: And worst of all: guess which room the body was hidden in.
friend: Oh, not yours. I don't believe it.
woman: Yes, number 107!
representative: Right, everyone. Now I want to tell you about some ot the excursions you can go on. You don't have to stay by the hotel pool all day every day, you know! There's a lot to see on the island of Crete and we've arranged sonic ven .spei lal c\i ursioris tor you. I'm just going to tell you about some of them. On Monday, we have a trip called '( ailrural Crete , where we visit many of the different cultural sights on the island. If you come on this tour, you'll see one of the earliest examples of Minoan civilization at Phaestos, and also rhe Roman ruins at Gortys. On Tuesday, we have a trip called 'The Best of the West'. This is a coach tour along the coast to the west of the island, driving through some spectacular mountain scenery and stopping at two lovely Cretan towns - Rethymnon and Chania ... Yes, madam?
guest i: How much do these excursions cosr?
representative: Well, 'the Best ol the West' tour is 6,400 drachmas for adults and half-price for children. Now, wc also have a trip to the ancient Minoan city of Knossos on Wednesday and on .Saturday. This is one ot the most famous archaeological sights. You can see the remains of the old palace and city - it's over 3,000 years old.
guest 2: What day did you say it was?
representative: Wednesday and Saturday. So, as 1 was saying, if you come on this trip you can experience some of the finest examples of Minoan culture. Also on Wednesday, we have a very special evening of Cretan dancing and drinking. We drive-out to a little mountain village where the locals entertain us in the open air with some beautiful dancing and a light meal accompanied by the local drink, raki — don't drink too much ot it because n s very strong!
The price ol 5,700 drachmas tor adults includes the meal anil rhe drink. The coach will leave at six p.m. and we'll return around midnight.
guest i: You said it's in the open air. What'll we do it it rains?
representative: Well, I don't think it's very likely to rain at this time of the year. But if it does rain, we'll go inside and eat in the restaurant there. Now. there's just two more trips I want to tell you about. The first is on Sunday and it's tor those of you who are very strong and fit! It's called the 'Samaria Adventure'. It involves leaving the hotel at six o'clock in the morning on Sunday, and driving to the top ot Samaria Gorge. You then have to walk seventeen kilometres through one of the most beautiful natural sights in Europe. You finish up many hours lain at the beach and harbour where a ferry takes you along the coast and baik to votir coach. If you're fit and love adventure, then you'll love this trip. If you come, bring plenty ol water and we.u good strong shoes, finally, a much more leisurely trip is the Saniorini cruise which runs on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. It's a delightful boat trip to the impressive volcanic island of S.mtorini. You can have a donkey ride up to the town, eat lunch, do some shopping, and then return to the cruise ship in the evening, when there'll also be dinner served and daniing.
GUEST v. What rime do we get back?
re pr km n i ati ve: Probably about midnight. Now, here are the booking forms. If you have any questions, or it you want any advice, please ask me.
guest 4: Yes, I'd like to see some of the Minoan ruins, but I've heard there's a lot of walking and steps ,11 Knossos, and I'm not very good at walking.
representative: Mmm. Well, why don't you come on the Cultural Crete excursion -there's not so much walking there and you still see lots of beautiful sights.
guest 3: Does it matter which day we go on the Santorini cruise? Is there any difference?
representative: No, the tour's the same on each day, but if I were you I'd wait till the Thursday or Friday. By that time you'll be more used to the sun; you're out in the sun quite a lot on that trip. You could always spend a day or two exploring the town here
Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Jenny and 1 welcome you on this tour of historic Charleston. I'd like to introduce you to our driver. Tom.
Our tour today will take about three hours but we'll be stopping to visit a few places and to take photographs. It's a very hot day out there so we'll take it easy. As you can see, the coach is air-conditioned, but we can adjust ir if you want. Anyway, let's begin. As we leave the hotel, we're driving down Meeting Street towards the river front. On your left is the Old Maikct ami ju.si opining up or) your right is the Gibbes Museum of Art, which contains one of the finest collections of American paintings, prints, drawings ...
Now as we pass this fine church on your left - St Michael's, the oldest church in the city, built in 1761 — we are in the centre of the Historic District. As you can see, virtually every house here is a fine example of southern architecture. These houses were nearly all owned by rich planters who came to Charleston and the coast in the summer to escape the heat and the mosquitoes of the back-country. If you look down to your left, you'll see the Heyward-Washington House, built in 1772 by Thomas Heyward, one of the men who signed the American Declaration of Independence ...
OK, ladies and gentlemen. The river is now in front of us on the other side of this rather delightful park. On the left you can see the
Calhoun Mansion, perhaps the finest of the Charleston historic houses, although it was built a little later, in 1876, as a Victorian showpiece. I'll tell you a little more about that in a moment, as we'll be stopping there soon. The park is known as the Battery, or, officially. White Point Gardens, and you can see examples of cannons and other war relics. Charleston was a very important military centre, especially during the War of Independence when the Americans lought many bartles with the British fleet. We'll be getting off the coach in a moment and walking along the harbour wall to Calhoun Mansion, and from the wall you'll see many examples of this military and naval hisrory -forts from the era of the War of Independence, and from more recent times the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown. OK, we'll get off now. Please stay with me. If we do get separated tor any reason, we'll be meeting at the co:i< Ii again in one hour's time at lour o'clock at the Calhoun Mansion ...
Welcome back. I hope you enjoyed the Mansion. It certainly is something special, I think you'll agree. We're now going to drive a little way out of the historic town and visit the Charles Towne Landing, which will be our final stopping-point for today ...
We're now crossing over the Ashley River Memorial Bridge, and the Charles Towne Landing is just over there on your right. Let me tell you a little about it. This is the place where the first settlement was made in 1670. It has now been made into a large park with exhibits showing the colony's history, a recreation of a small village, all in a delightful wooded atmosphere ...
We're now back at the hotel. If you want to visit some shops then King Street, the main shopping area, is just one block ahead of you. Thank you for your attention. I hope you enjoyed the trip, and 1 hope you all enjoy the rest of your vacation here in Charleston.
interviewer: Donald, you said that it is important to treat all your guests well, but differently. Could you explain what you mean by that?
donald: Yes, of course. Like any other company, we, as a hotel, need to be able to identify those customers who are impon.mt to us. Just as an airline will try to offer a better-quality service to first-class passengers, we'll try to provide a higher standard for our important guests. Business travellers, for example, generally expect a higher class of service. Also, because they are frequent travellers, business people are potential regular customers and it is very, very important for the hoiel to attract regular guests. Some of our business clients have been coming here for years because, we like to think, we look after them well.
interviewer: So, are all business people treated the same?
donald: No, using the same logic, we like to distinguish between different types of business guests, too. Some have Very Important Person status, or VIP for short. A typical VIP guest might be a customer, like a company salesperson, who makes reguLtr visits. The VIP business guest soon becomes well-known by all the Ironr-of-house staff -indeed we have one Italian salesman who wc see on almost a weekly basis! Then there is the CIP, who is a Company Important Person, which means he is an importani person in a company which the hotel does a lot of business with. That might be a company that makes regular use of our conference facilities or business aparrmenrs, for example. Finally, top of the range is the WP, or very, very important person, such as the managing director of an important company. Of course, not all managing
directors are WPs, and businessmen are not the only important people.
interviewer: So, how are they treated differently?
donald: Well, unlike the normal business guest, the VIP has his or her room allocated in advance. We make sure we have all the necessary information about the guest and his company on the computer. We'll know what kind of room he likes, what side of the hotel, and so on. So there's just a simple check-in procedure. The duty manager is made aware of the VIP's presence in the hotel, but lie doesn't usually come out to meet him. For the CIP, the room is also allocated in advance. However, all CIP rooms are double-checked, to make sure tb.u everything is OK, and sonic additional rati Ma are usually included. For example, if a CIP has asked for something in the past, we try to make sure it s there again on his or her reiutii. Again, check-in is very simple and the duty manager does try to meet the (.1 Ps if at all possible.
interviewer: OK, so there's extra attention to detail,
donald: Right. Then, there's the WP, Whereas CIP rooms are double-checked, all WPs have their rooms treble-checked, rhe
last i bet k by the senior housekeeper or duty
manager. What's more, a lull range of extras is provided, including flowers, wine, chocolates, etc. For a WP, there's no need to check in at Reception. The duty manager always meets and accompanies the guest to his or her room, where check-in procedures can be completed. In other words: for us, all our guests are important, but some guests are definitely more important than others.
interviewer: Margaret, can you tell us a little bit about yourself? I know you travel quite a lot in your job. Can you tell us about some ol the business trips you go on?
margaret: Certainly. As Marketing Director, most of my travel is abroad as I'm working with agents, mainly in Europe, but also in Japan and Brazil. Many of the trips are exhibitions and conferences, but also sometimes I'll go off my own bat to visit agents or contacts that we have already made or arc hoping to establish.
interviewer: How do you usually arrange these trips?
margaret: If it's a trade fair or exhibition then it will often come as a package, so the hotel, the stand, and the flight will all come together, but if I'm going on my own, then I would usually get my secretary to organi/c the flight and a hotei in a good location.
interviewer: Interesting. What type of accommodation do you stay in normally and what special features do you look tor in a hotel?
margaret: I tend to look for a hotel close to the trade fair or centrally located if I'm having several meetings in the centre 01 outside the city. Basically, when I'm abroad I still need access to a fax and my own phone, but other than that it would be the normal en suite room, sporrs centre it possible, depending on how long I'm going abroad for.
interviewer: Do you need special secretarial services while you're abroad?
margaret: Sometimes, but mainly I can get by with hand-written taxes. Occasionally, if several letters have to be sent, I'll obviously make use ot the secretary in the hotel.
interviewer: Because a lot of hotels nowadays do have Business Centres. Have you found those useful?
margaret: Definitely. Especially if you're on a long-haul trip or travelling around for two or three weeks, and you've got to report back to the office.
interviewer: Are there any special facilities that you look for as a businesszwwaw?
margaret: Well, number one has got to be the location. You want to be in a good part of the town, preferably easy to get taxis, or near a metro station. For security reasons I would always ask for a room near the lift and on one of the lower floors. I don't like spending a lot of time in a lift on my own or walking along long corridors, even when I'm in a city that's safe.
interviewer: Do you find that hotels treat you differently because you're a woman?
margaret: Often they presume that you're just staying there while your husband is at meetings, which is very presumptuous ot ihcTii to begin with. But sometimes I don't think you get such good rooms as the businessmen although you pay exactly t he-same rare.
interviewer: Really? Now, I know you've visited many different countries, not just in Europe but also in Japan and South America. Have you been aware of different business customs and practices?
margaret: Well, certainly before travelling to another country, 1 always try to read up a little bit about how business is conducted there, lor example, in Japan rhegiving and receiving of business cards is much more elaborate than it is here in I mope. Similarly, when you go to visit a Japanese office, the first thing they often ask you to do -especially in the smaller offices - is to rake your shoes off anil pur on some slippers, at which point you're usually given a glass of green tea. I found that Japanese businessmen and women do make you teel very welcome, much more so than in some ol the busier European offices, where you can be left waiting for your business appointment to turn up.
interviewer: Right. That's all very
interesting. Thank you very much indeed, Margaret.
manager = Conference and Banqueting Manager (Grosvenor House Hotel)
co-ordinator = Conference Co-ordinator (ETOA)
manager: OK, before we go and look at thc rooms, I'll just tell you a little bit about them. If you'd just like to look at this plan.
co-ordinator: Thank you. I'll make some notes, if you don't mind.
manager: Sure. Now, 1 think the Albemarle Suite is going to be the most suitable for your conference.
CO-ordinator: Yes, I thought so when I saw sour brochure.
manager: It's a very attractive suite. It contains four rooms in all - the Albemarle, rhe Aldford. the Apsley, and the W.uei loo
co-ordinator: Right. Now, we need one-room larger than the others for our opening and closing meeting with all the delegates. That's the Albemarle, isn't it?
manager: Yes, the largest room is the
Albemarle and we usually have that arranged in theatre-style. It can take up to sixty people.
co-ordinator: Good. How big is it exactly? manager: Let me sec ...Its ten and a half
metres wide and fourteen point two metres
CO-ordinator: I see. Ten point five by lourteen point two. Thank you. And what was the seating capacity again?
co-ordinator: And does it have a public address system?
manager: Well, it does, actually, although usually it's not needed because it's not that big a room. It's also equipped with a video recorder and a slide projector wirh screen.
co-ordinator: Good. What about the other rooms? Can you give me some details?
manager: Well, there's the one next to the Albemarle - it's connected, in fact - that's the Aldford. It's five point six metres In eleven point eight, and we usually have that set out in schoolroom-style.
co-ordinator: What were the
measurements again? It's not written on this plan.
manager: Five point six by eleven point
eight. It's a rectangular shape. CO-ordinator: And what equipment does
this one usually have? manager: Normally an OHP and a
whiteboard - although we can vary it, of
co-okimna ior: Good. What about these other two rooms?
manager. Well, thcic's the WjieiliHJ Room. That's quite long and thin, four metres by ten point eight five, often used lot smaller rei eptions. It's got a TV and a video. Then there's the Apsley Room, which is square-shaped, more or less. It measures six point one by seven point seven metres, and is very richly decorated. It makes a very nice boardroom. It's equipped with a flip chart and a video.
co-ordinator: OK, I think I've got notes on all that now.
manager: Right, shall wc go and look at them then?
co-ordinator: OK, let's just run thtough rhe arrangements as they stand at the moment. I've got the original draft programme here. Now, I know there have been a few changes.
assistant: Yes, and I'd like to check some of the arrangements, in any case.
co-ordinator: Well, registration is still at four o'clock. Have we received the name badges yet?
assistant: No, I don't think so. I'll make a note to check.
co-ordinator: And alter registration they want to have tea provided in the foyer lounge. That means the opening address will begin at five o'clock, not quarter to.
assistant: We've got to make sure that Marjorie Willis keeps her talk brief - she's only got half an hour and she tends to go on a bit, I've heard.
coordinator: Yes, the delegates will need time to freshen up and change before the reception and the dinner — and those times arc fixed. Now, one thing - at dinner we've been asked to ensure fresh flower ,h i.ingements are on all the tables, and we've ordered special displays for the top table. ( ,m\ you phone the florists and check arrangements there?
co-onninator: On Saturday there isn't much change to the original. We still don't know the titles of the workshops - they'll have to tell us before we do the final print. The jifrernoon tour is all arranged, You've booked the guide, haven't you?
assistant: Yes, we just need to confirm exact numbers - but we won't really know that
unlil mC d.iy.
co-ordinator: Well, there's not much we can do about that. Just leave it - they won't mind.
assistant: I was thinking: why don't we include a stop for afternoon tea on the tour? There's a very nice place in the Trossachs I know.
co-ordinator: That's not a bad idea. Look into it, will you? The dinner on Saturday is more or less OK. I think, but they want to start a little later, at eight o'clock.
assistant: OK. We've still got to get the special table menus back from the printers.
co-ordinator: Oh yes, I'm glad you
remembered that. Also they want the dinner to be followed by dancing. Apparently the hotel can provide a very good band.
assistant: Is that an extra cost?
co-ordinator: Yes, it wasn't on the original costing, so make sure it goes on the invoice. I think that's it. Oh, except that Basil Carter isn't able to come and do the closing session. It's going to be his partner - Peter Jenkins, I think he's called. It's the same subject, though. All the other speakers have confirmed, haven't they?
assistant: Yes, and I've confirmed their rooming arrangements.
co-ordinator: Oh, yes, and don't forget to ensure there are plenty of taxis available from around two o'clock on the Sunday. Have a word with the head doorman.
Unit I I
interviewer: George, you've been working lor one ol Europe's largest tour operators lor the past twenty years. Can you tell us what familiarization trips are?
i.nnick: Well, the familiarization trip or 'fam trip', as it is commonly known, means different things to diflerem people. Basically, for us, it is an opportunity for the people who sell our holidays to get to know our hotels and resorts better. We, as a tour operator, get together with an airline, the relevant" national tourist office, and one or more of our hotels to construct a trip for the employees of the travel agencies that we're dealing with. They will be staying in our hotels, which, we hope, they will then recommend to their customers. Now, in the past, this was really often seen as a chance for, basically, a cheap holiday. You stayed in a nice hotel, met a few people and had a good time. Not much work was done. It was considered a kind of frecbie.
interviewer: But not any more?
george: Well, I think those days have long gone. In the current economic climate, everyone is looking for value tor money. No one's got money to throw around. Organizations invest in tarn trips in the hope of securing extra business. In the past, we simply saw familiarization trips as a kind of reward. These days, that's still important but we emphasize much more the learning or the 'educational' side. Ot course, we want people to have fun, but we need to see a return for our money. We want to make sure they go away with a good knowledge of our resorts and hotels. Any agency employee who comes on one of our tarn trips is given .1 questionnaire to fill in while they are staying in the hotel, and we always ask for a report to be written afterwards. In that sense they're educational.