5 reasons why I chose to work at a pre-opening hotel

15 December, 2021

5 reasons why I chose to work at a pre-opening hotel

The pre-opening phase of any new hotel is a huge challenge. So what made this Korean graduate of SHMS choose to work at new hotels that haven’t been fully developed? 


By SEG - Editorial Team



Jungmi was one of the first batch of employees hired during Four Season Hotel Seoul’s pre-opening phase. Interestingly, her first job after graduating from Swiss Hotel Management School also happened to be for the pre-opening of the Rosewood Abu Dhabi, as a front desk agent.

Here are the five top reasons she loves working in a new hotel.

1. It’s like being welcomed into a new family.

The best part of the pre-opening experience is being able to bond well with the team. From the moment I arrived in Abu Dhabi, I was warmly welcomed by some of my teammates who had come to pick me up at the airport. There were only about 40 to 50 people hired during the pre-opening phase and we quickly became a close-knit group. As the team slowly grew in numbers, we got to know and understand each other more deeply. From the team lunches and outings to the group brainstorming sessions, we built strong relationships, which paved the way for us to run a smooth operation.


2. I could engage with my supervisors more often and learn quicker on the job.

When I joined Rosewood Abu Dhabi, only three people had been hired in my department. I quickly became familiar with my supervisors and felt comfortable approaching them for assistance. Whenever I was unsure about a certain task, they were willing to teach me patiently. Since we were a small team, we also had to teach one another, and I felt that I learned the most when I could pass on my knowledge to others.


3. I learned to be flexible and picked up skills and experience beyond my job scope.

At Rosewood Abu Dhabi, we didn’t have any concierge or guest relations’ services in the beginning.  So even though I was hired as a front desk agent, I had to be involved in activities beyond my job description. For example, I researched hotels in the Middle East, nearby attractions that we could recommend to our guests, and studied our competitors. I also had to present my findings to the management. As stressful and nerve-wracking as it was, I was prepared for the task as my time at SHMS had helped me gain a lot of confidence in my presentation and research skills.

Similarly, when I joined Four Seasons Hotel Seoul, the management entrusted me with various tasks that were more marketing-oriented than sales. I served as a liaison between our hotel’s PR director and a marketing consultant the hotel had hired for the opening phase. As a result, I learned a lot about PR, marketing, and media relations, which I didn’t have much experience in previously. I also helped to translate the text on the hotel’s website from Korean to English.


4. I was able to establish a network with my peers and I also had the management’s support when I wanted to move to another department.

Coincidentally I found a colleague at Rosewood Abu Dhabi who was also a Swiss Education Group (SEG) alumni and he introduced me to other SEG alumni working for Rosewood and various hotels in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. I attended different alumni events, and this allowed me to grow my network very quickly. It was such a fun experience!

Also, because the management was familiar with me, they were very supportive when I decided to move to another department in the hotel. My supervisor spoke to the HR department on my behalf and I was able to switch to a catering and sales role.


5. I felt a great sense of achievement as I contributed to setting up systems and procedures for the hotel.

As a member of the pre-opening team at Rosewood Abu Dhabi and Four Seasons Hotel Seoul, I always felt a sense of pride in knowing that I actually contributed to building the systems and procedures that are used to run the hotel.  

Working in a hotel during its pre-opening phase is stressful and you need to be able to multi-task and be flexible to changes. Many would say that it is easier to work in a fully operational hotel but where is the fun if everything was easy!



By SEG - Editorial Team

Editorial Team