How I found my hospitality sales & marketing role

How I found my hospitality sales & marketing role

Yao, an alum from Swiss Hotel Management School, shares how she pivoted her hospitality internship into a permanent Sales & Marketing role at the world-renowned hotel, W Hong Kong.


By Swiss Education Group

3 minutes
hospitality marketing job


We recently had the pleasure of speaking with an esteemed alumnus of the Master of Arts program at Swiss Hotel Management School (SHMS) who is now working in Sales and Marketing for the world-renowned hotel, W Hong Kong. Keep reading to learn about Yao Zhang’s journey, from her beginnings in hospitality to her experience at SHMS and subsequent opportunities in the hospitality industry. Her insights are invaluable to any student looking forward to a strong career in the hospitality industry and a demonstration of how dedication at an internship leads to career opportunities.


1. What is your name and where are you from?

I’m Yao, and I come from China.


2. How did your journey in hospitality start?

Since I did not study in a professional hotel management school for my bachelor's degree, my university could not provide me with internship opportunities in the hospitality industry. Therefore, during my junior year, I took the initiative to find an internship opportunity as a Loyalty Trainee at The Ritz-Carlton Sanya, Yalong Bay. This job was mainly to be responsible for VIP guests, to maintain guest relationships, and to anticipate and meet their personalized needs. I was also in charge of hotel online reviews, following up with different departments accordingly.

This was my first job ever. Although the internship was only for 3 months, the front office department was a very good place to understand how the hotel operated. It built the basic principles and framework of a luxury hotel operation in my mind, laying part of the foundation for my study at SHMS, two subsequent internships, and my current full-time job.

After graduating with my bachelor's degree, I applied to postpone my intake to SHMS and chose to go to Marriott International’s corporate office in Shanghai for another 6-month internship with the Marriott Digital Service team. This job was on an above-property level, which was different from my previous experience. Through hundreds of Marriott hotels in Greater China, I was able to observe the hospitality industry from a more macro perspective. At the same time, I think this internship provided stronger support for my study in the SHMS master's program, especially the different perspectives of knowledge and data, which made a huge contribution to the completion of my Integrated Business Project (IBP).


3. What internships have you done at SHMS and how were those experiences?

SHMS attaches great importance to the role of internships in the entire study. For master's students like me, this internship is most likely the last trial-and-error opportunity before full-time employment. From the beginning of the program, all preparations for internships are in progress. Through our Career Coaches and the International Recruitment Forum (IRF), everyone has very rich resources to seek opportunities.

After going through many interviews, I finally met the Human Resources team from W Hong Kong at the IRF. They were able to provide me with my preferred back-office job, as well as the opportunity to become a permanent staff member after the internship. And through talking with them, I realized that working in Marketing and Communications is also closely related to my previous experience. This seemed extremely suitable for me.

Hong Kong is a culturally diverse place with many of the world's top luxury hotels and a mature hotel market. Learning here is very effective. I always feel very lucky to have joined an incredible team like W Hong Kong, where every talent is an expert in their fields. They are supportive and friendly, willing to teach, patient to understand, and tolerant of mistakes.


4. Tell me about how you were offered the position at W Hong Kong.

After the internship had been going for a while, I found that continuing to work at W Hong Kong after graduation was something worth looking forward to. Fortunately, there were still vacancies in the Sales and Marketing Department at that time, and they were willing to wait until I finished the internship before taking up a new position.

Now, with the previous 6 months of internship with Marketing and Communication as a basis, I have started my new journey in a new position as Administrator of Sales and Marketing. Everything is going well, but there are still a lot of challenges, and I have to be careful all the time. My boss has been a great talent coach. I believe I can handle it and do a good job.


5. What are some of your favorite memories of SHMS?

My favorite memories at SHMS are the two times I fought side by side with my classmates. One was the Master of Arts Concept Restaurant, Come On! Noodle!, which I ran as the General Manager. This restaurant achieved great success and reputation at the school. The other was TEDxSHMS: Awakening. As the Marketing Manager, I provided full marketing support for the event.

I am fascinated by the feeling of a group of like-minded people working towards the same goal. This is not only my brightest moment at SHMS, but also in my life.


6. What are the key strengths of the program you studied at SHMS?

I think the key strengths are SHMS's extremely high reputation in the industry and its practical module setting, which allows SHMS students to be recognized by hotel HR departments and colleagues in the early stages and to successfully enter the workforce.


7. What advice do you have for people who want to work in hospitality?

Keep trying, keep challenging, be prepared, and welcome every opportunity! 

Are you ready to jump into the hospitality industry? Stay ahead of the curve and kickstart your career with an esteemed hospitality degree from Swiss Hotel Management School.

Learn more


By Swiss Education Group