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By Yvette Liu, Bachelor student and Digital Marketing/Market Management intern at Hotelied, Inc.

There is something about “New York City” and “startups” that always raised my excitement and heartbeat. When it was time for me to decide where I should go for my second hospitality internship, New York was undoubtedly my first choice. The combination of the Big Apple and an innovative business somehow drew my full attention, even if it was just a small article from Skift[1] or an unintentionally small discussion with others.

Like my peers from Glion, who work very hard to find their dream internship, I stumbled, fumbled, and wobbled in countless CVs and personalized cover letters. But just when I was about to give up after a semester-long search, I received an unexpected email with my dream position in the subject line and a dream company as the responder. After receiving this offer, I was overwhelmed by all the thoughts and possibilities; I would finally be able to live in New York and witness why this magical city coincidentally – or not – nurtures one of the best startup scenes.

East Village buildings reflection

During the first month, the many distinctive and unique scenes in the city overwhelmed me. Not just the upbeat aura and constantly crowded streets, but what stunned me the most was that New Yorkers seem to always be ultra-energetic, even after long hours at work, cycling classes, and living on a mostly healthy salad diet with iced coffee for lunch. Sometimes, I felt out of place when walking at my mellow Swiss pace and seeing people run past me in subway stations and on the streets.

Among all the overwhelming, eccentric scenes in New York, Hotelied is where I find a peace of mind because I have a passion for doing and learning things in the hospitality industry. In case you don’t know, Hotelied is a hotel booking site that allows hotels to offer personalized, exclusive discounts and amenities to faithful guests. As an innovative startup, Hotelied is indeed different from many other well-matured companies because of its ever-changing environment and restrained circumstances.

Video-making with a budget!

Working in Hotelied gave me an entirely new – yet somehow familiar – environment where I felt very well prepared from the first day of work. It seemed like all the soft skills and professional skills I had acquired during the past two years at Glion helped me quickly adapt to my new Hotelied team. And even if I couldn’t master the 8 a.m. cycling class, as time goes by, I finally felt more confidant and comfortable living in this city.

Prior to my internship, my supervisor told me about the opportunities that I would access at Hotelied. Surprisingly, four months have passed and all of it has come true! I was very fortunate to attend many networking events for hospitality professionals and startups, where I got to meet other industry professionals and hear all kinds of startup and entrepreneur stories. As an intern here, I was also able to take responsibilities in many different aspects in the company, I had a well-rounded exposure in digital marketing, sales, hotel partners and customers relationship management, statistic analysis. One of the most interesting things that I participated in was the meeting with an investor who came to learn more about Hotelied; it was a great experience for me to see what kinds of questions or worries a successful VC company[2] is looking for.

One of the things the Big Apple has the most of is opportunities. The opportunity to stroll and sunbathe in the biggest city park, to easily museum hop on Upper East Side and if you are more into contemporary arts, gallery hopping at Chelsea is one of my favorite things to do here.

Guggenheim Museum, Upper East Side

Dan Flavin Installation at Chelsea’s David Zwirner Gallery

The opportunity to taste international gourmet cuisine from the endless food lists on Foursquare[3]. Or the opportunity to see this sparkling city from rooftop bars or boat cruises during nighttime.

Downtown Manhattan night view from Hudson River cruise boat

Times Square from Empire States

And above it all – the opportunity to be exposed to and engaged in the diverse cultural scenes in this giant city that is like no other. From Chinatown in Flushing and Manhattan, to the Caribbean immigrant neighborhood in Harlem, to the Russian immigrant culture at the ocean-side neighborhood in Brighton Beach, and to the Brooklyn hipster scene that has recently spread ubiquitously across many cities around the world (read more) with its fascinating and creative artsy environment at Williamsburg and Bushwick.

Chinatown in Manhattan

Street art in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Let’s also not forget to mention experiencing the American East Coast culture, from summer weekend getaways at Southampton, to autumn weekend getaway at orchards in Upstate New York for apple picking.

Or a hiking trip to the boarder of New York and Montreal’s Adirondack Mountains, where the impeccable Lake Placid is also nestled.

Jay Mountain at Adirondack Mountains / Lake Placid / Apple picking in Upstate New York

It took me two months to finally understand that there is no need to “fit in” in New York City, because what makes New York one of the frontier cities for culture, art, finance, and social movement is the vibrant freedom that attracts people from all around the world with different backgrounds to come here. Everyone is different, yet every individual coherently lives here with a heart that is always open to new things and also prepared to be a part of a “new thing”. So far, I am still discovering new places and learning new things that make me grow in both of my professional and personal life. I can’t wait to see what more I could unfold and learn in New York City before going back to Glion!

Street art in SoHo

[1] Skift: The largest industry intelligence and marketing platform in travel, providing news, information, data and services to all sectors of the world’s largest industry.

[2] VC: Venture Capital.

[3] Foursquare: is a local search and discovery service mobile app, which provides search results for its users.

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About the author

Glion Institute of Higher Education
Glion Institute of Higher Education is a private Swiss institution offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees in hospitality, luxury and event management to an international student body across three campuses in Switzerland and London, UK.
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