Working on a far-flung tropical island is the dream role for many who choose hospitality as a career. For one lucky Glion student on her first internship, it became a reality.
Ask anyone in hospitality why they first wanted to get into the industry and a high proportion would say that the opportunity to work in exotic locations was a significant factor.
While it may not always be possible to live that dream, the opportunities are out there, as first-year Bachelor’s in International Hospitality Business student Charlotte Vrignaud discovered when searching for internship placements.
Chance of a lifetime
“I wanted to do my internship in a remote location where I could experience a simpler way of life and Four Seasons Bora Bora in French Polynesia had always been a dream destination for me,” she explains. “While the group is already renowned for luxury, Four Seasons Bora Bora represented something beyond luxury; it was like heaven on earth.”
Charlotte approached Glion’s Career Services team, who had direct contact with the recruitment personnel at Four Seasons Bora Bora. Before submitting her application, she worked on fine tuning her resumé and covering letter with our expert careers advisors to give her the best chance of success.
“Within a couple of weeks, I had two interviews, one with human resources and another with the head concierge,” she says. “I received confirmation of my acceptance in November for an internship beginning in March 2023.”
A hankering for hospitality
Ironically, it was not the lure of exotic locations that pushed Charlotte to pursue a career in the industry.
“I was introduced to the world of hospitality by a Glion alumna and her experience immediately sparked my passion for this field,” she says. “What I love most about the hospitality industry is the impact it can have on making people happy. We are responsible for creating unforgettable experiences and our job is about making people’s lives a bit more magical – I find this incredibly fulfilling.”
“I was introduced to the world of hospitality by a Glion alumna and her experience immediately sparked my passion for this field. What I love most about the hospitality industry is the impact it can have on making people happy. We are responsible for creating unforgettable experiences and our job is about making people’s lives a bit more magical – I find this incredibly fulfilling.”
Having researched and visited a number of hospitality schools, Charlotte believed her destiny lay with Glion. Taking part in a Glion Summer Program and workshops, where she got the chance to meet alumni, helped reinforce this decision.
“I fell in love with Glion’s unique approach to hotel management, which focuses on experiencing luxury at every touchpoint.” she says. “None of the other options resonated with me like Glion. The school embodies the values I was seeking, including excellence, diversity, internationalism, a small-school family spirit, passionate lecturers and a balanced curriculum that combines theory and practice.”
Gaining practical, real-world experience is what our internships are all about and that’s the same whether you’re in Bora Bora or Bormio.
Among the duties Charlotte had to carry out as an intern included cross-checking concierge operations, guiding guests towards their activities, charging rooms and offering expert advice to guests on local attractions before they arrived.
“During the final weeks of my internship, I was introduced to the front desk concierge position,” she says. “This involved everything from dining reservations to surprise amenities and handling last-minute requests.
“The most enjoyable aspect was communicating with upcoming guests before they came and then meeting them face-to-face upon arrival. It really made me feel like I had a role in making their stay memorable, reaffirming my passion for hospitality.”
It’s not just on-the-job experience students pick up while carrying out their internships. Most also develop the kind of soft skills that help them make all the difference in creating memorable experiences.
“This internship has taught me valuable skills in working with people, both colleagues and guests,” says Charlotte. “It has enhanced my abilities as a good listener, creative thinker and problem solver. In a five-star hotel where guest satisfaction is essential, I learned to go out of my comfort zone, take initiatives and always find alternative solutions.”
So has the experience stimulated Charlotte’s appetite for hospitality and delivering excellent service?
“It has definitely confirmed my passion for interacting with guests and made me feel my plan to pursue a career in hospitality management – particularly within hotel operations – is the right one,” she says. “That said, I am also intrigued by hotel development, and I would like to explore the possibility of an internship in strategic development at a hotel company’s corporate office, although I know that may be difficult.
“But I’ll approach it as another exciting challenge, just as I did when I embarked on my journey in Bora Bora, which was unimaginable a year ago.”
- To find out more about Charlotte’s internship experience, visit the Glion Instagram page