Business Major Receives Five Star Experience at Hawaii Resort



As the hostess at the Sea Pines Resort in Hilton Head, South Carolina, Astrid Barth has a passion for serving the public and creating meaningful experiences.

“It wasn’t enough for me to sit down at tables,” he says Business administration with a focus on hospitality and tourism. “I wanted to interact and connect with customers, so I took the opportunity to become a server. I loved it.”

Barth is now a senior at the College of Charleston and, thanks to the guidance of Hotel and tourism management professor Stephen Litvin and Erin O’Dea Halford, College Employer Relations Manager Employment agency.

The college today met with Barth to find out more about her internship, what she has learned and how the experience will shape her future.

How did you get your internship at Montage Kapalua Bay?

Last summer I worked at Montage Palmetto Bluff in Bluffton, South Carolina, which is owned by the same company as Montage Kapalua Bay. I worked in retail and gained experience at a Forbes five-star hotel. I planned to continue working there, but Professor Litvin connected me to Alumna Melany Johnson ’13who worked at Montage Kapalua Bay. We discussed many aspects of the industry, which gave me helpful insights. In the conversation she told me that the resort was offering an internship – and I had to apply! I chose the food and drink section because I wanted to interact with the guests. It’s one of the most difficult departments to work in. If you can make it in this department, you can work anywhere.

What are your responsibilities?

My job as an intern in the food and beverage industry spans a variety of roles including work banquets and in-room dining. I started out as a host, but I wanted to challenge myself. My manager was understanding and flexible. Now I mainly work as a Telephone Service Agent (TSA) responsible for incoming calls, taking guest orders, completing amenity traces and more for in-room dining. It takes a lot of multitasking, but as long as you can be organized and professional, it’s extremely rewarding.

How has working in the hotel industry changed your perspective?

There are many details that go into every service that is offered in a hotel. I never realized how much was happening in the room when I placed an order, e.g. B. When scheduling times for the collection of dishes. You will need to adapt if guests have a ‘do not disturb’ sign on the door or if they don’t answer the phone. I also never thought about what working on a banquet entails. I had to take stock of the tea towels used and be one of three waiters who put over 50 plates on display that required coordination and communication. Not all of my shifts were easy, but having passionate employees made my job more fulfilling.

How did hotels recover from the pandemic?

It really opens your eyes because Maui hotels are low staffed. The tourism industry generates most of Hawaii’s revenue, but many employees are still receiving unemployment benefits and have not returned to work. This has had a ripple effect as Hawaii faces more travelers than ever before. It is a challenge to cope with the influx of tourists with minimal staff. People are desperate to travel and are willing to pay higher prices, which means higher expectations of hotels. It’s great to be able to work in a luxury hotel at a crucial time like this.

How did CofC help you with your internship?

My hospitality classes have been great. Professor Litvin and Professor Brumby McLeod (Chair for Hotel Industry and Tourism Management) sparked my interest in the hotel industry. You made me curious to get to know the economy from an administrative point of view. Erin O’Dea Halford taught me the importance of using LinkedIn for networking. She supported me with my résumé, rehearsal interviews and professional writing. After every meeting with the Career Center, I went out more confidently than when I entered.

What is your biggest gain from this internship?

Networking is important. It’s amazing how it all fits together. I wouldn’t be in Hawaii if I hadn’t worked at Montage Palmetto Bluff, and I wouldn’t have had that job without Erin O’Dea Halford. Without Professor Litvin, Melany Johnson and the Career Center, I wouldn’t be where I am now. Through contact with employees from other departments, I gained an understanding of the hotel industry. Accept the connections you are given and build on them.

Katherine Jordan is an aspiring junior at the College of Charleston with a dual degree in English and music.


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