KIMBERLY TAN: HOTELIER WITH SUNSHINE PERSONALITY LOVES MAKING GUESTS FEEL SPECIAL AT SHANGRI-LA RASA SENTOSA, SINGAPORE
Some people were just born to do what they do, and Kimberly Tan, a Senior Guest Relations Executive atShangri-La Rasa Sentosa, is no different.
“One of my most memorable experiences working at the hotel was taking care of an Australian family from Queensland. It was their first holiday together but they checked in really late because their flight got delayed.
They had three kids and they were all so tired by the time they arrived. I thought I could do my part and take care of them the best way I knew how. I brought them to their room and made sure everything was settled for them without any hassle.
The next day, they came down to thank me and we had a conversation right here at the lobby. They actually wanted to know more about Singapore and the Chinese culture – particularly calligraphy – so I told them where in Chinatown to visit and what books to buy.
When I found out that they didn’t manage to find time to visit Chinatown, I decided to buy the calligraphy books for them. It was my day off on the day of their check-out, so I went down and presented it to them as a farewell gift, just before sending them off.
They were so happy they actually emailed the hotel. This was in 2018. They were supposed to come back last year but couldn’t because of COVID-19. I look forward to having them back here again when it’s possible. I think the kids are six, 10 and 12 now.
Kimberly Tan at work. Photo: Arman Shah
I’m a Senior Guest Relations Executive at Shangri-La's Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa. I’ve been with the hotel for almost five years now. I joined as an intern in April 2016. When there was an opportunity to convert to being a full-timer the same year, I went for it.
What I love most about my job is that I can create a lot of memorable stays for our guests. It makes me happy and fulfilled knowing that they are happy. I also love working here because it doesn’t really feel like you’re in Singapore. The vibe is very calm and relaxing.
I have a grandmother who loves to travel and go on beach holidays. A few years ago, she had to stop travelling because age caught up with her. But because she still wanted to go to the beach, I got her to stay at Shangri-La in Sentosa.
Now every year on her birthday, she’ll stay at our beach resort because she’s fallen in love with this place. And that’s what I tell people. When you come here, it really feels like you’re away from busy Singapore.
Photo: Arman Shah
Challenges? Well, I’ve been in the hotel industry for six years, so the job can feel like a routine. You can become quite robotic when taking care of guests, and that’s not good. Every time I get into that zone or mental state, I will think of the hotel guest as a friend.
If I’m taking care of friends, I would want to do everything perfectly for them. I’d make sure I go all out to ensure that they’re happy. That change in perspective helps remind me why I chose this line in the first place, especially during festive seasons when you’re so busy.
I think for me, passion is the most important thing when it comes to work. I know everyone always says that, but it’s really true. I had past experiences where I didn’t enjoy the job. Even though the salary may be higher, I felt like it was not fulfilling at all.
But now when I go home and sleep at night, I can sleep properly because I feel like I did something good that day. So no matter which industry you’re in, as long as you’re happy doing your work, I think that’s all that matters. Because your happiness cannot be bought.” – Kimberly.
By Arman Shah
Arman Shah is a former travel writer with fond memories of solo adventures in Southeast Asia. His work has appeared in print and online in publications such as Expat Living Singapore, AsiaRooms.com, SG Magazine, and HungryGoWhere.com among others. He now manages The Everyday People, a website featuring people stories and lifestyle content.
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