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My summer as a Fair Hills Front Desk intern was one I will truly never forget. I changed majors late in my college career, as in spring break of my junior year late. I am currently a Hospitality and Food Management Major at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Previous to that I was a Theatre Stage Management major. So it was a bit of a jump. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was beyond nervous about having an internship in the hotel world. I had only one year of college experience within the field and no professional experience at the time that I applied.
I also knew nothing about Fair Hills. I did my research on their website and read a few online reviews, but I had never stepped foot on the resort. Something about it just felt right, and I tend to follow my gut feelings. Plus I found out the woman who sent the job application to one of my professors was a Ball State alumni and I thought to myself “If a fellow Cardinal works there, then it must be good!” I figured if I’m going to jump into the hotel field, I may as well jump into the deep end head first.
Quickly after arriving at Fair Hills, all of my worries and nervous feelings went away. We were taught hands-on about how to work the front desk from the very first day. The managers had full faith in all of us even though they had just met us. I will never forget the first day where the General Manager, Caitlin, was showing 3 of us front desk staff how to work the reservations system and she kept telling us “As long as you don’t sell the resort, there are no mistakes you could make that can’t be fixed.” From that moment on I knew my managers had my back and had faith in me. They encourage us to ask all the questions we can. And if we do make a mistake, not only would they tell us what that mistake was but also how we should have handled the situation.
Working at Fair Hills was a huge learning experience. I not only learned the mechanics of working a front desk: check-ins, check outs, taking payments, doing the weekly billing, booking rooms, etc.- but I also learned how to talk to people over the phone and how to interact with guests. Many of our guests have come for generations, and their history is our history. It’s easy to get caught up in a conversation about how they remember coming here as a child and they are now bringing their grandkids, or how they met the love of their life here as a guest.
Working at Fair hills taught me how incredible working for an all-inclusive resort could be. I always thought I wanted to work in a casino hotel in Las Vegas, but now I am mostly looking at resorts for post-graduation. There is a special feeling knowing that what I am doing helps make someone’s vacation special. I want to work at a place where the stay is part of the destination. People come to Fair Hills to be at Fair Hills. It’s not like when you go to New York and you don’t spend any time in your hotel because you want to experience the city. When I’m working at the front desk and I get to meet a first-year family, it feels great getting to see them experience that Fair Hills Magic for the first time.
In addition to working as a front desk intern, I was given the opportunity to work with HR, learning that side of the business world. I was mostly in charge of coordinating with the international staff, getting them to the resort, applying for social security, and being the person they can come ask questions to. Working as HR gave me the opportunity to expand my professional resume and gave me additional responsibilities that I had to balance with my regular front desk duties. It gave me the chance to meet so many more people and get to know them.
One of the greatest parts of working at Fair Hills is the people I get to work with–everyone from managers to fellow interns and summer staff. All of them are incredible people that come from all walks of life. Even just getting to know the family that owns the resort has been an experience you don’t see many other places. Since Fair Hills hires employees from all over the world, I’ve had the joy of meeting people from all over the US, Turkey, Canada, Russia, Slovenia, France, Taiwan, and so many more places. Bringing all these people to one place, there is this incredible mix of cultures. It will be extremely difficult saying goodbye, but it has been an honor getting the pleasure to call them my friends and colleagues.
Working at Fair Hills was an experience I never knew I was going to get to have. I learned an enormous amount about working in a hotel, gained self-confidence about owning my space, and had the chance to meet the most incredible humans. Fair Hills will forever hold a special place in my memories.