Now in his 14th year with the Hyatt Regency Vancouver, Phil Davidson’s career as a banquet server has exceeded his expectations for opportunity, accomplishment, satisfaction and reward.
After building up his customer service background working at city hotels and restaurants, Phil had a desire to experience more than one role and specifically sought employment within a large hotel. The idea of serving guests in multiple departments appealed to him and, over the years, has helped offset the issue of seasonality. When the banquet calendar slows down Phil easily transfers his skills to other departments, including the front desk, bell desk, room service, hotel restaurants, and the Regency Club.
Phil and his team are responsible for much more than serving meals to many different groups and guests. Room presentation is a big part of the job; no detail is overlooked when preparing for a function. Items must be sourced from throughout the hotel to create the perfect atmosphere and, when it’s all over, rooms must be turned over quickly and prepared for the next event. Every minute matters in this hectic environment and the pace can in no way compromise the service. Phil sees his key role as making guests feel relaxed and comfortable given extreme time constraints.
Working well with other departments is both a necessity and a talent. He must know who to talk to and where to locate things within the hotel in order to deliver a seamless service experience. Being fast on his feet, organized, and a quick thinker add to his success.
Managing time on the job is the greatest challenge working in banquets. Once the doors open and guests flood in, the clock doesn’t stop ticking until every need is met. Shift-work has a definite effect on how you manage your life and you must be flexible and adaptable. Though seasonality can be addressed by building transferable skills to work in other areas, Phil believes it’s important to learn to manage your personal finances when seasonality is a part of your chosen career.
Phil offers some simple advice to career seekers by saying “you must love working with people and want to make each guest feel the way you would want to feel; knowledge is important.” Phil suggests acquiring a tourism certificate as a baseline for success because it creates a good foundation from which the options for advancement are limitless.
Phil’s immense job satisfaction comes from the sense of accomplishment he experiences at the end of each function. For every challenging guest there are hundreds of great customers that make up for it. When the room has cleared and the pressure is off, he takes great pride knowing he has contributed to another successful event.
As for the industry, to him, it doesn’t matter what part of tourism you work in, it’s just a great place to be. Industry perks are an unspoken benefit of being affiliated with a global tourism chain. Working for the Hyatt Regency has provided him the flexibility of time for a chance to travel as well as the opportunity to visit international destinations. As a member of the local tourism scene, Phil makes the most of industry programs that offer him a chance to sample first hand what’s in store for city guests. All this makes the hard work worthwhile for this seasoned pro, who has no plans to leave what he considers the best industry to work in.