When considering careers in property management and the hotel industry, the first things that come to mind would probably be hospitality roles, maintenance work and security. In fact, the two industries include a broad spectrum of duties from financial management to legal services.
To give high school students a look into these major sectors in Hong Kong, the Chamber invited two speakers from Sino Group – Rita Li, General Manager, Sino Estates Management, and Kenny Chan, Senior Learning and Development Manager, Sino Hotels – to share their industry experience with secondary school students at a webinar on 2 June, as part of the Chamber's Business-School Partnership Programme.
Li said that she had worked in property management for over 30 years, and had witnessed huge changes in the industry. In the past, the focus was on the property itself – in other words, making adjustments and upgrades to the buildings and facilities. Nowadays, the focus has shifted to people, providing value-added services to satisfy clients and enhance the quality of life of residents. The industry has also become more professionalized: since 2020, a licensing regime has set a minimum qualification requirement for property management companies and practitioners.
Chan then gave students an overview of the hotel industry by introducing the main departments in a hotel, and explaining how back office supports the various client-facing operation departments.
"Customer experience starts prior to check-in," he explained. The different departments have to work together as a team to create a pleasant experience throughout the customer journey, from booking to check-in and during the stay right up until check-out.
While an undergraduate degree in hotel management is one entry point to a career in the hotel industry, some employers will also provide on-the-job training for candidates with other educational backgrounds and experience, but who are keen to start a career in the field.
The speakers also explained that property management and hotel industry are both services industries, so it is important for staff to forge genuine connections with customers and proactively approach them to understand their needs. Handling complaints is an inevitable part of customer relationship management, and the best advice is not to take it personally.
"You will feel better if you understand that the customer is not angry with you, but rather the situation," shared Li.
Chan added that sincerity and empathy are also key to making customers feel valued and understood, so ultimately both customers and staff share the benefits of positive interaction.