Hospitality grad credits York College for early success at Four Seasons Baltimore
When checking into a hotel, you probably don’t think about the planning that made sure the room was available or how the rate was set. York College of Pennsylvania graduate Emily Mitnick does, but it’s what she’s paid to do as Group Rooms Coordinator for the Four Seasons Hotel on Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.
Emily, who graduated in 2017 with a BS in Hospitality Management, says, “I have the ability to look at our forecasted numbers and how they compare with our numbers in real time.” Groups can request to reserve a block of rooms at a hotel and it’s her responsibility to oversee this procedure as individuals from the group reserve their rooms. “I keep track of the number of rooms a group is filling and make sure that group is a certain contracted “requirement,” explains Emily. Typically, the group agrees to fill a set amount of rooms in a block by contract with the hotel and this is what Emily is tracking as rooms are reserved.
She always has to keep customer satisfaction in mind. “Many groups are repeat guests, for annual meetings, conferences, and retreats,” she says. “There are also weddings, which include first-time Four Seasons guests we need to make happy so they’ll come back.”
While Emily just landed the job earlier this year, she’s been training for it since her time in the Hospitality Management program at York College just a few years ago.
‘All familiar now’
Emily started college at another school, but later transferred after talking with some friends she knew who were Hospitality majors at York College. She says all her professors brought extensive hospitality experience to students, sharing stories to prepare their classes for the real world.
“[My professors] talked about how they handled customer satisfaction, how to lead a team, how not to lead a team. They shared their successes and mistakes,” she says. Looking back today, she says the top class that prepared her for her current job was Revenue Management with Professor Michelle LaMotte.
“This focused on hotel revenue management, planning weeks and months in advance, what the hotel is forecasting, whether groups can add rooms, at what rate, and keeping track of average daily rates,” she says. “It’s all familiar now because of this class.”
Coming full circle
One of the biggest things Emily says she took for granted at the time was how York College taught her professionalism. “We had career-based classes, learned how to interview, write a resume, and land a job in a specific field,” she recalls. “The Hospitality Management major requires three internships, which were very helpful.” One of those was a job at Hotel Hershey, where she worked in the front office, and which provided valuable experience down the road.
After she graduated in 2017, she hit a rather cold job market. “I applied for many jobs, was getting nowhere, then decided to take a front desk job with Four Seasons, even though I felt with a college degree I could do better,” she says. “But my professors at York taught me you need to get your foot in the door, then go above and beyond in the job you have and make an impression.” Mission accomplished. A little under a year later Emily earned the promotion to Group Rooms Coordinator.
While her hard work and dedication have led her to where she is now, she credits York College and its Hospitality Management professors for giving her the industry instruction that helped lead her to early success in her career. “There’s nothing like getting an education with the personalized experience you get at York,” she says. “The professors all know your name within two weeks and always remember you, even after you graduate.”