Jobs 101: Hotel duty manager

She had to deal with unusual requests like re-positioning a guest's bed for better feng shui.

Amanda Wong

Published: 18 June 2018, 12:00 AM

You might find hotel duty manager Stella Ng’s face familiar.

If you have watched the video of local actress Michelle Chong going undercover as a foreign VVIP (Very Very Important Person) at The Pan Pacific Singapore, you might have seen Stella scurrying around to cater to Michelle’s bizarre requests.

Stella had to try fulfilling Michelle's request to have exclusive access to the hotel's outdoor swimming pool.

When asked about Michelle’s demands in the video, Stella told Youth.SG that it was a very interesting day for her as Michelle made requests that they did not usually encounter.

“I was proud of myself that I had managed to keep my cool and managed to offer alternative solutions to her requests,” said Stella.

Easygoing and cheerful in disposition, Stella, who has nine years of experience in the hotel industry, welcomed us to the hotel warmly before introducing herself.

Who: Stella Ng, 30
Occupation: Hotel duty manager
Studied: Bachelor in arts in hotel and tourism management

Tell us more about yourself!

I’m actually a rather impatient person. But at work, I have to be patient. When I am with my friends and family, you will get to see the impatient side of me. (laughs)


Stella (right) started her first job in the hotel as a front office agent and worked her way up to a hotel duty manager.


Describe a typical day at work.

Most of my focus is on my team. We deal with arrivals, departure and assistance of guests.

Every morning, we will have a briefing to share the overview of the hotel for the day. Once the briefing ends, I will walk about the reception counter to check on my team and assist them if they have any challenges on hand.

I also have back-end stuff to do, such as dealing with emails and reports, feedback or special requests from the guests. Whenever assistance is required on my side, I have to throw everything down to assist my team at the reception counter.


“Our presence in the reception area is very important,” said Stella.


What are some of the challenges you face as a hotel duty manager?

Having to deal with special requests. I’ve been very lucky in the industry because I haven’t really met somebody that extreme.

However, we have had guests with specific requirements for feng shui. For example, they may want their bed in their room to be facing a certain direction and we have to meet their demands.

What are some of the memorable experiences you had as a hotel duty manager?

One of the worst memories that I’ve had was being reprimanded by a guest who told me that he will jeopardise my career.

I still remember very clearly the exact words he said to me. He threatened: ‘I’ll make sure you lose your job in two weeks’ time.’ But after two years, I am still here so… (laughs)

Do you have to make any sacrifices for your job?

We work shifts, which can include night or overnight shifts. When I first started, I had to miss family gatherings because they are usually held on weekends or public holidays.

Thankfully, my family is supportive. As the years go by, you get to appreciate the perks of working a non 9 to 5 job, because when you go out on a weekday, there is nobody. When you watch movies, it’s cheaper!


Quiet by nature, Stella made a courageous decision to be more approachable while at work.


What is the most important part about your job?

Ensuring that our hotel guests feel happy. They are staying with us not only to rest for the day but because they want to get good service and to have a memorable experience with the hotel.


Stella believes that working in the hotel industry will make you more appreciative of the service you receive.
Photo credits: Ali


What advice would you give to youths considering a career as a hotel duty manager?

The hotel industry is a very dynamic environment. Every day, you get to deal with different people, challenges and opportunities. If you are open to challenges and are people oriented, I think this is a great industry you can work in.

Don’t be afraid to try. Take the first step, have the courage to go into new and unfamiliar environments and everything else will be an easy flow.

Educational requirements: Hospitality diploma or degree holders are preferred. To become a hotel duty manager, you will need a minimum of five years of working experience in the hospitality industry, with two years of related experience in the similar capacity as a duty manager in a hotel.

Qualities needed: You must be people-oriented, have an approachable persona and be open to challenges.

Salary range: It ranges from $2,800 to $4,200 (depending on experience).

Working hours: You will work 44 hours per week on shifts, including night or overnight shifts.

Career prospects: Most people work their way up to get promoted. From the role of a hotel duty manager, you can advance to be an assistant front office manager, front office manager and a director of rooms.

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