Wednesday, July 10, 2013

What Happens in Summer College, Stays in Summer College

In the morning, Reneta taught us about the largest, most essential part of a hotel-the housekeeping division. We watched a clip from an episode of Undercover Boss: Choice Hotels. Next, we got into a discussion on the wages and work hours of the averager housekeeper was, and we talked about how hotels often sacrifice their laborers' well being in favor of profitability. I was surprised to learn what a taxing, yet unappreciated job housekeeping really was-they do so much, and yet they receive so little-and it was a bit jarring to learn that some members of the hospitality industry hardly treat their own employees with any sense of hospitality. 

Today was our final day of computer lab and from 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM, we spent the time learning new Excel functions. Remember when I said before that I always forget how to use Excel not too long after learning it? Well, after this class I don't think I'll ever have to worry, as the procedures have been practically drilled into me. Before, I thought that Excel was fairly useless, but I've now come to realize that the program offers a wide range of practical applications, and I can now use them effectively as a proficient Excel user (I dare not call myself an advanced user, as I know that there are a large amount of functionalities that I've still yet to become aware of).

The highlight of today's class came in the afternoon, with a lecture on casinos and the gaming industry. We watched two films, one detailing the construction and opening of Atlantic City's borgata and the other documenting the evolution of Las Vegas. One of the the most interesting things I learned was that the gaming hub of the world wasn't Las Vegas, Nevada, but rather Macau, China. In fact, Las Vegas ranks third in terms of profitability, with properties located in Singapore being significantly more successful. I found this fact completely astonishing, as I had thought that gaming laws overseas would be much more restricting than those in the United States. I was also shocked to learn how much detail went into a casino's architecture, amenities, and interior design. Everything in a casino is perfectly designed to entice a person into playing longer; the free drinks, the bright neon lights, even the curved hallways are all tools used by casino owners to get people to throw away their inhibition and gamble the night away.  

Another thing that left quite the impression on me was the relationship between casino hosts and high stakes players-or "whales," as they are called. Those who bet over $150,000 a night are automatically classified as VIPs and are given free rooms, food, amenities in exchange for their patronage. It was tough to tell who was getting the better end of the deal-the high rollers who were getting to do what they love whilst being showered with lavish gifts, high quality products, and impeccable service or the casinos who were profiting on the addictions of their customers. In my opinion, both sides seem somewhat corrupt-they both openly extort and take advantage of one another, yet they both condone the union due the immediate benefits, creating a situation akin to twisted symbiotic relationship. Despite it's moral ambiguity, however, I still can't help but feel somewhat intrigued by a career as a casino hostess, as it seems like a very exciting job. 

After receiving our respective assignments, my group spent Office Hours working on our CHESS Report independently. Through this experience, I was able to learn of the importance of delegating work in order to increase overall efficiency. 

It's somewhat hard to believe that Summer College will be ending in two more days. It's felt as though I've become a real student here at Cornell and I'm really going to miss the school, my instructors, and my classmates. Looks like there's nothing more I can do than make the best of the time I have left!

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