Hoteliers: Top Ten Things To Keep In Your Office

HOSPITALITY MATTERS Aruna DhirWORK LIFE IN A HOTEL is an overloaded zone – in respect to its impact on us, both physical and psychological. Once we become hoteliers there is little else that occupies our mindspace; it is that engulfing, in terms of job interest and inclination. On the flip side, it is an all-consuming role with its 24-hour, a place-that-never-goes-to-sleep nature.

With high levels of excitement, energy, challenges, commotion, frayed nerves and roller coaster days, it makes sense to be in an ever-ready position at all times, endeavouring to make the best of every situation and present the most competent ‘you’ to everybody and everything. Here follows a list of things that you should always keep around you at work. After all; opportunity, luck and success are the closest cousins of positive outlook, openmindedness, talent and hard work.

  1. Toothpaste and Brush – When you work in hotels, you are forever entertaining. A breakfast meeting with the visiting dignitaries, a Press lunch, High Tea for a charity do, drinks with an artist you are planning an event with, dinner with the foreign FAM group. With this sort of agenda, you are also showcasing your specialty restaurants and bars to the invitees. So, what do you do, when in the need to promote your hotel, you have OD’ed on garlic, galangal, lemongrass, scallion, wine, mojitpencil_draw_checkmark_yellow_clipboardo? You take cover in your two-minute dental routine, making yourself more liveable with yourself and more importantly others.
  1. Mirror – I and my good looking French boss were alighting in the elevator from his third and a quarter mezzanine floor ivory tower to the Lobby to meet the internationally recognized hot shot Travel editor. Boss man stole a few quick glances in the elevator mirror to straighten his tie and neaten up his hair before we disembarked to meet the doyen. The man would not have had a hair out of place for this meeting or any other.

As hoteliers, we are constantly in the limelight, welcoming heads of state, movie stars, sporting legends, artists, media into our fold. In other walks of life too but much more so in the hospitality industry, one must always be spruced up and look the role at all times.

Therefore, get a mirror hung on the back of your office door. And if you still have some time to get an office of your own then keep a hand mirror in your bag or drawer.

  1. Back scratcher – An itch is one thing that is not in your control. It could be started by an extraneous or internal trigger that you have no power over. And when the itch strikes you, you must attend to it. Here’s one situation that cannot be postponed even by the finest procrastinator. And there is that certain spot on your back that even the thinnest of us cannot reach.

That’s where a good, sturdy Back scratcher comes in handy. I picked a nice, wooden one with the hand shaped rather well from Singapore all those years back and it has stood me in good stead for a long long time, saving me from embarrassment and giving me instant relief.

  1. Smile – This is the most important of all. Hotel jobs are amongst the most stressful, round-the-clock and drive-you-crazy jobs. And yes, thankless too. The boss, nay bosses will always be on your head, the peers and subordinates will make the road tough to negotiate and the customers – those demanding set who you will displease at your own peril – will want everything here and now. Hence, the best recourse is to have a bag full of smiles stashed away in your pocket, ready to be pulled out and plastered on your face regardless of how you feel within.

The best part of even fake smiles is that they soon become real sweeping both your demeanour and mind with a feel-good mental broom.

  1. Outfit – As a hotelier, especially in all front-of-the-house functions, you invariably have an event to organize and attend several times in a month – from GM’s cocktails to formal dinners and events of larger scale. Keep a change of formal dress, pieces of jewellery and shoes close-at-hand for a quick turnaround. Also, mentioning ‘face repair’ kits and signature fragrance might seem redundant but it completes the picture.

In hotels, you don’t have the luxury of coming home to doll up and return. So keeping all this accessible will ensure that you stay looking like your high profile brand, your confidence level is on a high and that the entire evening goes smooth and glitch-free.

For the men too, a change of shirt, dressy cufflinks, jazzier tie take you a long way in becoming an impressive Brand Ambassador.

Also, in today’s times of SARS, H1N1 and what have you, you would be wise to keep an effective sanitizer conveniently tucked close by.

  1. Shoes – A hotel job is double edged. You have to not only think and work sharp but also look your snazziest best, at all times. As most stylists have had us believe, from the pre-industrial revolution times, it is high heels that lend a lot of poise to your gait, which in turn spruces up your entire look and injects a lot of self-confidence. But constant use of heels and for all these long hours is akin to the torture of ‘The Texas Chain Saw Massacre’ proportions. The quick fix solution – change into comfy shoes as often as you can during the day; definitely in the confines of your office.

As for men, shoe bites and corns are a very man thing which can wipe the panache off the most suave hotelier.

  1. First aid kit – It happened to me several years back. Thankfully, I was in my office and not in the Lobby, conference room or entertaining a VIP guest. Wonder what the agent or carrier was, but I was definitely the target of the allergy that broke out in me for the first time in my life. After frantic calls to the family physician and the Hotel doctor, I sent my very able aide to fetch me a couple of tablets of Allegra. At times, it has been an inexplicable bout of headache or the need to sooth down the digestive tract after an unwarranted onslaught.

Keep a little first aid kit with things that come in handy for sharp, stunning paper cuts, headache, stomachache, allergy, a soothing eye drop to bring relief from staring at the computer screen for all those long hours……….you get the drift!

This could also become a ‘force of attraction’ pulling other colleagues into your lair, if they want an easy solution and do not wish to trot down to the hotel infirmary.

  1. Book of wisdom – Move over caffeine! This is the best pick-me-up that I can advocate for. Personal problems, professional woes, a creative low, feeling high-strung, rap from the boss, foul play by a colleague, a customer crisis, media behaving maniacally or plain boredom that strikes at that odd hour in the day – this little pocket book packed with gems from other people’s life and learning serves as the best antidote to lift up your spirits, pull up your fallen face and energize you instantly. It fosters all the composure and calm needed to handle a high pressure job. And yes, it makes you wiser too.
  1. Rolodex – A rolodex or in today’s times, its virtual avatar, is the most important and trusted ally whilst you are combating all kinds of forces on your office battlefront. From vendors, consultants, media, guests, government, stakeholders to agencies and crisis handlers, you are all the time dealing with ladies and gentlemen of all shapes, sizes and walks of life in this extremely people-centric industry.

An updated, dynamic rolodex is your best friend and mate. Just as an old, outdated one will turn you into deadwood floating aimlessly on the stagnant, murky waters of no-growth and underdevelopment!

  1. A step firmly on the fifth plank of Maslow’s Pyramid – Skip the Hollywood sham. In the world and working life, good guys do not finish last. It is quite on the contrary. It pays to be good, genuinely so; because what goes around does come around.

So, go ahead and self-actualize yourself by lending a hand to the boss, team member, junior, that fella from another department; lending a sympathetic ear, mentoring, training, helping meet the deadline, advising or whatever else it takes to make you the ‘good guy.’

Guess who picks up all the people points and gathers all the good wishes when you are that guy in the dock!


L. Aruna Dhir
L. Aruna Dhir
L. Aruna Dhir is a Hospitality & Feature Writer and Columnist for some of the world’s highest-ranked Hospitality publications. Her industry writings are syndicated to the finest global hospitality bodies and used as references in case studies and hotel schools. Aruna runs an exclusive channel on the award-winning media digest, BizCatalyst 360° called “Hospitality Matters” based on her hospitality industry insight and commentary. Aruna is a recognized and national-poll winning Corporate Communications Specialist, PR Strategist, and Writer. A seasoned hotelier, Aruna loves to present hospitality industry watch, insights, case studies, and analysis to her ever-increasing base of global readership. Aruna has over two decades of experience in Hospitality Communications and Brand Management and has worked with some of the best global hotel companies. In her last corporate role, Aruna was the Director – Public Relations at The Imperial New Delhi, where she was part of the core group and was responsible for re-launching The Imperial as one of the finest hotels in India and Asia. Aruna’s hotel experience includes leading the Marketing Communications and Public Relations portfolio for flagship properties at The Oberoi Group and Hyatt International. She also helped launch the Vilases as the uber-luxury experiences from the Oberoi stable. As an industry expert, Aruna has launched brands, developed training modules, created standardization dockets on business communication, written manuals, conducted Image Study & Positioning Analysis, and led media campaigns of Australian Ministers in India. Aruna Dhir’s successful work tenure with Australia’s Diplomatic Mission in India in the capacity of Media Relations Officer, saw her working on a host of never-done-before exciting projects including the hugely rewarding organisation of Australia-India New Horizons – Australia’s largest ever Country Promotion. Aruna Dhir is the first-ever Creative Writer for the Indian greeting cards giant – ARCHIES Greetings and Gifts Ltd. The milestone puts her in the league of Helen Steiner Rice and Amanda Bradley. While with the company she came out with several series of cards sold under her byline – an unprecedented feat that has not been repeated since. L. Aruna Dhir also dabbles in poetry and has to her credit two titles of Anthologies published and marketed by Archies G&G Ltd. Aruna serves on the Board of Association of Emerging Leaders Dialogues (AELD), a front-running Commonwealth Body that works towards developing leaders and influencers of tomorrow, with Princess Anne as its international President. Aruna has been engaged in freelance work for Doordarshan – the Indian National Television, All India Radio, and Times FM. Academically, L. Aruna Dhir topped at the All-India level in her PG Diploma in Public Relations and Advertising. Aruna has been a Ph.D. scholar at Jawaharlal Nehru University, akin to an Ivy League in India. She has earned a Senior Management Course Certification from the Oberoi Centre for Learning & Development in partnership with the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow; V Dimension Management Company, London & Asian Institute of Management, Manila, Philippines. Aruna Dhir has represented India to a select group of opinion-makers in the United States, as a Cultural Ambassador under the GSE Program of Rotary International. She has also participated in the IXth Commonwealth Study Conference held in Australia and chaired by Princess Anne. Aruna is a Life Member of the Public Relations Society of India A Freelance Writer since 1987, with articles that have appeared in India’s topmost newspapers and magazines, Aruna is also a blogger, a memoirist with works published on platforms like Medium and a Book reviewer on Goodreads. In her official and personal capacity L. Aruna Dhir has and continues to work on several social awareness projects – People for Animals, Earthquake Relief, National Blind Association, PETA, WSPA,, Friendicoes to name a few. Born at Allahabad (now Prayagraj), one of the world’s oldest known cities, L. Aruna Dhir grew up and did her schooling in Dehradun, regarded as a prominent seat of academia and literature. After being brought up in the sylvan surroundings of the verdant Doon valley, Aruna chose to make the Capital City of Delhi her second home.

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  1. Well, Aruna, you clearly have been in the trenches. Yes, I’ve had all those things either in my desk or the office bathroom. When living life in the pressure cooker of hotel management one must have things at hand that make life easier, or sometimes even bearable.