Manager for a Day at Hilton Hotels

In their final year of studies, students with a great academic track record and strong career ambitions are selected to participate in the ‘’Manager for a Day @ Hilton Vienna’’ program, where they experience a slice of life in the industry by shadowing managers of a top international hotel.

This unique chance to engage in the day-to-day operations of high-level managers to gain in-depth insights into a manager’s real life, allowing them to apply their classroom-learned knowledge of revenue management, sales, marketing, forecasting and more to a real life situation and garner skills and experience for their future careers.

Magdalena Schnellhorn, Maria Christina Fuchs, Amarindra Sandhu, Patricia Neamtu, Dominique Pisa, and Nancy Chen spent a day on the job with department heads at Hilton Hotels Austria. They accompanied Robert Wagner, Director of Business Development, Daniela Wakefield, Director of Human Resources , Norbert Lessing Country General Manager, Hotel Manager Hilton Danube Markus Hussler, Hotel Manager Hilton Vienna Ronald Diesenreiter, and Hotel Manager Hilton Plaza Matthias Herd, respectively, to get behind the scenes access to running an international luxury hotel.

Magdalena shared her first foray into upper-level hotel operations:

'’My one-day experience with Hilton started at 8:30 at the Hilton Vienna Stadtpark, when Mr. Wagner welcomed me in the lobby area of the hotel. He took me on a short tour through the hotel and the different departments, where I got to meet most of the staff and was warmly welcomed by every one of them.

The first meeting for me as a ‘shadow-manager’ was the ‘Daily Morning Reporting Meeting’, where members of his team report about the various bookings and inquiries, be it group sales, key accounts or other reservations for the three hotels in Vienna. I was given the chance to be an active listener in all meetings scheduled for that day, and for a better understanding what the team members were reporting about, Mr. Wagner printed out all necessary documents and made time for explaining the relevant information to me beforehand, so I was fully capable of following their conversations.

After the meeting, he had to fulfill his obligations of answering various inquiries via phone and email. Although this part doesn’t sound that interesting, Mr. Wagner really involved me in his daily operations and tried to provide as much information as possible to even make the task of answering to e-mails more exciting. As time flies when being occupied with a lot of work, the next meeting regarding the recent ‘Pick-ups’ was about to start. In this meeting the latest developments and changes in the various market segments, as well as the change in the competitive set was presented by the C&E team members and discussed accordingly. I even got the chance to attend a staff appraisal, which was interesting to listen to as well.

In the course of the day, Mr. Wagner also talked about the STR Global Reports and how they are implemented and used in the daily operations of a hotel. Other relevant topics we talked about were the fair market share, the pick-ups, the occupancy rate, the competitive set and other important data a manager in his position has to deal with everyday. After a long-lasting Business Focus Meeting with the colleagues from Hilton Innsbruck, I was glad that Mr. Wagner took me on another tour to show me some of the rooms and the banquet facilities. 

I was then allowed to be part of one last meeting, concerning refurbishments and improvements of the C&E online platform. To end that very informative and exciting day, Mr. Wagner introduced me to Mr. Ronald Diesenreiter, General Manager of Hilton Vienna, and to Mr. Norbert Lessing, Country General Manager of Hilton Austria.

For me, as a graduate of the High School for Tourism Management in Bad Hofgastein, and as a soon-to-be graduate of MODUL University Vienna, the day with Mr. Wagner was particularly interesting since I’ve already worked in various departments of a hotel. Although my list of past employers has grown over the years, I’ve never had the chance to really experience what it’s like to be a manager working in an international company. Mr. Wagner, with his cheerful character, his profound knowledge and his professionalism further inspired and motivated me to strive for achieving my ambitious aims in the international hotel industry.’’