Corporate Sales Intern
Placement (10 Months+)
Describe your role and what it entails
During my internship, the whole Hilton Worldwide Sales team has really shown me the ins and outs of sales. I have learnt to understand a sales enquiry from the ground up and have seen how it gets loaded into our internal system and understand how this enquiry travels all the way from a client, through an account director, through our Hilton Direct team and finally, to group sales support to load. Throughout my internship I have rotated through different departments of sales, therefore allowing me to get a taste of a lot and have plenty of great experiences.
What have been your highlights?
In October, I was lucky enough to attend the EMEA Leadership Conference. At the conference, I assisted many different stands and sessions, and I was lucky enough to meet and speak to many of the senior leaders of the business, including Hilton’s CEO Chris Nassetta while I was helping on the golf stand. We exchanged a couple of jokes and he was a really friendly guy; as are all the senior leaders I have met at Hilton. At the conference, I really got to get a glimpse into how large of a company Hilton is and started to understand its operations.
In January, I had the chance to travel to Vienna with the HWS EMEA Team, I had never been to Austria, so this was a fantastic experience. My favourite moment of the trip was doing a scavenger hunt around the city, this gave me a great chance to network with members of the HWS EMEA team that I had not spoken to before.
Finally, in March, I went to the Hilton Heathrow Terminal 5 where I attended the annual sales workshop with the Southern and Northern hotels across the UK. This event gave me a great chance to meet different General Mangers of hotels as well as Sales Managers and Directors from a lot of different properties. This event was a great opportunity to shadow members of the team and understand the different sorts of enquiries and questions hotels had for the account directors.
What challenges have you faced during your internship?
A big challenge I initially faced when I started my internship was switching to a 9-5 life from being a university student - it took time to create a new daily routine.
In addition, throughout my internship, I have been challenged to push myself out of my comfort zone everyday by talking to different people and speaking to actual clients on the phone. Speaking with people is a focus in sales. I think a key thing when first facing challenges and what I would recommend is to understand where you can improve, this is something I ensured I did from the beginning.
What have you learnt from your experience in the role?
I have learnt countless things throughout my experience in the role. But to name three I would say: my Hilton Core Sales Skills Qualification, my overall perception of sales and finally my experience of life in the working world.
Hilton Core Sales Skills was a qualification I completed back in October. The 6-week course allowed me to develop all sorts of skills and sales techniques in sessions with the programme leader each week. It was a great accomplishment to pass the qualification and also gain the skills and knowledge gained which I can use in my future career in sales.
My overall opinion on sales has changed over the course of the year. Many people have the perception of a ‘sleazy salesman’ in their mind but my internship at Hilton has shown me that it is actually quite the opposite. Everyone I have met puts a big focus on building the respect and trust in a relationship before selling, which I think is important and I was happy to see.
Finally, life in the working world is something that you must be ready for even if you are not. It can be very scary at first when walking into an office full of people you do not know, but it is all about pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, otherwise, you will never learn. I have learnt that I do really enjoy sales, and this is something I would not have known if I did not do a placement. My experience here will definitely help me narrow down my job search after university.
What advice would you give to a student following in your footsteps?
The two key pieces of advice I would give are to 1, Speak to everyone and 2, network with everyone.
On my third day as an intern, I was invited to a conference in London. Here, I made it my main goal to speak to as many Hilton Sales teams as possible so I could not only get my name in the door but see what they had to say about the company. At this event, not only did I realise how large the operations of sales is, but how many different areas in sales there was for me to explore. The people I spoke to at this conference, I have worked with and met again throughout my internship; showing why first impressions really matter.