People of the People: Rey Moraga in the Key to Success in the Hospitality Industry
“[You] need to take advantage of your experiences.” These are the words of Rey Moraga, who’s had decades of experience in the hospitality industry. Rey Moraga, an Enderun Almuna, was the guest speaker of the webinar “Key to Success in the Hospitality Industry” last February 26, 2021. This event was hosted by the school founder, Jack Tuason, and was successful through the efforts of the Enderun’s office of Career Services. Moreover, let’s look at the key takeaways from the fruitful exchange about the industry as a whole.
About Rey Moraga
Our very own Hotelier of the Year (Front Office Category) at the 2020 Stellar Awards, Rey Moraga is a graduate of Bachelor of Science in International Hospitality Management with specialization in Culinary Arts in 2012. Yes, you read it right, he is a graduate of culinary arts and is now the Front Office (FO) Manager of Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor, Cambodia. He expressed how it’s okay to switch lanes because what’s important is where you feel more yourself. His journey began after graduating, where he took part in the pre-opening in the Raffles Fairmont in Makati, Philippines. Positions after positions, he explored the hotelier life. He mentioned that it’s not like he doesn’t love cooking and foods anymore but it’s just that, when he’s out there, he wonders what’s more in the front house. The curiosity of interacting with guests and giving them a flavorful experience drove him to become a hotelier. Right now, he works with a hectic schedule as the FO Manager but he emphasized how all of his tasks boiled down to communications from profiling guests, briefing the staff, monitoring arrivals and checkouts, and meeting with the heads and supervisors. More than that, he maximizes guest experiences by interacting with them in meals and bars, or even by the pool!
Rey’s Pieces of Advice
Aside from giving a peek of how his life had been, Rey also drops advice for the aspiring future of the hospitality industry. Starting with building and keeping one’s Network because this network will help you grow professionally and personally. As early as college, Rey shared that he has been establishing his network from his friends, colleagues, mentors, and supervisors. Basically, his network expands and deepens as he gives importance to people. This leads me to his second advice to be the people as he unfolds the power of relationships. He highlighted the thought of “reaching out” as opportunities don’t come magically to one’s life but rather one should work for it. With this thought, it’s incorporated to open doors and we can say these doors are the chances that we get to explore and learn more about ourselves and the industry we’re getting into. Lastly, make the most out of your School’s resources. As for Enderun, there’s a variety of things one can capitalize on ranging from books, researches, organizations, events, seminars/webinars, mentors, and everything that you can think of. Rey shared how he has the habit of reaching out to guest speakers before and after the event because in this way he got to connect and he can further develop that relationship when needed. He also mentioned how the hospitality industry is small that chances are your mentors will be your future employers or supervisors, who knows? All of the advice sums up to being genuine. Establish yourself and genuinely work on your interests, and skills.
Majority of the webinar’s participants are curious about Rey’s take on internships and he strongly stated that internships are student’s compass. With Enderun’s two internships, it surely guides students to their rightful paths. Moreover, the question raised of where should a student take their internships, Moraga’s answered it appealingly with “go to a place where you want”. His advice was backed up with a tip to research and explore different countries and companies. Sir Jack jokingly said except for Raffles to stop Rey from free promo. On a serious note, his tip of researching should help one student to find one company that shares the same visions and beliefs with them. Furthermore, relating to internships as a compass, he shared countless experiences that proves that it is different once a student is “out there” because these on the job training will serve as an eye-opener.
Hospitality Industry in the New Normal
With the current global crisis, our guest speaker assured that the industry will surely bounce back because of the demand for leisure and the desire for travel. Imagine, all of us were contained in our home for years, who wouldn’t want to unwind, relax, and just take a break in this fast-phasing world? When the medical procedures of restraining this virus are implemented and it is safe already to fully open our industry, it will surely survive and prosper. Sir Jack even mentioned that our industry is even BC o before christ and this means it has survived various global pandemics and world wars. In summary, there’s a light at the end of a tunnel for all of us and this generation of hoteliers is the hope to make the industry stable again and ample in the future.
The key to be successful in the industry is two: Right attitude, and loyalty. Rey Moraga champions that characters and skills can be easily learned, adapted, and modified but having the right attitude towards your work, environment, colleagues, and guests surely secure you a spot in the industry. Embodying the right attitude for every situation determines how great one’s person is in dealing with diverse scenarios of daily life of a hospitality industry practitioner. Lastly, loyalty because he attested that he is a Raffles baby as he has been working for the company for 8 years now and that’s the reason why he is able to maximize and exhaust every opportunity that the business can offer him. For him, loyalty equates to more room for growth because through loyalty, one can set roots and grow beautifully as time passes by.
Overall, the mindset is “hospitality industry is an industry of people” because whatever category and department one goes into, there’s always the need to connect and interact with people. This inspiring webinar is just another story in the book. However, one has the power to impart the values and teachings from this conversation to start their own stories. Are you ready to be people?