Young and fresh-looking, Elisa Agius has the right face and personality to greet new guests. She is Front Office Manager at Corinthia Palace Hotel, Attard.

Her job entails guiding and supervising the team at the Front Desk to make sure customers have a good check-in, a pleasant stay and a seamless check-out. ‘There is a lot of behind-the-scene work,’ Elisa adds. ‘But I confess I make it a point also to retain hands-on experience, greeting people and seeing that my team are doing their best. I always keep my eyes wide open to follow what is happening and take notice of what others may consider as detail.’

Such as what? ‘I look at customers’ expressions to see whether they are following what is said. Sometimes, I notice from their face they are not understanding what my colleagues are saying. So I make it a point to clarify further, naturally, without sounding heavy.

Again, if, say, I notice that a client enjoys regularly ordering a cup of coffee from Josephine’s and relaxing in the lobby, next time that client comes, I would see that on arrival, a coffee awaits him/her in the room.’

Elisa started working with Corinthia four years ago as a telephone operator. She read Tourism Studies at Malta University. During her second year, she spent some time working at Corinthia Palace with the housekeeping supervisors and performed some work at the front office.

After graduating, I asked if there was any vacancy, and I was requested to join as a telephone operator. I accepted even though I had my University degree since I wanted to join even at the lower ranks. I strongly believe it is important to work from the first simple ranks and grow. You acquire much more experience that way.’

Elisa looks forward to other promotions within the company. ‘I aim to become a hotel manager ultimately. I need to amass as much experience as possible and break my bones on what is required in as many different departments as possible. I am always ready for new horizons’

Always ready for new horizons

Elisa sounded very outgoing. Was I right? ‘To be honest, initially, I was a shy person, but when I started working here, my character developed into an outgoing personality. I love experiencing new things, and I believe I am quite an easy-going person and can cope with any character.’ 

She nodded slightly. ‘However, I do not like selfish people who only see themselves as the centre of attraction. I will do anything to help others, and I expect everyone should do their best to assist. That is what makes us a family here. This sense of family and Corinthia’s philosophy of uplifting lives were the reasons why I wanted to establish myself within the company after my studies. The sense of family is powerful here. Colleagues are very helpful, so you always feel a healthy comradeship or, should I say, feel you are in the right company.

But does this feeling also swell over to clients? ‘Undoubtedly. It’s not only the employees who feel this sense of family, but also customers. They notice it and love it. They appreciate that they too form part of this family philosophy.’

I noted that the Corinthia family is expanding in many other countries. Elisa’s eyes shone. ‘I love travelling, so I always look for new adventures.  I’m open to expanding my work experience with Corinthia abroad. I would love an overseas experience with Corinthia in another country. Not because I do not like what I am currently experiencing but because I want to widen and deepen my experience in other parts of the world.’ 

I noted that Corinthia was ideal for such a thing because of its presence in many other countries and its continuous plans to grow further. ‘I am fully conscious of that, and I am grateful to Corinthia for opening doors which lead to new pastures.’  

Elisa is determined to make the best of it and has furthered her studies. Last year, whilst working, she read for a Masters of Arts in International Hospitality Management. I will not be surprised if she also moves on to a Doctorate.

Beret in the air after the MA in International Hospitality Management

At this point, Elisa switched on to an early experience. ‘I love Corinthia Palace. This place brings back many sweet memories of when I was much younger and used to enjoy coming with my parents for a short stay or to  dine or swim. It has familiar connections with my past, and I would love to extend this bond to my future.’

One question: do you notice clients who often return to this place? Elisa smiled, ‘And how! Some have been here several times, saying it’s like returning home. Would you believe that we have some guests who visit us every two weeks? They live in Malta and make it a point to come here and enjoy a relaxing weekend. These are faithful Corinthians, and it is always a pleasure to welcome them back with us.