A summary of my duty I sent to a professor:
My internship at Traveler is good but stressful. For two months I've been e-mailing general managers and public-relations representatives worldwide, asking them to complete a questionnaire regarding their property. Those questionnaires then get handed off to reporters who write short Zagat-like paragraphs, which will appear in January's "Gold List" issue. (The Gold List is Traveler's reader-chosen list of the 500 best luxury hotels in the world.) My middle-class background has made me a little jaded and cynical, though, because I wonder why the richest people in the world (who else can afford hotel rooms at over $500 per night?) need a magazine to tell them where to stay. I, for one, need only a room with a locking door, a roof over my head, a bed, and a standard, acceptably small bathroom to stay at a hotel -- not sheets of imported silk, nor a personal on-call chef, nor a ceiling plated with 24-carat gold.Take out my rant and just realize how much information has been through my inbox, mailbox, and brain. Five hundred hotels. Over 500! It's an understatement to call it overwhelming!
Not only do I have to organize press kits but I must also ensure (read: BEG) for press kits, preferrably electronic, and images of the property. Once I have all three components (completed questionnaire, press kit, and images), then I package it all up and give it to a reporter.
Some properties, especially in Europe, give me a hard time, a really hard time. I got into an all-out screaming match on the phone with someone at a French hotel who hung up on me twice. For two months, I've been e-mailing and faxing your hotel, no one's gotten back to me, and I call back when I'm told to call back. Why aren't you cooperating with me as much as I'm cooperating with you? I have to arrive at the office seven in the morning so it's two in the afternoon where you are. How much more accomodating can I be?
In short, the properties give me a hard time so the reporters don't have a problem. Sometimes, though, I sign off on a property's file, and the reporter tells me something's missing. I clear up the problem immediately if possible or e-mail the PR rep for further clarification. Today, however, a reporter was simply blind:
Reporter: I'm missing the questionnaire.
Me: According to my files, the property provided a hard copy, which should be in the press kit.
Reporter: I checked but can't find anything.
Me: Okay, I'll ask them to fax another copy.
Later, same day:
Reporter: Hey, here's last week's files.
Me: Thanks. Here's this week's files. Sorry about the questionnaire.
Reporter: No problem. Just make sure [my boss] gets the information.
Me: Of course. Have a good day.
Reporter: You too!
•check press kit for questionnaire in question
•find questionnaire in question IN SAID PRESS KIT WHERE SHE SAID IT WAS
•resist urge to jump from 4 Times Square's 14th floor and instead blogs outrageous story
I'm having a hard enough time with strangers on the phone, and I don't need more stress from reporters who can't see what's in front of them.
Last Saturday, a friend had a birthday party, which I considered the light at the end of the Gold List tunnel. I had a great time because I knew I deserved to have one. It'll be another two weeks before the internship's officially finished; I do deserve to have a stress-free school semester, right?