Lily Fox is Making Hospitality Management Her Own

Senior Lily Fox’s love for traveling and interest in the tourism industry is what brought her to Iowa State. The valuable experiences and skills she has gained on campus are what makes her anchored to Iowa State. 

Fox’s experience in the hospitality management program at Iowa State gave her the necessary expertise to thrive during her two-year internship with The Great Wolf Lodge located in Bloomington, Minnesota.  

Fox’s main focus throughout her internship was building up her managerial skills relevant to hotel and lodging management. Along with operating the front desk, Fox and the other interns had the opportunity to shadow multiple departments throughout the hotel–including housekeeping, retail and food and beverage. Additionally, Fox shadowed various supervisors and managers, including the AM and PM supervisors, Manager on Duty and directors. 

By the end of her internship, Fox was well-versed in guest relations, customer service and was trusted to step-in as acting supervisor when needed. 

“They trusted me with a bit more responsibility, so I would be the one to step in as acting supervisor if we did not have one at the time,” said Fox.  

As acting supervisor, Fox was in charge of checking in and communicating with customers while occasionally sending necessary materials up to the guest rooms. She values the lessons she learned about professionalism and methods for interacting with various personalities, especially unsatisfied customers 

Fox first learned about the opening at the Great Wolf Lodge at Iowa State’s People to People Career Fair, which helped her network through the hospitality industry. The Department of Apparel, Events and Hospitality Management and the College of Human Sciences helped her feel more comfortable applying for various positions, and in turn helped her receive numerous offers before eventually accepting the position she did.  

“The classes that prepared me the most for this internship were Lodging Management I and II,” said Fox. “We had the chance to participate in a hotel simulation which taught me hotel terminology and information about budget [and] growth pertaining to hotels.It was a really cool class.” 

Lodging Management I offers a real-world experience focused on front desk operations and guest services. Providing a combination of functional department activities and current lodging issues, students get a glimpse of what it’s like to work in a hotel.  

Lodging Management II builds upon the foundational skill taught in the first course. Students develop their own business plan and evaluate the performance of a simulated hotel while making applied operational decisions. Students also learn how to properly use the Opera System, a software program utilized by hotels to manage reservations, rates, billing and more.  

When it comes to networking and searching for internships, Fox encourages her fellow students to just go for it. 

“There’s such a wide umbrella of areas students can intern throughout this profession. Students are sure to find something they like if they just try it out,” she said. 

With the skills she learned in the hospitality management program, Fox hopes to work her way up in the hospitality industry and one day become a hotel director.  

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