Today has been much more productive than yesterday. The day started off with long meetings and no specific answers. However, the team was able to meet individually with the finance manager and we were able to get some detailed year-end financial data, at least as much as is available. The accounting leaves much to be desired. Weekly, monthly, and quarterly financial reports are not even a possibility as they only prepare yearly reports. Since demand for rooms (in theory) fluctuates daily, this poor of resolution of data is not nearly as useful as would be desired. The % utilization of hotel services is not tracked as well as would be needed to make recommendations in pricing level changes. The importance of financial information isn’t so apparent in the US because it is always available; making identification of unprofitable business aspects is much easier. Improved financial accounting will definitely be one of our recommendations.
We learned that our practice presentation Wednesday needs to be in both English and Chinese. This is a major issue as changes after that point will be quite difficult and we hoping to finalize content on Wednesday after the review before adding the Chinese characters on Thursday to prepare for the final presentation on Friday. Instead, we now have to finalized our presentation Monday night, get it to the transcriber (Vanessa) on Tuesday, and present it on Wednesday. This leaves us only Sunday and Monday to formulate our entire approach and suggestions and we won’t have the occupancy data we need until late Monday morning. We were hoping for more time to develop the best strategy possible.
We had our first food-related ailment last night. I learned this morning that Brian had an allergic reaction to a lychee fruit that the Hong Kong students shared after dinner. Li and Doug took Brian to the emergency room. Total cost for the cab ride to and from the emergency room, check-in, medical chart, prescription, and Benadryl injection totaled $3 US. Although the health care system may be lacking in China, the price cannot be criticized.
Garrett and I didn’t learn of the incident until the next morning. The three of them are a tight group. They are within the same group and cohort. Garrett and I are in the same cohort as one another, but we are in different groups and had never worked together prior to this class. Garrett and I noticed the division of the group before we left. The gap has closed but I doubt the division will ever become transparent.
We attended the formal banquet tonight, which was a bit odd since this is only the second day of the consulting project. Unfortunately, scheduling did not allow for a more appropriate night when everyone knew each other better and the completion of the final presentations was a cause for celebration. The food was excellent but the wine was not generous. I was expecting more toasts but there weren’t that many and the wine glasses were quite small. Karaoke (or KTV as it is called in China) started before dinner ended. The wine supply was diminished before dinner ended. Doug was an absolute riot behind the mike and everyone enjoyed his entertainment. The group was expected to sing a song together and Crocodile Rock was chosen by Doug, Garrett, and Brian. Li and I had never heard the song before, so it was not a favorable choice for either of us. Luckily, Brian was wise enough to turn off the microphone switch, so our missed lyrics and lulling tune were not such an issue. Brian is very wise in these types of situations. Some of the Hong Kong team helped us out by dancing on stage with us to act as a diversion. About every other song performed was not in English or even recognizable and the music was so loud that talking was difficult. This combination made the perfect recipe for an early evening.