Creative, Analytical and Perceptual Marketing Intern Gains Real-World Experience
Most people heading to Longmont, Colorado, 33 miles from Denver, in mid-May, do so in pursuit of a great outdoors experience. Rent a canoe or kayak, hop on a hot air balloon, or be bold and consider a skydiving adventure. As enticing as a back to nature quest might seem, this was not the reason behind University of Bridgeport’s Nirveek Shah’s journey to the Rocky Mountain region.
Shah, a Master of Arts student in Global Media and Communication Studies, sought a marketing internship opportunity to complement his classroom experience. A 210-room Best Western Plus Plaza Hotel, part of the Best Western International, Inc. brand, that serves both business and leisure travelers in Longmont responded to his inquiry. “Two days after hearing from the hotel owner Sunil Patel, I packed up my car and drove 1,800 miles to begin my internship,” Shah said.
After first adjusting to Colorado’s thin air with 17 percent less oxygen than sea level, Shah settled into a room in the hotel for five days a week. “I spend my other two days with a relative who lives nearby, which is convenient.”
Taking the initiative, Shah prepared and submitted a four-prong marketing plan to Patel to promote the hotel. He also developed and launched the hotel’s first website that links to the corporate site for reservation booking. “I am self-taught in several graphic design programs that assisted me in building the website using Wix.com and HTML,” he explained.
In addition to promoting myriad summer adventure activities, Shah said that the hotel is near Rocky Mountain National Park, the biggest park in Colorado, a popular destination in both summer and winter.
“As a part of his Curricular Practical Training, Nirveed has started learning the basics of the hospitality industry with the front office and housekeeping coordination, the two main pillars of any hotel.” Patel commented. “He is a very hardworking person with a variety of extraordinary skills, and he has helped the hotel in marketing, social media, website development and so on—all of which will assist us with future growth. He has also helped with our property renovation by dealing with various contractors under the General Manager’s guidance.”
Shah said his experience builds upon what he has learned in the UB classroom, especially his International and Public Relations course. “I learned how to set up a campaign in this class and gained an understanding of e-marketing through market research. My hypothetical campaign was selling Rolex watches in Nepal.”
Enhancing the hotel’s social media presence, Shah said he has increased engagement on Facebook and created an Instagram account for the hotel. “I have also fine-tuned my interpersonal skills while interacting with customers at the front desk.”
Shah’s initial interest in UB was driven by an ability to learn about media and communications, as well as marketing and international relations in the same department.