Many of BirchStreet’s employees spend a lot of time on the road conducting sales presentations, meetings, implementations and customer trainings. This blog is the second in an ongoing series focused on encounters around the world from different perspectives and positions within BirchStreet.
Employee: Tiran “T”
Length of time at BirchStreet: 1.5 years
Tiran, who goes by his nickname “T,” was born and raised in Dalian, China. At the age of 10, his family moved to the small remote town of Rio Hondo, Texas. With his only language Mandarin, his parents enrolled him in a bilingual school where he learned English.
For BirchStreet, employees who are bilingual are a huge asset when your customers are spread over 78 different countries. T was introduced to BirchStreet by a friend who had interned with the company. Shortly after that, T landed a job as a Marketplace Associate, dedicated to working on the AAHOA initiative and travelling to conferences around the United States. Six months later, the BirchStreet training team was looking to expand, and it was a natural fit for T to join that group.
As expected, T has become a very proficient traveler and has developed a routine when he’s on the road. Upon his arrival, he stays in the first night and tries to rest, sleep and prepare for the next day of training. He usually wakes up around 6 am, has breakfast with the Director of Purchasing or Finance, and a full day of training begins. For lunches and dinners, he keeps his eyes out for chicken pot pies and sweet potato fries, two of his favorite things to eat.
If T is in a big city training, he often tries to get tickets to the local sports stadium. Over the past year, he was able to see a Raptors game in Toronto and both Celtics and Red Socks games in Boston. T does admit that being on the road makes it hard to keep up your normal workout schedule, so he often finds himself doing pushups in his room. He’ll also try to use the hotel gym, and it’s always great if there happens to be a basketball hoop to shoot around. There’s an ongoing joke in the training team that a trainer’s essential items are diet pills (from all the great hotel food and travels), a bottle of wine (to relax with at the end of full day) and a roll of tape (to use for expense reports).
After conducting many training sessions around the world, T said that he has learned there are many consistencies across different hotels. In trainings, clients often ask the same questions, so he has learned to answer them and even address them before being asked. Having a business background in college proved to be very useful as a trainer because many of the accounting, budgeting and business processes that the BirchStreet platform is based on comes into question during training. Since he did not come from a career in the hospitality industry, he has embraced learning how hotel operations can become more efficient using the product.
When asked what his favorite place he has traveled to, there was no hesitation in answering the Shore Lodge in Idaho. Living steps away from the beach in California, T didn’t know what to expect when he arrived. Departing the plane in Boise, he drove to McCall, and even the drive was beautiful, relaxing and surreal with forests and snow-capped mountains. In a different trip to Sun Valley, Idaho, T was able to visit the room of Ernest Hemmingway, who used to live at the Lodge, which was especially meaningful because he is one of T’s favorite authors.
Internationally, T visited Istanbul, Turkey which was also amazing, as it was his first time in Europe. With the help of Hilton’s Director of Procurement, who also acted as his tour guide, he experienced the Grand Bazaar and was taught how to haggle with the vendors. One of the highlights of his trip was tasting a traditional Turkish dessert of quince with heavy whipped cream on top and drinking Turkish coffee with the coffee grounds in the cup. He learned that fortune tellers used to make predictions by the way the coffee grounds came out of the cup when they were dumped out.
T hopes that his travels will take him to Hong Kong, Brazil and Australia, but in the meantime, he is happy visiting any new place along the way. His favorite parts of being a trainer with BirchStreet is the ability to meet different types of people and cultures and the satisfaction of helping people learn procure-to-pay software that will make their daily jobs better.