Hospitality Club goes under the surface at Monterey Bay Aquarium

The Monterey Bay Aquarium could be considered the heart of our local hospitality industry and students were welcomed on an exclusive tour and seminar to learn more about sustainable business practices on Friday, April 28 with the Hospitality Club.

Tourism and hospitality are large industries on the Monterey Peninsula, making them impactful to the economy and community. Fourth-year President of the California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) Hospitality Club Joanne Rivera-Arce joined the club in 2018 and changed her major to hospitality soon after.

 “There’s never a dull day in hospitality, and it’s actually one of the biggest industries in the world,” Rivera-Arce said. 

Some of the aquarium speakers said they didn’t always see hospitality in their career path, but they all spoke about their jobs with enthusiasm.

Third-year Hospitality Club secretary Nikita Prasad said “there’s a difference between a job and a career. You should do what makes you passionate.”

During the seminar, speakers shared how their career paths lead them to the aquarium and what working there is like. 

Manager of Guest Opportunities at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Scott Stratton said “hospitality is about creating feels for people.” 

Aquarium associates emphasize the importance of creating relationships. According to Kirt Mckee, a guest experiences supervisor, “the model of our team is that guests come here for the animals, and leave remembering us.”

Third-year Hospitality Club vice president Alana Dale-Moore,  a guest experience administration intern at the aquarium,  brought the Hospitality Club and a cohort of students from several majors together to give them the opportunity to give students a taste of working in the aquarium. 

Dale-Moore is currently working on a project called “The Mystery Shopper Program,” which invites CSUMB students to the aquarium to answer questions to gauge the relationship building between aquarium staff and guests.

 “One of our ways to do mission success, which is to inspire conservation of the ocean, is with relationship building,” said Dale-Moore. 

The tour of the aquarium ended with a visit to the lab classroom, where students sang “Happy Birthday” to Stratton and observed animals in tanks such as sea urchins and abalones.

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