Student Reflection to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Trip: Behind-the-Scenes Tour

Busch Gardens Tampa is the ultimate family adventure, African themed and animal theme park. Combines with world-class thrill rides, and live entertainment show. To run such a big operation like this, the coordinator and human resource department must be the crucial one. Having Sonya Shannon, the Vice President of the human resource department for both Busch Gardens and Adventure Island it was fantastic. She walked us through her almost over 38 years amazing experiences in the HR field.

I’ve learned one of the most challenging tasks for the HR department of Busch Gardens is making sure the park is fully staffed. They are responsible for the whole park’s recruiting, screening, interviewing, and placing workers. The role of the human resource department has gone from the traditional ‘hire and fire’ to an in-depth position. Now they oversee employee relations, looks after employee benefits, establishing training, and orientations. Not only for employees but for others working units. The HR department composed of functions, relationships, responsibilities, authorities, and communications of individuals within each department. Things they working on are crucial for completing the whole picture.

“Hospitality is a fascinating industry, and my job is to create the memory for all of the guests that last the lifetime, I love to talk with my guests and to see their smiley face,” Ms. Shannon said. That sentence evoked the strong sense of resonance with me. Her passion for the hospitality industry and how she loves her job inspired me a lot. It doesn’t matter if technologies had partly replaced human resources. Still, I believing in Human Interaction is the key to building up the connections amongst people through the industry. Though the changes have become increasingly dynamic, every second we are facing something new. However, I’ll say one thing that will never change is the key that leading the industry to a better place will still be the “Human Interaction.”

Ping-Hsuan Ting
HFT 3003: Introduction to Hospitality and Tourism Course, Fall 2018