accomnews speaks to Hotel Grand Chancellor’s Judy Chen, the passionate and enthusiastic director of sales and marketing for Wellington and Auckland and winner of the Senior Hotel Executive of the Year at the prestigious New Zealand Hotel Awards, 2017.
Judy’s story begins in Taiwan, followed by a move to New Zealand with her family when she was just 10. Her career in the industry started when she graduated from Victoria University of Wellington with a master’s degree in tourism management. Wholly aware of the importance of hands-on experience, she also worked in the industry while studying.
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She told us: “During my student years, I enjoyed working part-time as a consultant at an inbound tour operator, a host/tour guide at Te Papa Museum, and during the final year of study, a consultant at the Wellington i-SITE. My first full-time role after graduating though was with Tourism New Zealand. This provided an excellent foundation for my career and I progressed to a managerial position after two years.”
“I joined Hotel Grand Chancellor group late 2005 as director of international sales, where I managed all inbound and wholesale business for 10 hotels across Australia and New Zealand.”
In 2012, she became director of sales and marketing (DOSM) with the James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor in Wellington and in 2015 was promoted to her current role as DOSM for New Zealand. Her role is to oversee sales and marketing activities for all market segments for the two NZ hotels, including Hotel Grand Chancellor Auckland City.
She specified: “I provide leadership to the sales and marketing team and manage key client and stakeholder relationships including overseeing sponsorships, PR, comms and other partnerships.”
The James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor is one of Wellington’s largest and most prominent hotels, conveniently located in the heart of the city. The hotel features 268 accommodation rooms, two restaurants and bars, eight conference and meeting facilities, a day spa, an exclusive 26th floor club lounge and a complimentary in-house gymnasium.
Hotel Grand Chancellor Auckland City is located opposite the viaduct harbour, featuring studio, suites and apartment style accommodation. An onsite gym, indoor swimming pool and sauna complete the guest experience.
We asked Judy to talk about her motivations. She said: “I try and be the best mentor to my team and be there for my clients/industry partners when needed.
“I admire charismatic leaders who inspire everyone and are genuine in their approach. I try to learn from those that I enjoy working with and note the qualities that make them successful. Similarly, if I come across someone that I feel uncertain about, I always make a mental note – do not ever be like that!”
What do you consider are your greatest achievements? “I am very proud that the James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor team has earned some great award recognitions in recent years especially for its environmental initiatives. The hotel is Earthcheck Gold & Qualmark Enviro-Gold-certified. We have a dedicated green team that leads the charge in this area.
“Personally, winning the esteemed Senior Hotel Executive of the Year award at the New Zealand Hotel Awards is certainly a career highlight.”
The award night in July was attended by over 320 hotel professionals in Auckland – a massive celebration of the best talent in the industry. In her acceptance speech, Judy thanked the James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor general manager Steve Martin, her New Zealand sales team and the hotel industry in her acceptance speech.
She added: “The award was a great recognition and I am very grateful for the opportunities I’ve had so far in my career. Soon, I will be commencing a new role as the chief executive of The Tourism Export Council of New Zealand and I am really looking forward to contributing to the wider industry and hopefully have the opportunity to make a difference.”
As a founding committee member of the Young Tourism Export Council of New Zealand, Judy also sits as an advisor on Victoria University’s Tourism Group. Her achievements within the industry over her career have been outstanding and she has shown an immense commitment to inspire the next generation of young tourism and hospitality professionals, encouraging them to reach their fullest potential.
What advice does Judy give to other industry professionals? “Be true to yourself, genuine to others and don’t be afraid to try something new as it may surprise you. Dream big!”
What do you enjoy most? “I enjoy the people I work with; my team, clients, and industry partners and I must add that this industry is great fun and hugely rewarding to work in.”
What are your thoughts on the future of the industry? “The industry is a very important contributor to New Zealand’s economy and we do have to carefully manage the growth so it is sustainable. We need to plan and respond to change more effectively. I would love to see the industry leading more transformational changes in the future – to be the envy of other industries!”