Hoteliers from Auckland and Queenstown have taken out the top titles in the prestigious 2019 New Zealand Hotel Industry Awards.
The awards celebrate the best staff across numerous categories ranging from front office services to general manager, as well as rewarding a hotel judged to offer an outstanding environmental initiative.
The judging process selected candidates who demonstrated a number of factors, such as receiving recognition from hotel guests, demonstrating commitment and undertaking training to further their career, and personal attributes such as personality, problem solving and anticipating guest needs.
Twelve individuals were singled out for awards, with General Manager of the Year going to Jeremy Healy of Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour, while Novotel Auckland Airport general manager Paul Columbus was named Senior Hotel Executive of the Year.
The judges said both winners stood out for their leadership and for displaying a passion for their work that saw them go beyond the call of duty.
Mr Healy was described as a “consummate hotelier, a dedicated individual who never stops trying to improve product standards and service delivery”.
The judges said Mr Columbus embodied the “complete package of a senior hotel executive” and was “a wholehearted ambassador for the New Zealand tourism industry”.
Matt McDonald from Queenstown’s Millbrook Resort was awarded Outstanding Young Hotel Executive of the Year.
The food and beverage operations manager reduced staff turnover in his department and more than doubled profitability, said the judges, who were “particularly impressed by the time he puts into developing local hospitality students who may never even work for him”.
A new Hotel Industry Technology Employee of the Year award went to Ella Blake, assistant hotel manager of the Bolton Hotel, Wellington, for leading a project to introduce interconnected technology projects.
And the award for environmental initiative of the year went to Sudima Christchurch Airport, the first CarboNZero accredited hotel in the South Island.
Stephen Hamilton director of the award’s co-organiser Horwath HTL, said: “It was clear that a lot of time and effort went into preparing many of the nominations, so the judges had plenty of good information to make their decisions.”
Sally Attfield, hotel sector manager for the event’s co-organiser, Tourism Industry Aoteroa, said the calibre of the 39 Award finalists and 13 winners is a reflection of the exceptional individuals working in New Zealand hotels.
“They show our hotel sector is in good heart and is providing people with excellent career opportunities across a range of disciplines,” she said.
The full list of 2019 New Zealand Hotel Industry Award winners is:
Hotel Industry General Manager of the Year, sponsored by AHS Hospitality
- Jeremy Healy, General Manager, Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour
Hotel Industry Senior Hotel Executive of the Year, sponsored by Dalman Architects of Space
- Paul Columbus, General Manager, Novotel Auckland Airport
Hotel Industry Outstanding Young Hotel Executive of the Year, sponsored by Sparkle Master Drycleaners
- Matt McDonald, Food & Beverage Operations Manager, Millbrook Resort, Queenstown
Hotel Industry Environmental Initiative of the Year
- Sudima Christchurch Airport
Hotel Industry Technology Employee of the Year, sponsored by GuestTraction
- Ella Blake, Assistant Hotel Manager, Bolton Hotel, Wellington
Hotel Industry Administration Employee of the Year
- Nicolette van Lieshout, Building Futures Project Manager, Accor New Zealand Regional Office
Hotel Industry Concierge of the Year, sponsored by Sparkle Master Drycleaners
- Frederique Irion, Concierge, Cordis, Auckland
Hotel Industry Food and Beverage Employee of the Year
- Bonn Tucker, Food and Beverage Supervisor, Scenic Hotel Southern Cross, Dunedin
Hotel Industry Front Office Services Employee of the Year, sponsored by the New Zealand School of Tourism
- Kevin Dias, Front Office Manager, Sudima Auckland Airport
Hotel Industry Housekeeper Employee of the Year, sponsored by Vendella
- Nicolas Souto, Executive Housekeeper, Millbrook Resort, Queenstown
Hotel Industry Regional Hotel Employee of the Year, sponsored by Linenmaster
- Edward Judd, General Manager, Novotel & ibis Rotorua
Hotel Industry Revenue Manager of the Year, sponsored by ARMA
- Mark Nixon, Revenue and Reservations Manager, Bolton Hotel, Wellington
Hotel Industry Sales, Marketing & Distribution Employee of the Year, sponsored by Fastrack Digital
- Elizabeth Burrett, Marketing Manager, SKYCITY Hotels, Sky Tower and Tourism, SKYCITY Entertainment Group