Auckland hotels and executives sweep all awards at the 2015 New Zealand Hotel Industry Awards

Auckland hotels and executives made a clean sweep of the 2015 New Zealand Hotel Industry Awards, winning all four awards.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND, 2015-6-9 — /Travel PR News/ — The winners were announced at the New Zealand Hotel Industry Conference gala dinner in Auckland last night.

“This year’s awards attracted a record number of entrants and the competition was fierce,” says Sally Attfield, Hotels Sector Manager for the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA), which co-hosts the awards with Horwath HTL.

“Our three individual winners all go above and beyond the call of duty. They span the generations and reflect the depth of talent in our valuable hotel sector, which bodes well for the future. Our environmental award winner really sets the bar for New Zealand hotels when it comes to minimising its environmental footprint.”

The 2015 New Zealand Hotel Industry Award winners:

  • Outstanding Young Executive Award sponsored by ServiceIQ
    Sam Swaffield, Operations Manager, Crowne Plaza Auckland
  • Senior Hotel Executive Award sponsored by ReserveGroup
    Paul Columbus, General Manager, Novotel Auckland Airport
  • Hotel Industry Environmental Initiative Award sponsored by Greenfield
    The Langham, Auckland
  • Hotel Industry Achievement Award
    John Farrell, Area Director Sales and Marketing, Accor New Zealand and South Pacific, Auckland

Horwath HTL Director Stephen Hamilton says the winners are inspirational and set a benchmark of excellence for the sector.

“New Zealand hotels operate in an extremely competitive international environment. Continually improving the experience we offer domestic and international visitors is vital if we are to achieve the tourism industry’s Tourism 2025 goal of almost doubling annual tourism revenue to $41 billion by 2025.”

The hotel sector is a major contributor to New Zealand’s tourism industry, with more visitors staying in hotels than any other commercial accommodation.

More information on the winners follows at the end of this media release.

About the 2015 New Zealand Hotel Industry Conference and Awards
The New Zealand Hotel Industry Conference and Hotel Industry Awards were held at The Langham, Auckland on 4 June 2015. Co-hosted by TIA and Horwath HTL, this is the only annual conference dedicated to the New Zealand hotel industry. It is a valuable opportunity to network with sector leaders, gain new insight into visitor markets and industry issues, keep up with trends, strengthen relationships and make new connections. Accor is the conference Platinum Sponsor.

2015 New Zealand Hotel Industry Award winners
Outstanding Young Executive Award sponsored by ServiceIQ
Sam Swaffield, Operations Manager, Crowne Plaza Auckland

Recognising a rising star who has made an exceptional contribution to their employer and to the hotel industry over the past 12 months.

Sam Swaffield recently became Operations Manager at the Crowne Plaza Auckland, part of the InterContinental Hotels Group, responsible for the smooth running of this 352 room hotel, overseeing 130 staff. At 23, he is IHG’s youngest operations manager in Australasia.

Two years ago Sam was identified by IHG as a ‘high flyer’. One of only 19 individuals from a pool of more than 1000 applicants across Australasia, he was selected to participate in IHG’s management trainee programme.

Fresh out of Lincoln University where he had completed a Bachelor of Commerce in Hotel Management, he carried out his training at Crowne Plaza Auckland, successfully initiating and leading projects which led to the improvement of service delivery and guest satisfaction.

He then joined Auckland Airport Holiday Inn as Front Office Manager. Employee satisfaction in the Front Office team rocketed under his leadership and he helped the hotel become one of IHG’s top performers.

A secondment to IHG’s regional headquarters in Sydney saw him carry out work to successfully improve best practice across IHG’s Australasia region. He recently returned to New Zealand to take up the Operations Manager role.

Senior Hotel Executive Award sponsored by ReserveGroup
Paul Columbus, General Manager, Novotel Auckland Airport

Recognising an individual who is a role model and has a passion for their work so great that they go beyond the call of duty.

Paul Columbus has over 30 years’ experience in senior hotel management roles, originally in New Zealand and then for Accor in the UK.

The prospect of opening one of New Zealand’s most dynamic new hotels enticed him back to Aotearoa, and he returned to Auckland to pilot the launch of Novotel Auckland Airport.

He has been at the helm of the Novotel Auckland Airport from construction through to its successful opening in 2011, overseeing its evolution into one of the Asia Pacific’s most influential airport hotels and a striking landmark on the New Zealand hotel landscape.

Under Paul’s leadership, Novotel Auckland Airport has achieved impressive results across all facets of the business and has led to Paul being made the ‘brand champion’ for Novotel in New Zealand.

Paul also plays an active role in promoting the interests of the wider Auckland business and tourism communities, including his role as Chair of TIA’s Auckland Hotel Sector Group. He also plays a key role in steering the Airport’s Business Community and a tourism working group.

He has played a major role in providing employment opportunities for disadvantaged South Auckland residents under the Building Futures programme. He initiated a relationship with local Aorere College to foster youth career development in the hospitality sector.

Paul has been made Accor’s Champion for their new partnership with the Sustainable Business Network. He has also been appointed Accor’s Trees for Survival Champion. This programme aims to rejuvenate wasteland areas through native planting and educate school children about the importance of the environment.

Hotel Industry Environmental Initiative Award sponsored by Greenfield
The Langham, Auckland

Recognising a hotel that has shown innovation above and beyond all others in order to neutralise its impact on the climate and environment.

The Langham, Auckland’s environmental initiatives have both improved the efficiency of the hotel and reduced its environmental impact.

This hotel sets the bar when it comes to employee buy-in to its environmental initiatives.

It is continually looking at innovations to continue to neutralise its impact on the environment. It has gone beyond its own four walls, by working with suppliers to adopt practices that minimise its environmental impact and that deliver social benefits.

The judges said The Langham, Auckland has successfully integrated social and environmental considerations into its development and daily activities to help build a better world.

These touch on its purchasing selection processes, encouraging suppliers to adopt practices that minimise their environmental impact, fostering innovation in supply chains and working in partnership with suppliers to continually improve.

Initiatives include:

  • An online Carbon Emission and Carbon Saving Calculator that enables planners to find out the real environmental cost of an event and then select sustainable offerings to offset that
  • A sustainable seafood policy which has seen it cease purchasing seafood and fish nominated as endangered, threatened or at risk, with a preference for purchasing seafood sourced from environmentally certified sources
  • Participation in Earth Hour, including encouraging guests to turn off the lights in their rooms
  • An induction programme which shares environmental initiatives with staff, and in turn encourages them to contribute their own ideas which has resulted in staff helping to clean up coastlines and Meatless Monday
  • Energy, water and waste reduction schemes with measurable results and improvements
  • A supplier code of conduct
  • Community service and involvement, including sponsorship of Garden to Table which encourages young children to grow and cook their own seasonal fruit and veg.

The Langham, Auckland this year once again secured a prestigious EarthCheck Gold level of certification, something it first achieved in 2012.

Hotel Industry Achievement Award
John Farrell, Area Director Sales and Marketing, Accor New Zealand and South Pacific

John has been one of the most influential figures in New Zealand’s hotel industry and tourism sector for the past four decades.

He joined the Southern Pacific Hotel Corporation in 1985 and helped it grow to become the leading hotel chain in New Zealand by building strong support for the network in key inbound markets such as Japan, Europe, North America and Australia.

With the sale of SPHC, John was made CEO of Travelodge Australia. In 2005 he returned to New Zealand to head Accor’s sales and marketing team in this country.

He plays an active role in the Tourism Export Council and was responsible for introducing Accor’s pioneering Optimum Service Standards to cater for the rapidly growing Chinese and Indian markets. He plays a key role in representing Accor’s New Zealand interests internationally and actively leads Accor New Zealand’s development and franchise portfolios.  Accor’s regional portfolio has grown from 21 hotels in 2005 to 40 hotels in 2015.

John’s team has just been recognised with Accor’s highest global honour, the Bernache, for achieving significant market share growth of direct hotel bookings against the online travel agencies thanks to his leadership and strategies.

Perhaps most telling  of all for the type of leader John is, his team has one of the highest satisfaction scores in the global Accor network as measured in the company-wide Employment Opinion Survey.

John has served on the boards of Tourism Auckland and Conventions and Incentives New Zealand and is a regular member of tourism and hotel working panels.

He gives generously of his time and has been an active supporter of Cure Kids, leading a number of fundraising activities over the years.