Crowne Plaza Queenstown’s chief concierge Fiona Lawson has been named finalist in the concierge of the year category at this year’s Hotel Management (HM) Magazine Awards, making her the only female to make the shortlist.
Ms Lawson, who is a member of the prestigious Hotel Concierge Society Les Clefs d’Or New Zealand (HCSNZ), has worked for almost twenty years as part of the Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG).
Ms Lawson is one of just 14 concierge across Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific to be recognised in the list which highlights staff who have dedicated themselves to providing exceptional guest service in the hotel industry.
Crowne Plaza Queenstown Senior Guest Experience Manager Guy Robinson said Fiona was known for her “infectious smile, laugh and affable nature” by all her peers and guests.
“We embrace a fun and supportive team culture at Crowne Plaza and Fiona is always leading the way in this area,” said Mr Robinson.
“The front-of-house team all get on extremely well and this is clear when they interact with guests. People who stay with us quickly see that they are a fun, passionate and experienced group of professionals who love what they do.”
“Fiona’s certainly a memorable person and always goes above and beyond to ensure guests have the best time possible during their stay with us. We have many repeat guests here in Queenstown and even some who’ve stayed at the Crowne Plaza Christchurch – where she used to work – who still remember her,” he said.
As the only female with Les Clefs d’Or status — ‘The Golden Keys’ –in the South Island, and one of only a handful in New Zealand, Fiona is hailed as a “unique and incredibly important” member of the Crowne Plaza Queenstown guest services team.
Ms Lawson started with IHG twenty years ago in room service, before the hotel manager recognised her bubbly personality and asked if she would like to try her hand at being a concierge.
“When he said it was meeting and greeting guests, talking to them, ensuring their needs are met at all times and that their stay was nothing short of amazing, I knew it was the job for me,” said Ms Lawson.
“I love my job. I get to work in this fabulous country we call New Zealand and wake up to stunning Queenstown every day. That, along with making sure guests have a great experience, so that as soon as they leave they tell everyone about their amazing stay in this wonderful town and special country (is why I love my job),” she said.
“That’s what spins my wheels. When you spend time with a guest talking about the amazing things they can do here and they come back after their day happy and excited, it’s great.”
“In this job a friendly, happy-go-lucky demeanour is essential, as well as being versatile and flexible.”
Crowne Plaza Queenstown was also named a finalist in the New Zealand Hotel of the Year category.
“We consistently go that extra mile for our guests and pride ourselves on our excellent customer service,” said General Manager Reinier Eulink.
“Fiona is an absolute pleasure to work with and it is the hard work of Fiona and the rest of the Crowne Plaza Queenstown team that have helped us make the finals.”
“We’re consistently in the top 20 Queenstown hotels on Trip Advisor, voted finalist in Best Ski Hotel Awards for two years running and are number one in the IHG group for Japan and Australasia in our independent guest survey for guest satisfaction.”
“Being named a finalist – along with Crowne Plaza Auckland-is a privilege. We’re excited to see if we can take out both titles on the night,” said Mr Eulink.
The HM Awards for Hotel and Accommodation Excellence, presented by Sealy, are in their 12th year and are the leading awards for the accommodation industry in Australia, New Zealand and the Asia-Pacific region.
The awards are hosted annually by leading industry magazine Hotel Management, and the winners will be announced at a gala event in Sydney on Friday September 5.
Close to 50 awards will be handed out across categories for properties, departments and dedicated staff.