Hospitality Business Magazine

Rising star scoops prestigious New Zealand Hospitality Awards

hotel_awards_sam_more_blurrSam Swaffield, Operations Manager at InterContinental Hotels Group property Crowne Plaza Auckland, last week claimed the coveted Outstanding Young Executive Award at the 2015 New Zealand Hotel Industry Conference gala dinner at The Langham, Auckland.

The award, which is Sponsored by ServiceIQ, ‘recognises a rising star who has made an exceptional contribution to their employer and to the hotel industry over the past 12 months’.

The New Zealand Hotel Industry Awards celebrate individual and business success across New Zealand’s dynamic $24 billion hospitality industry. They are co hosted by the Tourism Industry Association of New Zealand (TIA) and Horwath HTL. and aim to provide a benchmark of excellence and inspiration to other tourism businesses.

In addition to the winner, a further IHG employee was recognised in the Outstanding Young Executive category. Z ak Muysken, Rooms Division Manager at the newly refurbished InterContinental Wellington has been with IHG for 5 years and was one of just three finalists selected from across New Zealand.

Winner, Sam Swaffield, joined InterContinental Hotels Group in February 2013 as part of the company’s management trainee programme. Each year IHG identifies candidates with leadership potential for the 12 month I-Grad program. Having just completed a Bachelor of Commerce in Hotel Management at Lincoln University and with no previous experience in the hospitality industry, Sam was one of only 19 from a pool of over 1,000 applicants across Australasia to be selected for the programme.

Following completion of the I-Grad program at the 352 room Crowne PLaza Auckland, Sam was recruited for the Front Office Manager at Holiday Inn Auckland Airport. It is extremely rare that an I-Grad would move into a Front Office Manager’s role due to the complexity and level of responsibility the role plays in the success of the property.

Employee survey satisfaction scores in 2014 for Sam’s department rose by 41% after Sam joined the team, and in addition to employee satisfaction, the hotel’s guest satisfaction rose to a ranking in the top 20% of Holiday inn properties in Australasia in 2014.

In 2014, he was asked to participate in a secondment as Operations Analyst on a number of projects for the Australasian market, and now he has returned to New Zealand to take up the role of Operations Manager at Crowne Plaza Auckland.

“I am so proud to receive this award, but I know that without the support of IHG, my parents and my partner, it would not have been possible. I feel so lucky to have found a career in an industry that I feel so passionately about”, said Sam.