Sam Swaffield, Operations Manager at InterContinental Hotels Group property Crowne Plaza Auckland, last night claimed the coveted Outstanding Young Executive Award at the 2015 New Zealand Hotel Industry Conference gala dinner at The Langham, Auckland last night (4 June). 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. Zak 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 this 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. He proved to be an inspiring and well respected leader. 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.
Sam’s reputation as a great leader travelled across the Tasman Sea to InterContinental Hotels Group’s regional headquarters in Sydney. In 2014, he was asked to participate in a secondment as Operations Analyst on a number of projects for the Australasian market. During this time he worked closely with Bill Edwards, Head of Operations for Australasia and also Karin Sheppard, Chief Operating Officer for the region
Sam has now returned to New Zealand to take up the role of Operations Manager at Crowne Plaza Auckland. Reporting directly to New Zealand Area General Manager, Wim Ruepert, he is responsible for the smooth running of this 352 room hotel which also has over 1600 square metres of conferencing and events space. In this role, Sam oversees 130 operational staff and has five direct reports across conferencing, rooms division and F&B. At 23, he is the youngest Operations Manager in Australasia and our first I-Grad alumni to reach this operational level within the organisation
“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.