Movers and Shakers!
It’s time to congratulate some of our finest and take time to thank some of our long-standing team members with a number of changes in our SkyCity Hotels sales and marketing team.
Danielle Ouwejan – Business Development Manager
Those of you in our international and wholesale networks will know Danielle’s enthusiasm for the tourism sector, her bubbly personality and genuine passion for all she does. Danielle is not returning from her current maternity leave as the Hotels and Sky Tower Business Development Manager.
We wish her all the best in her future endeavours and thank her for her 6+ year tenure.
We thank Danielle for her prominent role in driving business for our Auckland Hotel properties and Sky Tower in the Wholesale and International markets and most recently managing the groups portfolio.
Danielle has won multiple Tourism awards, Two for the NZ Hotel Industry Awards 2017 and 2019 and Young TEC in 2018. She sat an "emerging leaders" panel at a TIA Summit. A true testament to her passion for Tourism.
Chansy Rey – Senior Sales Executive, Hotels
Chansy was seconded from her role as Sales Executive - Corporate into the role of BDM during Danielle’s maternity and has proven herself as an excellent sales guru who is driven and passionate about our hotel brands and the wider SkyCity precinct. She steps into a new role as Senior Sales Executive where she will support all our sales segments, reporting through to Jean Chapman with Liz Tautu, Groups Specialist reporting through to her. Congratulations to Chansy on her new appointment and we look forward to her continuing to grow and make her mark in her new role.
Aaron Hutchins – Sales Coordinator, Hotels
Aaron was seconded from his role as Concierge at The Grand into the role of Sales Assistant over the past 12 months providing support, particularly to the corporate segment. He has been an outstanding addition to the team and has a newfound passion for sales having led some key projects. Aaron will be returning back to Hotel Operations in early April.
Alisa Murray - Sales & Marketing Executive, Hotels
Alisa has been an absolute superstar in the Hotels space over the past 3 years, having led multiple Sales & Marketing campaigns and initiatives that have driven brand awareness and occupancy to our two Auckland Hotels as well as playing a prominent role in developing and launching the Eos by SkyCity brand. Her drive, passion, commitment, tenacity and can-do attitude I’m sure will be welcomed by all.
Alisa has been seconded into the role of Communications Advisor reporting directly to Chief Corporate Affairs from 21 March. With her sound experience in executing communication plans across all customer touchpoints, she no doubt will provide valuable skills and experience in her new role.
Although we are sad to see Alisa leave our Hotels family, we know that this opens up further opportunities for her to expand her skills in another part of the business to set her up for an exciting future at SkyCity.
How to keep your people engaged in 2022
Some top tips from our Hotels Leadership team on how to keep your people empowered, engaged and ready to tackle another year ahead!
1. Keep your people in first place
Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, put it perfectly, he said “Take care of your employees and they'll take care of your business”. Studies around the world show that companies and leaders who invest in the wellbeing of their people see a dramatic increase in productivity, loyalty and, staff are less likely to miss work due to poor health. Keeping your people first place doesn’t need to be hard, kickstart today with simple actions such as recognising staff and their work, team activities to build trust and deeper connections and where appropriate, asking staff how decisions will affect them. Valuing your staff and their wellbeing often leads to individuals going above and beyond for their company and more accountability for their work. That’s winning!
“Leaders eat last” – Simon Sinek – You choose to go into danger headfirst into the unknown, protecting your people. Integrity, honesty and accountability are all components of trust – tell your teams what they need to hear not what they want to hear.
2. Roll your sleeves up
There is no better way to show your staff you care, than rolling up your sleeves and digging in, showing your teams that you are part of the team not above it creates a genuine connection that makes people feel valued and heard. It also gives leaders and its people an opportunity to connect on a deeper level, what are their interests, how many kids they have, what they do outside of work. Making real connections happen when we are part of the team. Whether its handing out lollies on the plane, taking bags, opening doors, serving coffee or sitting in on a presentation, there is so much that can be said about a leader who is part of the team.
“Sweeping the sheds” – Legacy by James Kerr, captures the important trait of ‘being humble – humility’ and taking responsibility of our own actions and not having any sense of entitlement. Get in there and get amongst it and lead from the front!
3. Foster an innovative environment
Create a workplace where innovation is encouraged, a key to success in these unprecedented times! Diversity of thought is one of the keys to fostering that innovative workplace. Bringing together a variety of people with different backgrounds, roles, departments and levels is what provides a unique addition to problem solving and decision making in a business. We all have different experiences, viewpoints and ways of processing information and relationships; this leads to a multitude of creative and sometimes quirky solutions to a challenge that gives the business a much more well-rounded decision-making process. Asking teams to think outside of the box and to get involved and be part of the feedback process also increases morale and can make staff feel more valued through listening and including them.
4. Create valuable opportunities and experiences
A lot of people are looking for ways to upskill and a lot are looking to give back, using these you have the perfect formula to create valuable and meaningful experiences and opportunities within your business that your people can benefit from and lead to better business outcomes. Here are my top three: Day in the life: Encourage your people to think outside the box, to give something new a go, or chase their dream! A day in the life is where a staff member from one department shadows another team member in a desired department to learn what a day in the life of that role/department would be like.
Mentoring: Mentoring can come in a range of forms but encouraging people to find a mentor within the business is great for both parties. Mentor gets to widen and enhance their leadership skills by mentoring. And a mentee gets career development, networking and support.
Inspiring success stories: How can we inspire our people better than with success stories within the company? If a Porter is now a Marketing Manager or a Front Office Manager is now a Revenue Manager, what better way to celebrate our people but to also showcase internal success and how others can do the same!
Whether you thrived or dived in the pandemic, our people are our priority and the answers are often right under our noses!
Keys to a successful re-opening strategy, a Revenue Management perspective
As the travel and accommodation industries gear up to get the sector going again, one question remains; "what do travellers really want?".
Obviously, cleanliness, safety and hygiene sit at the very top of their priorities when choosing anything that is related to travel. But arguably there is an expectation that accommodation providers will be under heightened attention from multiple stakeholders particularly during the first few weeks when travel takes off again.
Based on what we have seen so far - either by looking at other markets who have already paved the way of recovery or according to our own discussions and expertise - there are a few key elements considered in the decision-making process when it comes to a traveller selecting accommodation that is right for them.
It seems that providing flexible booking conditions is nothing short than a must-have for hotels in this critical time that we are facing. The traditional pre-paid, highly discounted rates for those searching to stay beyond one or two months is likely to have very little interest.
With the uncertainty around potential lockdowns and other highly restrictive conditions that could get imposed by government, we expect to see extremely short lead bookings and on rates that provide full flexibility to the traveller - in most cases, non-prepaid bookings.
A personal touch
An interesting trend that we have also seen during the pandemic was a significant increase in bookings and enquiries to our Customer Support Squad team (i.e. Contact Centre and Reservations) as customers seek to get full clarity and assurance on their specific needs and expectations.
But they also want to make sure their travel experience will meet their expectations. It has been very interesting to see this shift in demand and customer behaviour which is allowing us to know more about our customers and make sure we are delivering to their specific needs when staying on a special occasion.
Engaging directly with our customers and their personalised travel booker enable us to identify a number of key aspects about their purpose of stay that will help us to ensure their stay is as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. A room with a view and that special amenity upon their arrival will make that special milestone even more satisfying.
Value over price
Price has always been and will continue to be one of the most critical factors when choosing a hotel. However, it has been very interesting to see a growing number of customers choosing to upgrade their room category, seeking a more enjoyable and rewarding hotel experience.
We are very fortunate that our two Auckland properties cater to all types and needs of our guests. We offer rooms with magnificent views of the iconic Sky Tower, rooms with Harbour views of the spectacular Waitematā Harbour, the recently introduced Family Suites at SkyCity Hotel, and the luxurious Grand Deluxe Suites with Harbour view at the Grand Hotel by SkyCity.
Experience that goes beyond the room
People want what they want. We have clearly seen that customers no longer expect the usual cookie-cutter travel packages of the past. They want to travel on their own terms, with plenty of flexibility, pay a fair price and take-away a memorable experience whilst visiting our hotels.
At SkyCity, we are privileged to have an incredible variety of entertainment and food and beverage options right at our doorstep. From the iconic Sky Tower to the amazing All Blacks Experience and Weta Workshop Unleashed, we offer 14 award-winning restaurants, bars and cafes across our precinct so there is never a dull moment when staying and visiting our hotels.
We look forward to welcoming you and your guests back to our hotels as soon as possible and rest assured that our teams are working hard behind the scenes to ensure every stay is memorable, safe and relaxing.
Renato Gualberto, Director of Revenue Management
The Grand by SkyCity suite changes
The Grand by SkyCity Grand Presidential Suite's with more choice as we refresh the trio - Sitting atop the Waitemāta Harbour skyline and SkyCity Auckland precinct, is your sanctuary in the sky. Choose from three exclusive apartment styled living spaces adorned with panorama harbour views, separate living, bedroom and bathrooms across a spacious 100sqm, and added luxury amenities.
Elegance Suite - An additional Butler’s Kitchen and modern décor with interconnecting suite
Opulence Suite's - An additionally opulent infinity bath with interconnecting suite
Market and SkyCity Update September
Our industry continues to remain optimistic while treading carefully and being realistic about the future with the recent lock downs across New Zealand. With vaccinations ramping up, we are all forever hopeful that there is light at the end of the tunnel and international travel will resume in the foreseeable future. Plans are underway as we prepare to re-open our Hotels and wider SkyCity precinct at Level 2.
We continue to work through short to mid-term strategies and plans to maximise the opportunities that are in our reach. With school holidays looming in NZ and Auckland’s potential drop to Level 2, there is some hope of local and domestic spend across our sector. But as with most, the best we can do is remain agile with plans and continue to adapt to the challenges we face with COVID-19.
We heard from the Minister of Tourism at the recent TECNZ conference about borders opening when we reach high vaccination rates. With vaccination rates increasing day by day, we are heading in the right direction which gives us some hope. The Government has also unveiled a phased re-opening approach in its Reconnecting New Zealanders plan expected to start in 2022 but a target date has not been set. Remain connected to our Tourism bodies to keep up to date with new information and key insights.
Latest Tech Gear
SkyCity Hotel and The Grand by SkyCity have installed the latest equipment in gym technology from leading supplier Technogym.
Guests can now enjoy:
- Live and on-demand training sessions if you're that way inclined
- Bikes and treadmills include 'Outdoor' settings where you can bike or run through a selection of natural and urban landscapes
- IPTV capability - watch your own content or listen to your own music...
- Best in market ergonomic designs
Market Update August
Our industry remains optimistic about the future - businesses across our regions are re-building and in recovery mode!
As you've heard domestic tourism and travel continues to be the focus as an industry, creating more reasons for kiwis to enjoy our own backyard and brand awareness campaigns remain in play so NZ is kept top of mind with our international markets when our borders finally open to the long haul markets. It will continue to be a year of 'interruptions' but we continue to be proactive with planning but also remaining responsive and reactive when necessary while continuing to provide a safe haven for our guests and staff.
Last week we attended Tourism Export Council New Zealand's Conference in wonderful New Plymouth, where we connected with ITO's and industry leaders. There was a real buzz over the week as we re-connected and got back into selling in person - something we are still so grateful for here in Aotearoa. We heard from the Minister of Tourism about the possibility of opening the border internationally when we have a 70% covid vaccinated population here in New Zealand which caused a stir in the audience. Furthermore the Trans Tasman bubble is not looking promising in the next few months due to our neighbors in Australia having more and more lock downs and scares with COVID outbreaks. Our industry remains optimistic with a local and domestic audience but what's your thoughts and projections? What would you like to see more of?
Mega Famil 2021
Pre-Covid our SkyCity Mega Famil was one of the most sought after events for the industry and thanks to everyone in Auckland playing their part we finally got back into it with our 2021 Mega Famil after missing 2020. A magnificent night with over 100 travel agents exploring and discovering more about what makes our properties, offering and teams extraordinary!
Glam themed, our guests were treated to a famil like no other, that was topped off with prizes and words from our GM in the All Blacks Experience.