SkyCity Hotels Group


News

Horizon by SkyCity opening 1 August 2024

August 2024

Our highly anticipated 5-star hotel, Horizon by SkyCity, will open its doors on 1 August 2024. Set to re-define Auckland's hospitality landscape, Horizon by SkyCity brings 303 rooms to the SkyCity precinct, making SkyCity Hotels the largest single site of accommodation in New Zealand, with 938 rooms across three hotels.

Horizon by SkyCity features New Zealand’s first underground Porte Cochère, locally commissioned art and sculptures, and intricate materials used throughout the rooms and public areas to reflect the natural landscape of New Zealand. The curved façade offers unique outlooks from each room, and single loaded corridors offer elusively and privacy for guests. Every detail has been thought out, right through to the single light switch to turn all the lights off.
 
Connecting guests for both business and leisure, guests have seamless access via connecting air-bridges to a world-class entertainment and dining precinct here at SkyCity, and soon, one of the most advanced convention facilities, within the New Zealand International Convention Centre.

Adding to the dining scene here at SkyCity, we’re excited for the return of The Grill in a brand-new location within the hotel. In the lobby, The Grill celebrates New Zealand with exceptional steak and seafood with a classic, modern approach. Complete with an outdoor courtyard, loggia, hearth and private dining room, The Grill proudly serves New Zealand.

It's not just the connection that makes this property special. Intuitively designed, with travelers in mind, Horizon offers everything you need, right when you need it.

The Grill and Onyx Bar

August 2024

Adding to the dining scene here at SkyCity, we’re excited for the return of The Grill in a brand-new location within the hotel. The Grill celebrates New Zealand with exceptional steak and seafood with a classic, modern approach. Lead by Executive Chef Touvai Poloniati, The Grill tells the stories of our producers, fishermen and farming families, in a refined modern setting. Complete with an outdoor courtyard, loggia hearth and private dining room, The Grill proudly serves New Zealand.

For a new destination, Onyx Bar is located in the lobby, at the base of ‘Transcendence’; the 12-story high art installation of Pōhutukawa leaves. A bespoke cocktail menu has been meticulously crafted to reflect the essence of New Zealand for an unforgettable setting, designed for guests to gather and stay.

Appointment of Gillian Dawe as Director of Hotel Sales

July 2024

Taking on the Director of Hotel Sales role is Gillian Dawe, who brings extensive experience in strategic sales and commercial leadership. Leading sales teams across the airline and medical industries, Gillian brings a wealth of experience to our hotels, and we can’t wait to see her make her mark here at SkyCity.

I have recently joined SkyCity Hotel Group after a few years absence from the industry.  I have most recently come from a General Manager role with a private medical company, and prior to that I enjoyed many years working in the travel industry including 16 years with Air New Zealand in a variety of roles and also experience as a travel consultant in leisure, groups and corporate. I have missed the vibe and excitement of this wonderful industry and I look forward to meeting and connecting with you as our very important trade partners,  and working closely with you all to promote and sell the 3 hotels.  We have SkyCity Hotel, The Grand by SkyCity and shortly Horizon by SkyCity; very exciting times ahead. Not only do we have individual properties but the unique ability to offer all 938 rooms to your clients in a safe and vibrant precinct of entertainment and hospitality. I look forward to working closely with the New Zealand International Convention Centre when it opens and the opportunity it brings for the wider precinct. I look forward to when our paths cross.

Director of Hotel Sales

July 2024

After 23 years with SkyCity, we say farewell to our Director of Hotel Sales, Jean Chapman, who leaves us at the end of July. Leaving a legacy behind, here’s what the infamous Jeannie has to reflect on during her time with us here at SkyCity.
 
My journey started at SkyCity when the SkyCity Hotel opened in 1996. SkyCity Auckland attracted me as a business because it was a unique, business and a New Zealand public company. My background was hotels and I had worked for international chains and overseas owners. There was also a number of people working at SkyCity that I had worked within the industry. I was keen to join them and to try something different, to be part of this exciting new companies plans for the future.

SkyCity provided so many opportunities for me to grow and develop, both domestically and internationally. We have welcomed many customers from around the world and I have worked on some very exciting business; from rock bands to guests of Government, not to mention a number of amazing events. One of the many key drivers for me in sales was delivering customer experiences, meeting expectations and developing loyalty to our business. 
 
You need everyone involved to deliver the best experience. So thank you, to the operational team, business colleagues, my team and of course the leadership team for your support and guidance. I have worked with some amazing and outstanding people over the years and across the business and wish you all the best for the future.
 
It has been an honour to be part of the SkyCity journey.

TRENZ

May 2024

This week our Sales team are in Wellington for TRENZ, and our very own Asian Sales and Marketing Manager, Chang, will be a panel speaker at the event. Diving into China’s travel insights, and the emerging trends through platforms like Xiaohongshu, Chang will offer her expertise and experience in the Asian markets and how New Zealand based brands and operators can best utilize marketing trends to work with the Asian market.

Asian Paints Group

April 2024

It's always great to have groups staying with our hotels, and this time was no different with the Asian Paints group staying with us last month. Our concierge team we're kept busy on their arrival and did a fantastic job unloading 650 bags from nine coaches and delivering to guest rooms in just over three hours! On their final day, the groups went shopping around the city during the day and ventured out for a gala dinner in the evening with the assistance from our concierge team making sure everything ran smoothly.

New CEO joins in July

April 2024

In the coming months, we welcome Jason Walbridge as incoming CEO of SkyCity following his move back to New Zealand. With previous experience in the global land based and online gaming industries, he brings a wealth of knowledge to SkyCity. He is currently a Strategic Advisor to global gaming and technology company Aristocrat Leisure Limited, and Executive Chairman of National Entertainment Network LLC, the largest amusement route operator in the United States. We look forward to welcoming Jason in July.

Park Free when you Eat, Stay or Play

April 2024

Parking can be a challenge for visitors coming into the city. Fortunately, as a precinct, we are able to offer our carpark to our guests and visitors. In April, we introduced 'Park Free when you Eat, Play or Stay', a campaign to raise awareness and attract more people to the city centre and our precinct. It's great to provide parking throughout our entire precinct, catering to gaming customers, hotel guests, diners, and visitors to the Sky Tower. Our lively precinct has received a positive response from guests regarding the campaign, and we are delighted to see people enjoying dining, entertainment, and accommodation here at SkyCity Auckland.

Honey Onyx Wall

February 2024

Whether it’s the underground porte cochère, the lobby, or the airbridge to the SkyCity precinct, it’s hard not to notice the illuminated Honey Onyx Wall here at Horizon by SkyCity.

Individually placed squares of stone, and seamlessly connected via by the veins through the stone, the honey onyx is a mesmerising display for guests, showcasing the detailing of the natural onyx surface. With a backlit feature, the honey onyx comes to live, glowing an amber hue like the setting of the sunset.

We look forward to welcoming guests soon, to Auckland’s new 5 star hotel, here in the heart of the city.

Horizon Uniforms

January 2024

From brass buttons to waistcoats, the new Horizon by SkyCity team is looking sharp in their new uniforms. In a striking midnight blue, with satin accents, it’s great to finally see initial sketches on a page, transform into stunning high-quality fabrics, being fitted to our team.

From a manager’s pocket square to the FOH skirt, the satin design connects the pieces together. Representing the contours of the land, and the flow of the rivers, the uniforms have been created with a distinctive style and we can’t wait to show them off when we open.

The Grill Returns

January 2024

The Grill is returning to SkyCity precinct with Executive Chef Touvai Poloniati at the helm, when the 5-star ‘Horizon by SkyCity’ hotel opens.

The Grill will celebrate Aotearoa's culinary treasures, sourcing locally from artisans, fishers, and farming families dedicated to quality. Diners can expect the finest quality grass-fed steaks, from 95% New Zealand owned and operated suppliers, and sustainable line-caught fish.

Executive Chef Touvai Poloniati says, “the menu has been carefully curated to honour the exceptional producers, purveyors, farmers, and fisheries who are proud to be championing ethical practices from both our land and sea”.

Touvai Poloniati's journey in the culinary world has come full circle with his return to SkyCity as the Executive Chef of The Grill. Having completed his chef apprenticeship at SkyCity as a teenager, this represents a significant and nostalgic milestone in his career.

Hailing from Tonga, Poloniati's culinary exploration led him across the Pacific, where he honed his skills in kitchens spanning Hong Kong, Australia, and Canada. His international experiences undoubtedly contributed to a diverse culinary perspective, exposing him to different culinary techniques, flavours, and styles.

The Grill’s menu will feature classics such as the beef Wellington, mac ‘n’ cheese and miso hollandaise, along with new dishes prepared table-side, such as the Wapiti Venison Tartare and Caesar Salad.

Shakers and Movers

November 2023

As we edge closer to Christmas, we’ve had several new appointments, changes, and opportunities for many of our people in our team. The below is just a few of the many celebrated team movements.

Perry Chan – Horizon by SkyCity Operations Manager
As no stranger to our hotels, Perry has been an integral part of SkyCity Hotels for the last eight years, most recently leading the SkyCity Hotel team to success as Operations Manager. Bringing experience, enthusiasm and showcasing the endless career pathways here at SkyCity, we’re excited to see Perry grow within the business, driving the future success of Auckland’s newest 5-star hotel, Horizon by SkyCity.

Ruth Ruddock: Horizon by SkyCity Front Office Manager

From the guest facing role as Guest Relations Executive at The Grand by SkyCity, to the project team for Horizon by SkyCity, Ruth is making strides in the pre-opening stage of our third hotel. As an key part of the operations, Ruth will move into the Front Office Manager role in early 2024.

Aaron Hutchins: The Grand by SkyCity Front Office Manager

From operations to revenue, Aaron took on the challenge of Revenue Analyst for the last 12 months, looking after the rates and predicting the market. With a new direction in his career, Aaron returns to operations leading the Front Office team of Duty Managers and Receptionists.

Angela Shin: The Grand by SkyCity Guest Relations Executive

From Duty Manager at SkyCity Hotel, to liaising with guests and VIPs, Angela takes on the role of Guest Relations Executive at The Grand by SkyCity.

Archy Kawatra: SkyCity Hotels Group Sales Manager
Having recently joined the SkyCity Hotels team, Archy takes on the role of Sales Manager. Having worked in some of the leading hotel chains globally, Archy brings extensive experience from India, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi. Her kind nature and career expertise allow us to continue to secure new business, maintain key accounts and drive business into our three hotels from new market segments globally.

Chang Chen: Asian Sales & Marketing Manager
Adding sales to her existing marketing portfolio, Chang is a key to engaging our Asian audience with the hospitality offering here at SkyCity. Adding sales to her remit, Chang opens new sales opportunities for our hotels in the Chinese market, and we can’t wait to see her thrive in this space.

KiwiLink China Trade Event

November 2023

Earlier in November, Caroline Ah Chong-Douglas (GM Sales and Marketing) and Chang Chen (Asian Sales and Marketing Manager) jetted off to Shanghai for the KiwiLink China trade event hosted by Tourism New Zealand.
In the same week, it was announced by TNZ China has regained its position as the second largest tourism source for New Zealand. As operators, this event was a valuable insight to this dynamic market, and the trends happening in amongst travelers. With an increasing influence of social media platforms like Xiaohonghu, a trend towards smaller travel groups and a growing emphasis on customer experiences, it was a week of learning and reflecting on how SkyCity Hotels and the wider group positively adopt trends and tailor our strategies to connect with buyers.
It's promising to see and hear the excitement for the New Zealand market from key agents, and to be able to showcase SkyCity Entertainment Group and the new openings here now and on the horizon...
We look forward to welcoming more of our Chinese friends to our shores soon! Xiexie.

Horizon by SkyCity - Art and Design

November 2023

As Christmas approaches, we get closer to opening our brand new 5-star hotel, Horizon by SkyCity. Intuitively designed with the guest in mind, you will find local art and design throughout the hotel, offering a taste of New Zealand with every stay.
Taking inspiration from the natural landscape, locally commissioned art and sculptures are featured throughout the rooms and public areas of the hotel. You’ll find natural Kauri stumps for our Lobby Bar tables, bringing a sense of nature into the space. Highlighted by the exposed grain and finish, the Kauri tables represent the knowledge and the years of history that they hold within.
From the colours of the New Zealand horizon, you’ll find Helen Dean’s abstract art in the suites of Horizon by SkyCity, and recycled copper art pieces in the rooms, by artist Vivian Keenan.
Hotel architect Gordon Moller is the designer behind “Falling Leaves”, a Pohutukawa art piece that extends the full 12 floors of the hotel, including into the porte cochère with a secondary art installation representing the roots of the Pohutukawa, by wood artist John Allen.
Horizon by SkyCity opens 1 March 2024, here is where today meets tomorrow.

Metita is open!

November 2023

It’s hard not to notice the beautiful textures and earthy tones of newly opened Metita when walking through The Grand by SkyCity.
After a few months of refurbishment, Metita has transformed the space, formerly known as Gusto. Offering a taste of Pacific cuisine, by leading New Zealand chef, Michael Meredith, Metita offers an exploration of his Samoan heritage, and a new culinary offering here in our growing dining precinct.
In addition to a seated restaurant, Metita offers a private dining room to accommodate 6-24 guests. A private location for an event or hosted dinner, the PDR offers a place of discovery and connection.
Now open for guests and visitors to enjoy, the menu takes you on a journey like no other, where flavours are reimagined. Attentive to every detail, the methods of the past and present are celebrated, creating new experiences that surprise the palate and nourish the appetite.

Horizon by SkyCity now open for bookings

October 2023

Where today meets tomorrow, is where you will find the horizon. Next year brings a promise of potential, with our new 5-star property, Horizon by SkyCity opening its doors on 1 March 2024.

With 303 rooms, including ten exceptionally appointed suites, be lost in the views from the city to the sea. Hints of New Zealand can be found from the fresh milk in the fridge, to the commissioned art and sculptures from local artists in room and in public spaces. Carefully considered materials reflect the natural landscape of Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland and the connection to the land, offering a grounded sense of place in public spaces for guests to gather, and stay.

“Horizon by SkyCity will provide a connection for our guests to meet, gather and stay. It really is where today meets tomorrow”, says David Allott, GM Hospitality.

Joining SkyCity Hotel and The Grand by SkyCity here in Auckland, SkyCity Hotels will be the largest single site of accommodation in New Zealand, with 938 rooms across the three hotels in the precinct. Having recently hosted FIFA and Women’s Rugby World Cup as an entertainment and accommodation destination, the addition of Horizon gives us further opportunity to entertain and connect both domestic and international guests with new experiences here at SkyCity and wider Auckland. Airbridges allow for seamless connectivity to the New Zealand International Convention Centre and SkyCity precinct over Hobson St, with direct access to dining, attractions and entertainment offerings in the precinct.

Business trips and conferences have never been easier. With air bridge access to the New Zealand International Convention Centre, opening in 2025, it’s an exciting time for not only us here in Auckland but on the international scale for conventions and exhibits to visit our city. As the closest hotel, we look forward to these guests, familiar faces and new, to experience our new 5-star property, vibrant laneway, and entertainment offering here in Auckland.

Horizon by SkyCity will join the SkyCity Auckland dining precinct and our current plethora of cuisines including Cassia, SkyBar and newly Metita. With such 20 restaurants and 3 bars, all within walking distance from the hotel via connecting airbridges, Horizon by SkyCity will be the first 5-star hotel in New Zealand with this diverse offering. Within the hotel, Horizon by SkyCity will also offer a unique food and beverage offering, that nods to the natural landscape of New Zealand. Highlighting fresh produce, a journey through the land is high on the menu.

Intuitive by nature, with horizon like curves throughout the hotel, Horizon offers an effortless experience with everything you need, right when you need it.

So mark 1 March 2024 in your calendars, Horizon by SkyCity is now open for bookings.

Horizon by SkyCity

August 2023

From hard hats to safety boots, our hospitality team geared up for a site visit to Horizon, taking a tour through the 5-star property and joining our existing two hotels in Auckland in early 2024. From continuous curves to seamless connection via air bridges, it’s great to see the hotel taking shape with a focus on connectivity for our guests to move between the hotel, precinct and New Zealand International Centre.

We’re looking forward to sharing more in the coming months, in the lead-up to opening Horizon by SkyCity, in early 2024.

Metita

August 2023

A brand new restaurant, Metita, is coming to The Grand by SkyCity from leading chef Michael Meredith, bringing a fresh exploration of Pacific cuisine. Sharing his Pacific heritage, methods of the past and present are curated and celebrated with a menu crafted to highlight sustainably caught seafood and fresh, locally sourced ingredients.

Metita joins Auckland’s dining precinct in October, in the space previously occupied by Gusto at the Grand. More to come soon!

The Terrace

July 2023

Breakfast is all part of the hotel experience, and we’re delighted to have recently opened our breakfast restaurant, The Terrace on Level 7 of The Grand by SkyCity. With a wide selection of continental and buffet breakfast options, including viennoiserie, Asian-style dishes, tea, coffee and fresh juice options, it’s great to have a dedicated breakfast space for our guests to enjoy.

TRENZ 2023

June 2023

As the most significant international business-to-business travel event for New Zealand, and a highlight event for tourism, Caroline, David, Liz Chansy and I went down to Christchurch for TRENZ 2023. Showcasing SkyCity Auckland and all that's on offer for international customers when they visit Auckland, we met up with many of our international partners that had not been back to New Zealand since 2019.

Seeing friendly faces and new ones too, there was a buzz of excitement, around the recovery of hospitality with the borders opening. Next season has the promise of more business coming to New Zealand, with plans for more international flights entering New Zealand. With 66 appointments over the three days, it was great to highlight our three hotel properties, SkyCity Hotel, The Grand by SkyCity and Horizon by SkyCity. It's been a long time coming to reintroduce Horizon by SkyCity to our old partners and new ones, and we are now ready to contract for our three hotels over the next few weeks. With more travellers from around the world visiting New Zealand, it was a great opportunity to showcase the SkyCity Auckland precinct with what we offer customers - a world-class entertainment experience. - Jean Chapman, Director of Sales.

Cassia opens its doors

June 2023

After an impressive eight-week transformation in the former space, The Grill, Cassia has found its new home at SkyCity, which opened here in the precinct on 12 May.

Recreating the look, feel and warmth of the old Cassia, with original lights from their previous Fort St premises, Cassia marks a new beginning on Federal Street and we're excited to welcome Sid and Chand and the entire Cassia team to SkyCity. Bringing a fresh lens to food, through modern Indian cuisine, Cassia joins our award-winning dining precinct for guests to enjoy.

East Day Spa Refurbishment

June 2023

East Day Spa is paving the way for luxury spa treatments.

Completing their refurbishment in May, it’s wonderful to have East Day Spa back open in The Grand by SkyCity. Offering 11 treatment rooms, including four double suites, Clearlight Infrared Saunas and Zen heat experiences such as a Tepidarium; a purpose build warm room with Italian stone heated loungers designed to help relax and unwind. The attention to detail and curvature of all the finishings have all been considered, adding to the 5-star experience of The Grand by SkyCity. We look forward to sharing this exciting refurbishment with our guests and customers.

A Warm Welcome

Michael Anderson

April 2023

A very warm welcome to Michael Anderson, joining the SkyCity Hotels Group as Director of Hotel Operations. With an extensive hotel background in both Australia and New Zealand, Michael brings a wealth of operational knowledge and commercial experience to the role. We’re excited for him to join our journey of creating extraordinary experiences for our guests and look forward to him making his mark.

Cooking up a Storm

April 2023

Putting down the laptops and picking up an apron, our teams recently volunteered their time to partake in Cooking up a Storm Relief Dinner, an initiative to support those affected by Cyclone Gabrielle.

With 100% of proceeds donated to the disaster relief fund, Fed Deli, Depot, The Grill and our very own Gusto at the Grand joined restaurants across the country by putting on a two-course dinner for one night only, in support of the hospitality industry and those impacted by recent weather events. 

Movers and Shakers!

movers and shakers

February 2023

The new year has brought several new appointments, changes, and opportunities for many of our people. The below is just a few of the many celebrated team movements.

Perry Chan – SkyCity Hotel Operations Manager
Many of you will know Perry from his Front Office Manager role at The Grand by SkyCity. This new move is recognition of Perry's absolute dedication and commitment to our teams and customers. Perry brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and skills to the role and we’re excited to start 2023 with him at the helm.

Cathy Liu – The Grand by SkyCity Operations Manager

Cathy has spent the last 12 months on a secondment within the challenging world of AML (Anti-money Laundering) prior to being the SkyCity Hotel Front Office Manager. We’re delighted to have Cathy heading up The Grand team with her leadership, passion for great service and exemplary work ethics.

Shaun Ryan – Chief Concierge

Now residing across both the hotels in capacity of ‘Chief’ concierge, Shaun brings maturity, experience, and strong relationship management skills to our concierge team. His leadership across the many moving parts of business including events, road closures and group luggage requirements is extremely valuable.

What does it take to make an exceptional hotel bed?

February 2023

Our hotel's team recently hosted the Auckland Marketing and Sales quarterly update, complete with bed-making competitions! Quite fitting right?

Hosted by our lovely housekeeping team who taught us the tricks of the trade, the skills, teamwork and presentation of our marketing and sales team were put to the test. From layering sheets and folding the corners to positioning pillows to create a perfectly made hotel bed, our teams worked together to create some great-looking beds that even impressed our expert housekeeping team!

It was a great time to share and reflect as a team on the quarter just gone, look forward to what’s to come, and take away some handy tips for what makes an exceptional hotel bed.

A visit to Eos by SkyCity

October 2022

“A truly ‘Extraordinary’ experience that delivers above the brand expectation. It really is wow!”

Eos by SkyCity opened on 1 December 2020. Much of the pre-opening support was based in Auckland, including our (then) SkyCity Hotels Group Director of Sales and Marketing, Caroline Ah-Chong Douglas. Caroline was finally able to see and experience the finished product in September. Staying in one of the Oasis Corner Suites that has so many outstanding features, with the views of the River Torrens being the most ‘wow’. The attention to detail, finishing and the even the staff uniforms (white!) all exude the quality and craftsmanship’s that’s gone into the entire project.

The full $330 million expansion included not only the new-build luxury 5-star hotel and spa but a restoration and revitalisation of the old railway building with new restaurants, rooftop bars and outdoor entertainment areas.

The Grand by SkyCity new pool mural

October 2022

With some considerable works planned for the Grand pool after the long months of lock down, we saw this as an opportunity to replace the existing pool mural. It was the original, over 15 years old – so it was due a refresh! We considered several options to enhance the guest experience in the area. After mock ups and researching, we explored images of nature, of lush palms and greenery. A sanctuary and oasis in the heart of Auckland. We’re pleased with the result and feel it complements the area well.

The full area maintenance was completed within 5 days, including emptying the pool, repairs, mural replacement, and the refill of water!

Onwards and Upwards

SkyCity Hotels GM Brad Burnett reflects on some of the highlights of his time in the role. Brad has moved into the role of GM – Table Games for SkyCity Auckland.

Brad Burnett

Having worked in hotels since 1998, it has been an exhilarating journey throughout.

I love everything about hotels - the people, the brands, the design... the theatre of a buzzing lobby!

Reflecting on my time at SkyCity Hotels and the SkyCity tourism portfolio, I have so much to be grateful for over the past 10 years.

I can say with certainty that it is the people that bring SkyCity Hotels to life. Our hotel teams are incredibly passionate and are consistently delivering world-class service and hospitality. I have thoroughly enjoyed supporting team members to be their best, to upskill and transfer internally across our business or into more senior roles across the industry. And I have been astounded by the strong sense of teamwork and camaraderie shown by our teams, especially during difficult times that have come upon us.

There are countless highlights that I have experienced with SkyCity Hotels, of which I’ll share a few.

It has been incredible to celebrate many key business milestones, such as The Grand by SkyCity’s 10th Birthday and the Sky Tower’s 20th Birthday – which saw 8,000 visitors in one day!

Overseeing the development and opening of our Adelaide property Eos by SkyCity (during a pandemic) and the development of our still-in-progress Horizon by SkyCity.

The full refurbishment of The Grand by SkyCity during 2013 – 2015, which was no easy feat. As well as numerous capital projects including systems and furniture upgrades across both Hotels

Sponsorship of many significant events including the FIFA U20 World Cup, the World Masters Games, and the National Basketball League.

Representing our hotels and Auckland at tourism events locally and internationally.

The opportunity to contribute to Auckland City while being on the Auckland Unlimited Destination Committee, as well as contributing to workstreams and forums to drive Auckland and its tourism product forward.

Gaining board appointments at Hotel Council Aotearoa and PIHMS, which I will continue to be a part of.

I’m excited about moving into our gaming business in a more intensive way. It most certainly will be different for me, but it’s not farewell as I still look forward to contributing to the sector.

See you soon,
Brad

SkyCity Hotels team updates

August 2022

SkyCity Hotels team updates

There have been some exciting changes happening within the SkyCity Hotels team, with some of our people moving into new opportunities within SkyCity Auckland.

Brad Burnett, GM SkyCity Hotels Group has taken on a new role within SkyCity Auckland; GM Table Games. We thank Brad for his extraordinary leadership of our Hotels and Sky Towers teams for the past 9 years. He is a dedicated, innovative, and inspiring leader, who brings a lot of experience and wisdom to the hospitality industry.

Caroline Ah Chong-Douglas, Director of Sales & Marketing has taken on the role of GM Sales and Marketing for SkyCity Auckland. We wish Caroline all the best in her new role, which encompasses gaming, attractions, food and beverage and hotels!

Colin McClean remains the GM Hotel Operations.

We also welcome the new GM Hospitality, David Allott. Hospitality is a new division at SkyCity Auckland which focuses on and aligns Hotels and Food & Beverage. David is an experienced hospitality professional and we look forward to having his leadership.

Movers and Shakers!

movers and shakers

April 2022

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

February 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.

Flexibility

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.

Safe travels,
Renato Gualberto, Director of Revenue Management