Franz Josef has taken out a quarter of the top prizes at the Hotel Industry Awards, reflecting what organisers say is the strength of the accommodation sector in remote regions.

Regional hotel employee of the year went to Rohan Thakur, front office manager of Te Waonui Forest Retreat and the five star property's Richard Bungeroth picked up the award for top hotel industry general manager.

Mick Yuan from Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier was named hotel industry food and beverage employee of the year.

The awards were part of the New Zealand Hotel Industry Conference, co-hosted by Tourism Industry Aotearoa and Horwath HTL.


Franz Josef has a resident population of just over 500 but more than half a million tourists visit each year with up to 6000 a day visiting the glacier. It is the first time hotel staff have been nominated for the awards.

Sally Attfield, hotel sector manager at TIA, said it was often difficult to work in a remote region.

''But Rohan is surviving and thriving in that environment. He is knowledgeable about the product, customer-focused, flexible, and calm under pressure.'' she said,

Horwath HTL director Stephen Hamilton said it could be tough for hoteliers away from the main tourist areas.

"It's extremely pleasing to see that hotels in remote regions are meeting the challenges of providing excellent customer service and can foot it with main centre properties that benefit from much easier access to staff and resources,"

 Kathy Guy, group general manager of the Chateau Tongariro Hotel. Photo / Supplied
Kathy Guy, group general manager of the Chateau Tongariro Hotel. Photo / Supplied

The hotel sector's most prestigious prize, the Hotel Industry Achievement Award, was won by Kathy Guy, group general manager of the Chateau Tongariro Hotel and the Wairakei Resort Taupō, and a director of scenic flight operator Mountain Air.

Attfield said Guy had started out as a waitress, a job that fitted around her young family, and worked her way up to management level.

In addition to overseeing the restoration of the historic Chateau Tongariro Hotel, she had been active in both the regional and national tourism industry, representing her region on a number of boards.

Hamilton said the awards attracted a record number of entries this year and the calibre of the finalists and winners showed the sector was in good heart.

TIA's hotel sector represents the interests of over 170 members throughout New Zealand, including international chains, large independent and privately owned hotels.

Members employ over 11,000 staff nationally, with annual revenues of more than $1.4 billion.

The winners of the New Zealand Hotel Industry Awards are:

Achievement Award

Kathy Guy, group GM the Chateau Tongariro Hotel and the Wairakei Resort Taupō

General manager of the year

Richard Bungeroth, Te Waonui Forest Retreat, Franz Josef Glacier

Senior hotel executive of the year

Les Morgan, director of hotels, Sudima Hotels & Resorts

Outstanding young hotel executive

Danielle Davies, business development manager – International, SkyCity Hotel and SkyCity Grand Hotel, Auckland

Administration employee

Eugenia Marquez, marketing executive, Cordis Hotel, Auckland


Ingmar Becker, Bolton Hotel, Wellington

Environmental initiative

Sudima Auckland Airport

Food and beverage employee

Mick Yuan, Restaurant and Bar Manager, Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier

Front office services

Neil Hemraj, front office manager, CityLife Hotel Auckland


Annalise Stewart, executive housekeeper, InterContinental Hotel Wellington

Regional employee

Rohan Thakur, Te Waonui Forest Retreat

Revenue manager

Roma Patel, national reservations and yield manager, Sudima Hotels & Resorts

Sales, marketing & distribution

Leigh Higgins, director of sales – corporate and MICE, Sudima Hotels & Resorts