Victoria Hillman, Receptionist, Hotel St Moritz
This award-winning receptionist says she doesn't know exactly where she wants to go in tourism, but that's why she loves the industry as there are so many paths that you can take.
Q: What school qualifications did you attain and what subjects?
NZQA Level 1 and 2 endorsed with merit and NZQA Level 3. I studied mostly the Arts as well as English and Business.
Q: Briefly outline of your study and career path since leaving school?
I started work in a restaurant when I was at school. When I finished I continued my work there and also worked at a cellar door for six months after leaving school. I then moved to Queenstown to study Hospitality Management at Queenstown Resort College. I worked for Novotel on my internship, and have since moved to Hotel St Moritz.
Q: Highlights of your career to date?
Usually it’s the little moments with guests that are the real highlights in my work. However, if you are asking about achievements, my award for the national AICR Receptionist of the Year has been a stand out. I am so very excited to head over to Vienna to represent New Zealand and meet some of the top industry professionals.
Q: What are your main responsibilities in your current role?
Making people happy and providing them with a memorable experience whilst creating revenue and building loyalty, word of mouth and repeat business. We also do a lot of admin work and preparation. There is a lot more to my job then just checking people in and out! The front office is like the HQ for communication through the hotel.
Q: What do you enjoy about it and what are the main challenges?
I love meeting new and interesting people and helping them to have a memorable experience away from home. The biggest challenges are on those days where everyone seems to have problems or things just keep going wrong – but it can be rewarding finding creative and interesting solutions to issues that come up. Problem solving is a key skill in this job, finding the ‘yes’ where it seems like you can only say ‘no’.
Q: What are your career ambitions?
I do not know exactly where I want to go in tourism, however this is why I love this industry. There are so many paths that you can take. I want to make the most of opportunities that present themselves and find the path which is going to suit me the best and fit with my personality, work ethic and values.
Q: Would you recommend a career in tourism, if so why?
Tourism is all about people. It’s about showing off the environment around you, assisting people in making the most of what there is on offer. You get to create fun and excitement in people’s lives, create memories and build relationships. Why not work in tourism?
Q: What attracted you to tourism?
I loved my first job when I was at school, it was fun and every day was different. We had a great team that all worked together and we enjoyed coming into work. I chose to continue my career in hospitality and tourism as I enjoyed the experience and could see all the potential for different career paths throughout the industry – there are so many options.
Q: What advice would you give to someone considering a career in tourism?
You have to be prepared to work hard as it can be very demanding and you often work unsociable hours. You have to love it. You can’t have bad days and let it show. It is very rewarding, always different, and it’s an exciting industry. There are lots of options for career progression and it is fun.
Victoria won the 2015 New Zealand AICR Receptionist of the Year. She travelled to Vienna, Austria in early 2016 to represent New Zealand in the International Awards.