Best of NI’s Hospitality Industry Celebrated at Annual Awards Ceremony

The Northern Ireland Hotels Federation has recognised the best teams and individuals from across its extensive member portfolio at the 2018 annual ‘NIHF Receptionist of the Year’ awards ceremony.

The sparkling event, held at the Everglades Hotel in Derry-Londonderry on Wednesday 18th April, was hosted by Pamela Ballantine and staged in the city with support from Derry City and Strabane District Council.

The competition, now in its 15th year, recognises the important role a receptionist plays in ensuring a positive visitor experience. It also presents the sector with a platform to highlight the exceptional talent that exists in Northern Ireland.

Gavin Carroll, President of NI Hotels Federation discusses the awards:

“We had a record number of competition entries this year. The standard throughout the entire competition was particularly high with the judges commenting on the exceptional quality of the finalists. It is a pleasure for the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation to recognise the important role of the receptionist, reflect on the exceptional talent that we have in Northern Ireland and reward those who ensure the success of our hotels.

“Within the tourism industry, people are an essential part of our hotel product – we simply cannot function without them! The receptionist role is multi-faceted. It includes welcoming guests, dealing with queries, managing complaints and imparting information on local attractions. Receptionists must have an excellent knowledge of not only their own hotel’s amenities but of attractions, sites and products in their local area. Every day they deal with a wide range of requests and many miscellaneous issues. I would like to congratulate all of our award winners. Personally, I think they are all exceptional!”

This year’s awards recognise outstanding performances across three categories, with the coveted ‘NIHF Receptionist of the Year’ title, supported by the NIHF, going to Helen Crawford of the Maldron Hotel Belfast International Airport.

Helen was described by judges as being a great ambassador for the hotel industry. A versatile communicator, Helen remains calm in any situation. This individual is a very confident communicator who makes excellent eye contact and is a real credit to the profession.

Meanwhile, the accolade of ‘NIHF Most Promising Hotel Receptionist of the Year’, supported by Net Affinity, was bestowed on Alex Coyle from Shipquay Boutique Hotel.  Alex was described by the judges as: “fresh, positive and passionate with exceptional business acumen. Her organisational skills and attention to detail is to be highly commended”.

Finally, in the team category, the title of ‘NIHF Hotel Reception of the Year’, sponsored by Tourism Northern Ireland and Right Revenue, went to Bishop’s Gate Hotel. One of the judges summed up the interaction they had with the team as: “One of the most professional check-in experiences I have ever had throughout my years of hotel inspecting. All hotel staff were extremely friendly, warm-hearted and efficient which exuded a great atmosphere throughout the entire hotel.”

The awards are sponsored by Tourism Northern Ireland, Derry City and Strabane District Council, Right Revenue, Shopper Anonymous and Net Affinity.

Congratulating the winners and runner-up candidates on their achievements Deputy Mayor of Derry City & Strabane District Council, Councillor John Boyle, says:

“Within the tourism sector people are one of the strongest assists. Visitors to our shores anticipate a warm welcome and a professional service. The receptionist role is critical in delivering this. They welcome guests and answer any questions that visitors may have. In addition, they manage complaints and in many instances they also fulfil a tour guide role offering information on local attractions. Receptionists must have an excellent knowledge of not only their own hotel offering but of the wider amenities. It is fitting that their contribution is recognised through these awards”.

NIHF CEO Janice Gault Federation adds:

“I would like to thank our judges and sponsors. Without their support these awards would not be possible. I also want to acknowledge the generous assistance we received from Life – One Great Adventure who helped us with the assessment day.

“It is great to see such enthusiasm for these awards. The standard of service throughout the entire competition was particularly high and the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation is delighted to be recognising the valuable role of the receptionist and showcasing the exceptional talent that we have in Northern Ireland.

“This competition is also a great example of working in partnership. Category sponsors, hotels and their staff coming together for a shared purpose, to celebrate excellence in the sector.”

According to research released by NIHF earlier this month, the spotlight is firmly on the hospitality sector. In the coming months, a further 800 rooms are set to open bringing the number of rooms in Northern Ireland to over 9,000 by the end of 2018. This will create further job vacancies and many roles within the sector offer internationally recognised qualifications that allow people to travel and have long and well-paid career paths.


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