Pair in running for NZ’s top Receptionist Award – Prasheel Churi, Mumbai

Prasheel Churi in Otago Daily Times

Prasheel Churi in Otago Daily Times, Mia Visser, of Sofitel Queenstown Hotel and Resort, and Prasheel Churi, of Novotel Queenstown Lakeside, will take on their big-city counterparts at the New Zealand hotel receptionist of the year finals in Wellington on October 9. Photo by James Beech.

A greast hotel receptionist needs to be approachable, pleasant and diplomatic and must be able to multitask, say the two Queenstown finalists competing to be named the best in New Zealand.

Southern regional winner Mia Visser (23), of Sofitel Queenstown Hotel and Resort, and Southern runner-up Prasheel Churi (24), of Novotel Queenstown Lakeside, take on six counterparts in the national finals at the InterContinental Wellington hotel, on October 9.

The Association of Rooms Division Executives of New Zealand hosted regional heats in its search for the New Zealander who will compete for the David Campbell Trophy, at the AICR international receptionist of the year competition, in Madrid, in January.

The French-founded AICR stands for the International Association of Deputy Managers and Reception Heads of Luxury Hotels.

Miss Visser and Mr Churi, who both entered the competition for the first time, said they called on their day-to-day receptionist experience when competing in the Queenstown round at Novotel earlier this month.

Six candidates were quizzed by a panel of five judges about themselves and their knowledge of hotel costs, profits, revenue, yield management, staffing level, structure, promotional ideas and more.

“Guests” confronted them with a variety of everyday problems in a role-playing scenario and judges gave feedback.

“I took it as being at work, without the judges there,” Miss Visser said.

“This is what could happen so you just approach it in the best possible way.”

Miss Visser has worked at Sofitel since December.

The International College of Hotel Management graduate has worked in five-star hotels in Australia and Singapore for almost six years and aims to become a duty manager.

“It feels quite good. To be nominated was a surprise. It was a new experience and it was good to compare against strong competitors in the region.”

Mr Churi, originally from Mumbai, has worked as a receptionist for 14 months and graduated from the Pacific International Hotel Management School in July.

He said he wanted to make his career in hospitality, especially front of house.

“It was good to hear I got the opportunity and I could fulfil the expectations of my management. It’s great to hear you would be representing your hotel on a national level.

“My colleagues were very happy and I had great support.”

The duo said they had taken the judges’ comments on board and were ready for the Wellington finals.

“At the end of the day, it’s about portraying yourself and your hotel and doing your best,” Miss Visser said.

By James Beech on Mon, 28 Sep 2009

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