Chris started his career within the tourism industry as a porter at the Sheraton Grand Sydney Hyde Park in July 2005. He progressed through Rooms Division Operations, including Bell Captain, Guest Services Agent, Guest Services Supervisor through to Guest Services Manager in 2009. Progressing to Guest Services Manager of a five-star hotel by the age of 23 was quite an achievement.
In 2010 Chris transferred to The Westin Resort and Spa, Whistler. During this time, the hotel underwent a major refurbishment in preparation for the 2010 Winter Olympics. As the Guest Services Manager, Chris led the Service Express team in provide outstanding five-star guest experiences whist juggling the daily demands of an active hotel refurbishment.
Chris had previously completed an Associate Degree of Hospitality Management with the William Blue College of Hospitality Management and decided to come back to Australia to complete a Bachelor of Business in Tourism Management degree with Southern Cross University as they offered external study opportunities.
Upon return to Australia, Chris was employed as the Assistant Front Office Manager at the Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort Port Douglas. During this time, he led the team to maintain first place in the Reservation Mystery call program within the Australian hotels cluster and reduced the abandoned reservation calls through the implementation of a Six Sigma call tracker.
During 2011 Cyclone Yasi crossed the Queensland coast. Chris was a member of the hotel's Emergency Response Team assisting with the evacuation, closure, and lockdown of the resort including care and attention for guests who had chosen to shelter in place at the resort.
In 2011 Chris held the position of Domestic Airport Lounge Manager working for Spotless who was the appointed contractor by Virgin Australia to manage their Domestic Airport Lounge operations as it deployed and executed its Game Change Strategy. From here Chris moved to the Sebel Quay West Suites in Brisbane as Front Office Manager. This boutique all-suite hotel exposed him to all areas of hotel operations including the integration and merger with Accor Hotels.
Chris's strong Rooms Division background and experience led him to securing the position of Rooms Division Manager and Acting Operations Manager at the Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise. During his tenure he oversaw the implementation of a housekeeping Lean Productivity Strategy, including re-training of Room Attendants resulting in a reduction of cleaning times.
Chris was a Crowne Plaza Brand Culture Trainer responsible for the rollout of the One Step Ahead brand framework and methodology including the implementation and audit of all property brand standards. Chris led the Rooms Division team to achieve three successive years of growth in guest satisfaction and loyalty scores.
In 2016 Chris commenced working for Ingenia Communities in the role of Operations Manager - NSW and QLD. Ingenia Communities is a leading Australian property group that owns, operates, and develops a growing portfolio of lifestyle and holiday communities across key urban and coastal markets.
During 2017 Ingenia Communities acquired Cairns Coconut Holiday Resort, this $50 million transaction was the largest ever purchase of a holiday park in Australian history. Chris was the Operations Team Lead during this acquisition process and took responsibility for its integration into the Ingenia network including full profit and loss accountability.
This iconic Cairns Resort has recently been recognised by TripAdvisor in the 25 top resorts for families in the world and a Bronze and Gold award at the 2018 and 2019 Queensland Tourism Awards. It was also during this time Chris was awarded the Outstanding Contribution of a Young Achiever (Holiday, Tourist & Resort Parks) from the Caravan and Camping Industry Association NSW and was an Ingenia Communities Future Leader nominee.
In 2018 Chris was invited by the board of Tourism Tropical North Queensland (TTNQ) to assist in establishing a Young Leader Advisory Board that would sit beside the board of TTNQ. This offer included an invitation to be the inaugural Chair. Unfortunately, due to work commitments Chris was unable to accept the offer, however it was acknowledgement and testament to his leadership within the Tourism industry.
In July 2018, Chris was recognised as a Young Tourism Leader, a Queensland Government initiative with the Department of State Development, Tourism, and Innovation. Chris has accepted a second term taking his participation in the program through to September 2020.
What does your employer do?
Ingenia Communities is a leading Australian property group that owns, operates and develops a growing portfolio of lifestyle and holiday communities across key urban and coastal markets.
What are your areas of responsibility?
As the Brand and Experience Manager - Tourism, I am responsible for the integrated brand, customer experience and marketing across the Ingenia Holidays portfolio.
Can you describe a typical work day?
I work closely with our Operations, Revenue and Digital teams to ensure that we are delivering and executing our business plans and strategies with a strong focus on Customer Experience.
What sort of person succeeds in your career?
Someone who is hard working, has attention to detail, and can manage multiple priorities and re-prioritise work as needed. You need to thrive and enjoy working in a fast paced, team orientated environment.
What are the career prospects with your job?
The opportunities are endless - General Manager, Operations. Chief Customer Officer, Director of Marketing, Director of Customer Experience.
What do you love the most about your job?
It is a fast-paced environment that offers exposure and crossover with large sections of industry including Regional Tourism Organisations, Industry Associations, and our wider operating teams.
Importantly I enjoy getting to hear from our team members who provide exceptional service and experiences on a daily basis to ensure our guests have a great holiday!
What do you like least about your job?
There can be, at times, many competing priorities and there is a constant need to assess and reassess priorities.
What three pieces of advice would you give to a current university student?