Toby Welford has done every role possible within a hotel. Food and Beverage, Receptionist, Reservations, Accounts Receivable, to where he is today as the Operations Manager for Mi-Pad here in Queenstown. Enjoying every aspect tourism and hospitality has thrown at him, he has learnt a lot and is keen to learn more to one day land his dream job of General Manager.
Why did you choose to follow a career in tourism/hospitality?
- I attended a Career’s Expo in Invercargill when I was attending Southland Boys’ High School. I found the speakers insightful on the opportunities in this career path, and I felt it was a great choice for me.
Why did you choose QRC?
- After finishing high school and returning to Te Anau to work, I was always interested in attending QRC because of its local reputation. I decided to go for it and enrolled.
Where was your internship and what was the biggest “take away” from your internship experience?
- My internship was at Novotel/Ibis in Sydney Olympic Park, a dual branded property with Accor which has over 370 rooms. The hotel was very popular for large events throughout the year as they had Stadium Australia (sporting) Qudos Arena (concert venue) and the V8 supercars circuit all within proximity so very busy all the time when you add normal guest and business events.
- My biggest take-away would be to learn from each department and take every opportunity given to you. ALWAYS SAY YES! Having a broader understanding of the total operation gives you an insight into how better to communicate with different departments, understand front and back of house, and allows you a better understanding what are the major issues in each department.
Tell me about your journey since leaving QRC.
- After my internship, I returned to Queenstown and was offered a part time role at Novotel Queenstown Lakeside where I enjoyed five fun years in different departmental roles (Accounts Receivable, Reservations, Reception, Food & Beverage), with my longest role being Duty Manager as part of the reception team. Next was two years abroad in a number of properties in England, the most exciting being AFOM and FOM at Home House, a private member’s club in London. I returned to New Zealand just as COVID began due to the uncertainty in England pre-Covid where I joined the team at mi-pad Queenstown as Operations Manager.
What role are you in now?
- I am Operations Manager at mi-pad Queenstown, New Zealand’s first ‘Smart’ Hotel.
What are your main responsibilities?
- The role is varied and no two days are the same, which is why I enjoy the role so much. Some of my responsibilities include staff management with rostering, maintaining service standards, revenue management, room maintenance, responding to guest reviews and supporting the General Manager to ensure the success of the hotel
How did your time at QRC help prepare you for your current job?
- QRC gave me all the tools required to excel in the hospitality industry. It also allowed me to grow and develop myself to the roles that I wanted to pursue.
What do you enjoy the most about your current position?
- I enjoy the challenge of being tasked with the operations of the hotel. It allows me the opportunity to change and develop the hotel in a way that promotes success within the business and to learn and develop my own skillset while doing so.
What are your plans for the future?
- My goal is to pursue a General Manager role within the hospitality industry.
What’s the best advice you were ever given? Who was it from?
- I have been given so much good advice throughout all my different roles. This has helped me immensely managing my career progression. I always reflected on this quote, “Every day is a school day” – learn something new every day and always take that as an opportunity to learn.
What advice would you give to your teenage self?
- “You won’t regret it!”