Business Development & Global Account Manager – Jonty Hapeta

10-years on since Jonty first started with us at QRC, and he’s pursued further studies, was accepted into the Accor Graduate Management Program in Sydney, became the Assistant Manager of Sofitel Brisbane Central and now working in Germany as the Business Development and Global Account Manager for TrustYou a Software as a Service (SaaS) company that provides online reputation management solutions to hotels and restaurants. Read on to learn more about Jonty:

Why did you choose to follow a career in tourism/hospitality?

  • I chose to pursue a career in hospitality because it felt like a natural step for me after growing up around the industry. During my highschool years, my family operated a hotel in Palmerston North, where I worked in various departments after school and on weekends. Starting as a turndown attendant in housekeeping, I progressed through the kitchen, restaurant, and reception. Through this experience, I developed a passion for the business and the industry, and I knew I wanted to explore it further.

Why did you choose QRC?

  • QRC was an obvious choice when deciding the best place to study hospitality in New Zealand. What was appealing to me was the unique combination of academic learning and practical work experience throughout the diploma program. Also, the location of the campus and residence was simply a winner.

Where was your internship and what was the biggest “take away” from your internship experience?

  • I completed my internship at Peppers BlueWater Resort in Lake Tekapo, which was a fantastic experience that provided me with a lot of hands-on learning opportunities. Working at a remote property like this allowed me to take on a variety of responsibilities and develop my skills quickly. At the time I was specifically looking for an internship in the Front Office department, so I was excited to jump at the opportunity when it arose. Overall, my biggest takeaway was the importance of adaptability and being able to handle multiple responsibilities in a lean team.

Tell me about your journey since leaving QRC. (e.g Jobs, Study, Travel)

  • Since graduating from QRC in 2015, I pursued further studies at ICMS, which proved to be an incredible experience that afforded me the opportunity to make lasting connections with international friends. While studying, I worked part-time at The Sebel Manly, which served as my introduction to the Accor Network. Upon completing my studies, I applied for and was accepted into the Accor Hotels Graduate Management Program in Sydney. Throughout the program, which I completed at Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbour, I was stationed across various departments in supervisory positions. It was during my last role as hotel Assistant Manager that I was introduced to managing day-to-day hotel operations. After completing the program, I transferred within the network to Sofitel Brisbane Central, where I worked as Assistant Manager for two years until COVID-19 hit. During the ensuing uncertainty, I viewed the situation as an opportunity to relocate to Munich, Germany, where I spent the next nine months learning German. Soon after, I landed a role at TrustYou, a Software as a Service (SaaS) company that provides online reputation management solutions to hotels and restaurants. Given that TrustYou is the ORM provider for Accor Hotels, I was already familiar with their solutions, having previously used the platform on a daily basis. At TrustYou, I pivoted into a sales role as Business Development & Global Account Manager, where I initially worked within a dedicated commercial team focused on the Accor Network.

What role are you in now and where are you based?

  • These days I am the Business Development and Global Account Manager looking after the US market, based in Munich, Germany, where TrustYou is Headquartered

What are your main responsibilities?

  • As the Business Development & Global Account Manager, I am responsible for expanding and maintaining the company’s customer base in the US market. My role involves identifying potential clients, building and maintaining strong relationships with them, overseeing the sales process from start to finish, and effectively communicating the value of TrustYou’s products and services to meet their needs. Additionally, I collaborate with internal teams to continuously improve our offerings and stay ahead of market trends.

What do you think is the future of tourism/hospitality post Covid?

  • The future of tourism and hospitality post-Covid will be shaped by changing consumer behaviors and the widespread adoption of technology. To remain competitive, hotels must embrace technology solutions like TrustYou to gain insights into guest preferences and sentiment. By making data-driven decisions, hotels can enhance the guest experience, improve customer loyalty, and increase operational efficiency. As the hospitality industry navigates the post-Covid landscape, technology will be key to staying ahead of the curve and meeting the evolving needs of guests.

What do you enjoy the most about your current position?

  • I thoroughly enjoy the challenges that come with working in the hotel tech industry. It’s a dynamic and ever-evolving field that requires constant learning, which keeps things interesting and exciting. I take pride in helping hotels to improve their guest experience by leveraging technology solutions like TrustYou. Knowing that I’m making a positive impact on the industry is incredibly fulfilling.

What advice would you give to QRC students about to graduate or go on internship?

  • To QRC students about to graduate or go on internship, my advice is to always be open to taking on new challenges. It’s through facing challenges that we learn the most and gain valuable experience, which can open up opportunities for growth and advancement. Don’t be afraid to push yourself out of your comfort zone and take on tasks that may seem daunting at first. This is how we grow and develop as professionals.
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