Graduate Story – Hazel Suico (Graduate Diploma)

Originally from the Philippines, Hazel had a considerable amount of knowledge and experience working within the hospitality industry. Prior to joining our Graduate Diploma in Tourism and Hospitality Management she was the Business Development Manager in Shangri-La Philippines’ National Sales Office.  She also held a degree in Hotel, Restaurant, and Institution Management.

So why did she choose QRC? Hazel had previously visited Queenstown on a family holiday, and it was “love at first sight”. She was also impressed with QRC’s reputation for excellence within NZ’s Tourism & Hospitality Industry.

During her internship at Crowne Plaza Queenstown as a guest services agent/reservations agent, with a background in the Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions sector (MICE) she commenced her research topic:

“Strategies to Increase the Market Share of Queenstown in the Meetings, Incentives, Conventions/ Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) sector of Tourism”

One of the key takeaways of her studies was that Queenstown’s MICE sector’s success relies on the collaborative work of hotels, tour operators, restaurants, and the government and coopetition, between operators.

On the couch with Hazel Suico –


What was your undergraduate degree?
Hotel, Restaurant, and Institution Management


What were you doing before joining QRC?
I was a Business Development Manager in Shangri-La Philippines’ National Sales Office handling local groups (minimum 10 guestrooms w/ or w/o function room requirements)


Why did you choose to study at QRC?
I first came to Queenstown as a tourist with my family, and it was love at first sight. Out of all the places we’ve visited across NZ, Queenstown was my ultimate favorite! My friend, Joan, whom I ended up traveling with from the Philippines to Queenstown, was actually the one who told me to check QRC out during my vacation; however, as my family and I were pressed for time, I didn’t get the chance to. Although, I did hear that QRC was the most known hotel college around Queenstown. It took Joan 3 weeks to convince me to go ahead with my QRC application as I never really thought of leaving the Philippines.


During that time, I was already contemplating whether I should pursue further studies or not (but was only considering schools in the Philippines), and it only made sense to do it with QRC because 1) It’s a prestigious school in Queenstown, 2) I get to explore my favorite place in New Zealand which is Queenstown.


Researched more about QRC, and I was extremely pleased with the reviews!


Why did you decide to pursue a career in tourism?
When I was choosing which course to take back in my 4th year of high school, I didn’t really know what I wanted to be in the future. But I remember witnessing my aunt (one of my dad’s sisters) enjoying her life, and all I knew was she was working in the hotel industry and was based in China for a while and eventually came back to the Philippines.


Where did you do your internship?

I did my QRC internship with Crowne Plaza Queenstown as a guest services agent/reservations agent.


What is the title of your research topic?
Strategies to Increase the Market Share of Queenstown in the Meetings, Incentives, Conventions/ Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) sector of Tourism


Although one of my best papers (and my favorite!) back in QRC was creating a culture of candor in the workplace because I’ve always been fascinated by people and culture management, which is very relevant to my current job.


Why did you choose this?
Because my career in the Philippine hospitality industry started and ended in the MICE sector of the hotel industry. Started as a Sales Coordinator assisting the Director of Convention Sales and Sales Executive for international groups (MICE) in Makati Shangri-La, Manila, then moved to handle corporate accounts as a Sales Executive – still in the same team, then progressed to becoming a Business Development Manager for Shangri-La Philippines’ National Sales Office handling local accounts’ group requirements (MICE).


What were the main takeaways from your research?
That Queenstown’s MICE sector’s success relies on the collaborative work of hotels, tour operators, restaurants, and the government.


Tell us about your journey since graduating from QRC.
After my 3-month internship in Crowne Plaza Queenstown as a reservations agent (and would occasionally help out the front office team as and when needed), I was given the opportunity to stay in that role full-time. I was a part-time guest services agent (receptionist) in Crowne Plaza while studying in QRC, and I was learning a lot from my colleagues, especially how to handle guests’ complaints and how to make sound decisions, but always had a lot of questions at the back of my head regarding the reservations side of things. Having been given the opportunity to move to reservations was great because I understood Opera and the booking systems more. Then progressed to be a Guest Services Manager at the Heritage Hotel Queenstown which my FO and RES experiences back in Crowne Plaza Queenstown equipped me for. Loved being a GSM! It was always different every day – literally, anything could happen, and it was exciting dealing with different situations. And in the same company, there was an opportunity to move to HR, and I grabbed it because I realized, more than anything, I love seeing people succeed (and I’ve always been a people person!). When I was working in Crowne Plaza, I started to love training my (new) co-receptionists, and it continued as a GSM in Heritage.


What job are you doing now?
HR Coordinator at Heritage Queenstown


How easy was it to find this job?
It was easier than expected because it’s in the same company, and I had the full support of my FOM, our (then) HR Manager, and the GM.


What are your responsibilities?
Overseeing the HR department (well it’s just me in the department lol) – recruitment, training and development, visa applications, staff events, staff awards and recognition, health and safety compliance, etc


What energizes you at work?
Seeing our team members happy and having/ keeping a hopeful mindset.


What was the best piece of advice you have ever had and who told you?
Teamwork makes the dream work. And this is so true! No hotel, or any business for that matter, can succeed without teamwork.


Words of wisdom for anyone considering studying Grad Dip at QRC.
Do it! ( – one of the things QRC encourages us to do)


Never be afraid to take a step / a couple of steps back in your career (or in life even!), because that can help you move forward.


Advice (life in general): always be kind. Kindness can sometimes be mistaken for weakness, but that’s 100% wrong. Kindness is a strength. Imagine if only every single person could be kind to one another, how that would change the world


What is your career goal for the future?
To grow my career in Human Resources and have my own business on the side – a bed & breakfast in one of the beautiful islands in the Philippines, preferably Palawan.


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