Press Release – Hospitality New Zealand
One of New Zealand’s most historic pubs has taken out the Best Country Hotel category in this year’s Hospitality New Zealand Awards for Excellence.
The Duke of Marlborough Hotel in Russell – which traces its roots back to 1827 – won the Best Country Pub title ahead of country pubs in Tuakau just south of Auckland and Greytown in the Wairarapa.
Hospitality New Zealand chief executive Bruce Robertson said the well-deserved victory for The Duke of Marlborough reflected that while many businesses in the industry sector were finding it hard to continue trading profitably, many other operations were in fact prospering and taking advantage of the discerning consumer dollar to build their customer bases.
“There was no one real region which dominated the results – and in fact several smaller towns throughout New Zealand, such as Russell, can be particularly proud of what their local dining and drinking establishments achieved against stiff competition from the big cities,” Mr Robertson said.
“The judges noted that a repeated theme in many of this year’s winning entries, such as The Duke of Marlborough in Russell, was a determination of their businesses not to be stymied by a slower economy, and daring to be different in what some customers are seeing as a ‘vanilla’ or homogenous marketplace.
“Those points of differences showcased by many of the winners include service offerings, delivering customers a totally unexpected yet far superior experience to what they were anticipating, providing an ambience or atmosphere far removed from the local competition, and embracing new technology.”
Mr Robertson said the judges also noted that many of the winning entries, including The Duke of Marlborough, were increasingly reviving ‘old school’ hospitality practices – such as founding marketing strategies around strong local customer networks, engendering staff loyalty, and offering amenities and ambience from throughout the generations of New Zealand’s heritage.
“The result is that the public are now seeing businesses with a balanced blend of old and new in an environment where the two styles blend seamlessly to deliver an outstanding customer experience – whether that’s a night out for dinner, a Sunday morning brunch, a few beers with the boys, or as a corporate guest in an upmarket hotel,” said Mr Robertson.
“The catalogue of winners across this year’s awards categories shows that New Zealand’s hospitality industry is well positioned in all its niches to take full advantage of the wider economic recovery over the coming years.”
Entrants into the Hospitality New Zealand Awards for Excellence are judged over a six week period by a panel of independent industry professionals who assess every competitor on a range of commercial and operational criteria – including staff training and human resources, customer service, marketing and promotional activities, and the demonstration of business growth.
Winners in the Hospitality New Zealand Awards for Excellence were announced at the organisation’s national conference held in Wellington last night.