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Finalists in national hospitality awards announced

6 September 2011

Media Release
Available for immediate use

Two Northland country pubs announced as finalists in national hospitality awards

Two Northland country hotels have been judged among the best in New Zealand – being selected as finalists in this year’s prestigious Hospitality New Zealand Awards for Excellence.

The Opononi Resort Hotel in Opononi and the Duke of Marlborough Hotel in Russell have each been chosen in two separate categories in the awards. The Opononi Resort Hotel is one of three finalists in the Best Music and Entertainment category, while the Duke of Marlborough has been selected as one of four finalists in the Best Country Pub category.

Hospitality New Zealand chief executive officer Bruce Robertson said it was encouraging to see such a high number of entries coming forward in what had been a busy year for the industry – either finely balancing business continuity through the economic recession and recovery phase, or planning for Rugby World Cup.

“The strength of entries in 2011 is credit to the fortitude of the industry as a whole. There is no denying that the hospitality sector, like many other sectors of the New Zealand economy, has faced a particularly tough period over recent years,” said Mr Robertson.

“However, those bars, restaurants, pubs and hotels which have founded their business models on investment, staff training, marketing, and innovation, have come through this period in a much stronger position than their competition.

“What we have seen with these entries is that customers across New Zealand have voted with their wallets. There has been a definite ‘flight to quality’ – and that degree of quality is represented in the calibre of this year’s finalists.”

Mr Robertson also noted that for the first time in many years, no single venue, business or region dominated the awards categories. The Hospitality New Zealand Awards for Excellence are judged on a comprehensive range of business-focussed criteria – such as marketing strategies, training programmes, profitability, operational procedures, and customer service.

“Financial performance was a big factor in many finalists’ entries this year. Every business which was selected as a finalist outperformed the market in this respect. Ultimately, that performance is a reflection of how customers are selecting where they spend their disposable income,” Mr Robertson said.

As part of the thorough assessment programme undertaken on all entries in the awards, venues are personally visited by the panel of judges to ensure the validity of the entry, and to verify all information and data put forward.

“This is a huge process but underscores the credibility and transparency of the judging process,” Mr Robertson said.

Winners in each of the categories will be announced at a gala awards dinner taking place in conjunction with Hospitality New Zealand’s annual conference being held in Christchurch on November 3.


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