The Rees Hotel Queenstown is only one of two Gold Award recipients to date in the South Island by the independent assessor, Amanda **Cushen**.
The revised Qualmark criteria based on ‘sustainable tourism practices’ focussed on the economic, environmental, people, and health & safety aspects of tourism businesses.
Zeroing in on the social responsibility aspect was “really, really important” to The Rees General Manager, Mark Rose. He swears by the success of taking an ‘old school’ values-based approach to business.
“We are always talking about how to make things better for those around us. We look after our guests, our people, our community, our environment and our Board is always looking at ways to invest with this mind-set.” he says.
The Rees was recognised for particularly excelling in customer service initiatives and customer satisfaction levels.
“Taking the guest seriously” and attracting consistent outstanding reviews including a top global ranking out of 2500 hotels in 87 countries met Qualmark’s benchmark of excellence according to report comments.
How the property has consciously aligned its business through investing in practical action to link guests with its unique cultural sustainability aspects also earned high praise.
The report commented on the visual access guests enjoy to a substantial collection of local history books and a significant art installation of the hotel’s namesake, gold miner William Rees.
The eco values embraced by the hotel from the staff native tree replanting programme at the front of Lake Wakatipu, to uniting together to save the endangered Kea, were also noted.
Rose believes that the impact of the Gold Award shows the team at The Rees is “walking the talk”. He praised the assessor’s good ideas that will extend his team’s performance even further to the next level.
“All the measurements Qualmark do are in all the areas we collectively strive to improve daily. It’s always good seeing hotel through someone else’s eyes. The report process offers very constructive terms of reference for an independent operator like us so you know where you stand” he says.
Tourism New Zealand has stated publicly that operators are praising the new criteria which appear to be far more comprehensive, well rounded and inclusive of independent benchmarking from the assessor.