Each year we celebrate the achievements of our learners at the HOSPA Annual Awards Ceremony. Here is a short video showing all our 2021 winners. Read on to find out more about our 2019 and 2020 learners.......
Finance Management Learner Profiles:
Winner: Level One Financial Management, completed February 2020
ME Ibiza is a sophisticated lifestyle beachside retreat at the heart of the Mediterranean’s undisputed capital of international glamour. Nestled in a secluded bay with direct yacht access, this luxury hotel enjoys an almost private feel, perfect for those seeking both relaxation and play. With spacious bedrooms and deluxe suites showcasing a minimalist, Ibiza-inspired decor, each room features bright, simply designed furnishings with vibrant local touches, offering a truly indulgent experience for the contemporary traveller.
“After college, I have undertaken firstly a degree in International Tourism at the University of Valencia and afterwards a second degree in Business Administration that gave me a deeper understanding of Accounting. I got the chance to end my last year of studies with an International Business and Management programme at the Noordelijk Hoogeschool in The Netherlands.
Upon completing a long period of studying, I felt ready to start my path in the hospitality industry starting as a receptionist in my home town where I developed the customer care touch. Through working in the French Alps and the French Riviera I acquired the luxury service approach, and the decisive step in my early career arrived when I
moved to Melbourne (Australia) consolidating the management skills through a two-year experience as Assistant Manager in front office at one of the top Australian hotels.
Missing my roots, I returned to my home country Spain after a fulfilling experience abroad with a special interest to take part of the hotels’ financial management. The leading Spanish hotel company Meliá Hotels International gave me the opportunity to join the financial department of the luxury hotel ME Ibiza and supported me with the smooth transition from my operational background to a more analytic one.
The course has provided me with a deeper understanding of finance applied to hospitality business and is driving me to put in practice efficiently the acquired knowledge in my workplace.
My managers were supporting me throughout the course and shared my achievements with the team, giving me a rewarding recognition within the company.
I seek to contribute in the business transition to the new normal after this challenging year specially for the tourism industry and continue delivering valuable finance performance to become an essential part of the business management.”
Winner: Level Three Financial Management, completed February 2020
Jennifer Miller, who is Payroll and Cashier Executive at Fairmont St Andrews, Scotland (currently on maternity leave) was presented with her award at the HOSPA Virtual Annual Awards Ceremony in January. Jennifer achieved the highest overall grade for Level Three, Financial Management course which she completed in February 2020.
The 520 acre five star Fairmont St Andrews resort encapsulates luxury, elegance and truly breath taking surroundings in the ‘Home of Golf’. A truly unique and special venue that makes your visit one to remember, with its lavish and stunning surroundings, peaceful setting and stunning cliff top views of St Andrews and the North Sea.
The resort prides itself with an array of fabulous facilities including two championship golf courses, The Kittocks and The Torrance, excellent dining experiences for every palette, ranging from our Italian eatery La Cucina to St Andrews Bar & Grill serving the freshest of steak and seafood. All our 211 luxury guestrooms are spacious and well-proportioned with thoughtful Scottish touches. Our sumptuous Fairmont Spa offers a range of treatments.
When Jennifer graduated from her degree in 2013 (English & Mathematics Joint Honours, Dundee University) she was looking to become a chartered accountant. Upon leaving university Jennifer decided to get some experience in an accounting department first to decide if this was the career path she wanted to take.
Jennifer joined Fairmont St. Andrews shortly after graduation and fell in love with the hospitality industry. She had a lot of friends who were working in practice and her experience was so different to theirs’. Working in hospitality is so varied even for those in the office, it is an ever-changing environment and really does feel like a big extended family.
Jennifer explains what led her to her current role and hopes for the future:
“When I first joined the team, I was hired in the role of Income Auditor, within six weeks I moved to the Account Payable role, these were invaluable in giving me a grounding in hospitality finance. I then left the company to pursue a chartered accountancy opportunity with an investment bank.
I quickly realised how much I missed the ‘buzz’ of hospitality and knew that hospitality was the industry for me! I returned to the hotel in a Human Resources role to gain experience in another aspect of the business, but it wasn’t long before the accounts department needed some cover, this time in the Account Receivable position. This allowed me to get the full picture having worked in all the junior positions within the office.
In 2016 it was decided the payroll position would be moved back into the Finance department and I was asked if I would like to take on this role alongside responsibility for the cash handling. I have immensely enjoyed this role as this was my first introduction into management accounts and having a role which is responsible for a process from end to end; from input to management account and reconciliation.
The HOSPA financial management programme has helped me in my current role already. Everything I have learnt about finance has been work based and although this has been a great way to learn HOSPA has given me the opportunity to gain a foundation knowledge which I can refer back to, this has given me more confidence in my own ability and confidence to query and ask questions.
The part of HOSPA which is so beneficial is that it is specific to hospitality and you can apply the knowledge you learn instantly to your working environment. Through HOSPA and the information I have learnt I have progressed very quickly in my career both on a personal level but also in the responsibility and projects I have been given. I recently ran a £35k capex project from the proposal phase along to implementation.
In the future HOSPA has given me a great foundation to move forward in my career. Through my performance in HOSPA and the skills and knowledge I have learnt, my employer has offered me the opportunity to complete a chartered accountancy qualification upon completion of HOSPA. This is the first time this has been offered to anybody in my company and is due in huge part to my HOSPA experience.
In my career I hope this will enable me to become a Finance Manager within the hospitality sector and encourage others to achieve their potential.”
Winner: Level One Financial Management, completed August 2020. Overall 'Learner of the Year'
Lucy was presented with her award at the HOSPA Virtual Annual Awards Ceremony in January. She was delighted to receive an award and goes on to explain:
“My travel-corridor into the hospitality industry began with a degree in Modern Languages and Cultures from Durham University. As part of my year abroad in France and Italy, I spent one extremely warm summer as a hotel administrator in Siena; this provided a strong foundation for understanding both the workings of a hotel and the importance of air conditioning.
Almost immediately after graduating, I joined a cultural tour company based in London as an Operations Executive, specialising in wine tours. My role comprised originating and executing all components of luxury group tours, including full budgetary control and analysis of profit margins. During my three years at this small firm, I gained excellent exposure to the running of a tour operator from top to bottom and saw the direct impact of financial and commercial decisions on a business, some of which were my own.
In January 2019, I moved to my current position as Research Analyst in the BDO Leisure and Hospitality Consulting department. BDO, as long-standing and proud sponsors of HOSPA, encouraged me to study for the Financial Management qualification shortly after my arrival at the firm. Given my limited technical experience in finance at the time,
I knew the course would be demanding; that said, I was keen to take on this new challenge and confident that the qualification would complement and strengthen my role at BDO.
I’m pleased to report that the course has lived up to expectations. It has taught me the rigorous technicalities of financial accounting, alongside the strategic processes and essentiality of operational control. This all being set within the context of the hospitality industry has really helped to deepen my understanding of the sector.
As a corollary, this has been hugely valuable for my work and network at BDO – and I don’t just mean the accounting jokes to use at audit staff parties (…in 2024). I feel fortunate to have been able to increase my knowledge of the industry during this turbulent and critical period in particular, as I support the Partners and Consultants in advisory work, and as author of our monthly analytical reports of UK hotel performance. This HOSPA course has allowed me to fully comprehend the real impact of the pandemic on hotel finances and operations - whether it be supply chains, workforce, marketing or sales - and the need for flexible and grounded business models as a result.
I look forward to using this HOSPA qualification as a vital cornerstone of my career at BDO. But more importantly, and as part of the talented team at BDO, I expect to use it to help our hospitality clients to overcome the challenges of the current economic climate, and to reach a more certain future.”
Mediterranean Yacht Sales Ltd and Domus Zamittello Boutique Hotel
Winner: Level Two Financial Management, completed August 2020
Simon Peter Grech, who is currently a Group Financial Controller at Mediterranean Yacht Sales Ltd and Domus Zamittello Boutique Hotel was presented with his award at the HOSPA Virtual Annual Awards Ceremony in January. Simon achieved the highest overall grade for Level Two, Financial Management course which he completed in August 2020. Simon then went on to study Level Three completing in February 2021 with a ‘Distinction’.
My first experience in hospitality started at a young age first working at front desk progressing to back office in administration and accounting. Later also including procurement together with F&B control. After several years, I moved to an Incoming Travel Agency working as an Accounts Manager. During this period, I also started up my own company supplying 5, 4-star hotels and restaurants with equipment and accessories.
After a lapse of 15 years away from hospitality and tourism working for companies such as Panasonic and Samsung as National Area Manager, I have returned back to hospitality to work as an Assistant Financial Controller in a 4-star 165 room hotel. Today, I am working as a Group Financial Controller, in the yachting business, retail and commercial property management and rentals including Malta’s unique boutique hotel set in an old palazzo in the best location of our capital Valletta.
The course has helped me catch up with improved methods relating directly to the hospitality industry to make me more proficient and confident in these difficult times to help weather and sail the storm.
I have changed employment during my studies and the fact that I was undergoing the HOSPA Financial Management course helped me position myself in the forefront.
Winner: Level Three Financial Management, completed August 2019
Overlooking Edinburgh Castle, the Sheraton Grand Hotel and Spa is part of the Sheraton Grand tier, a collection of premium hotels and resorts that feature the highest level of design and service. This is a unique urban resort, featuring the distinctly modern One Square and award winning One Spa, perfectly suited for City Spa Breaks.
During Simon’s 6th year at Hermitage Academy he undertook a ‘Welcome Host’ course at Cameron House. After enjoying this Simon took a gap year working at the Beardmore Hotel in Dalmuir which led him to study hospitality at University. Simon achieved a 2:1 in BA (Hons) Hotel and Hospitality Management from Robert Gordon University.
Simon was also awarded the ‘Hilton Treetops’ Prize for the highest grades in 4th year which led to a job within Hilton as an Income Auditor in Aberdeen post-graduation.
Simon explains what led him to his current role and how the course will help him now and in the future:
“After working as an Income Auditor at the Hilton Aberdeen Treetops for 1 year I decided to travel round New Zealand for 6 months before returning to Scotland and settling in Edinburgh. I re-joined Hilton hotels within Revenue at the Caledonian, however, my interest in finance led me to return to this department as F&B Controller.
Following 6 years during which I was retained during the centralisation of Hilton finance within Scotland as a Cluster Finance Officer for Edinburgh I moved to the Sheraton Grand Hotel and Spa.
I joined the Sheraton as F&B Cost Controller in December 2014, being responsible for procurement and cost of sales, before starting to become more involved in the finance department taking on an additional role as cashier and cross training with other roles including AP and AR.
I then trained in the AFC role including the reconciliation of balance sheets and monthly P&L preparation before being promoted into this role in August 2018.
The 3rd stage of the course included several aspects that I have had little exposure to in my role. As a result, I felt this really assisted in developing by base knowledge as well as being able to use this theory in the workplace. It has led to me requesting additional exposure to forecasting and budgeting as well as being part of the substantial ROI calculations for some large CAPEX projects that are ongoing at the property.
Being able to support the theoretical text with case studies focusing on industry specific examples have really helped benefit me and allowed the application of the theory to be easier understood.
Long term I would like to think I have the potential to move into a DOF role however, I am fully aware that this is several years down the line. I also have an interest in the auditor perspective following a recent hotel finance audit that I took the lead on and am also looking to gain experience of this within my organisation.”
Revenue Management Learner Profiles:
Winner: Outstanding Achievement Award 2020
Leanda is Revenue Manager at the Coombe Abbey Hotel near Coventry. Founded in 1150 AD as the Abbey of Cumbe, Coombe Abbey Hotel, settled in amongst acres of parkland in Warwickshire, enjoys a rich and fascinating history, with ties to royalty and the Gunpowder Plot. With 121 rooms and wedding, conference and banqueting facilities, the hotel provides an excellent location for relaxing weekend away or venue to celebrate the most special of occasions.
Leanda has been studying on our courses in Revenue Management and in 2019 she achieved the highest set of results for the year based on her studies for Level 1 and Level 2 and achieved a very high grade for Level 3, hence, obtaining this special award. The award was presented to Leanda at the Virtual Awards Ceremony in January.
Leanda began her professional life in 2007 with a BA (Hons) Event Management from the University Institute of Wales, Cardiff. Her first role was as Conference & Events Sales Executive at the Hilton Cardiff.
“I was Conference Manager at Coombe Abbey and then went on maternity leave, I was about to return when the position of Revenue Manager became available and I was asked if I would consider it.
I had been interested in the revenue career path so the timing was perfect. I suggested that I do the HOSPA Revenue Management course so that I could learn the theory alongside doing the role. Whilst I had gained some understanding of the concepts throughout my career, it’s been hugely beneficial to learn the theory and really develop my skills. It’s given me the confidence to challenge existing processes and develop my own, leading my hotel to become much more Total Revenue focussed.
I want to continue building my knowledge and experience in Revenue and use that to further develop my career in hotels.”
Winner: Joint winner, Level One Revenue Management, completed February 2020
Cedar court hotels are an independently owned hotel group with over 490 bedrooms across the four hotels offering, not only accommodation, but also some of the largest conference and event venues in Yorkshire, and of course a warm Yorkshire welcome! Over the last few months of disruption, the company has also launched a new venture, EC4 Management. EC4 Management partners with business owners by providing access to the commercially nimble and savvy team working at Cedar Court and is already adding value to properties and bringing commercial solutions and ‘wins’ to partner hotels.
Although Emily’s main role is to oversee the revenue management, she is also responsible for the Central Reservations Team and IT systems.
Following on from Level 1 of the Revenue Management course, Emily completed Level 2 and achieved a 'Distinction' and completed Level 3 in February 2021. Prior to studying with HOSPA Emily gained a BA (Hons) Fine Art and CIPD Level 7 Qualification in Human Resources.
Emily goes on to explain how she first joined the hospitality industry:
“I was 22 with a fine art degree and no long-term plan! I had previously worked in a bar so I applied for a Bar attendant role at a nearby hotel. Within a day of starting, I knew that hotels were the best place to work and there and then I decided I wanted to be a General Manager, seven years later I returned to the same hotel where I started as a bar attendant as the General Manager.”
Emily’s determination, being inquisitive and showing resilience led her to her current role:
“After joining Cedar Court as a General Manager, a number of changes within the company opened up an opportunity for me to specialise into Revenue management (I think my love of spreadsheets helped!) my role further developed and now includes managing the CRS function, IT and working closely with Sales and Finance teams, this makes my role varied and allows me to provide leadership and strategic direction for the company.
This course has developed my understanding of the key principles of revenue management, it has helped me to clarify a lot of my ‘on the job experiences’ into an academic and strategic framework.
Self-development is part of our culture; we focus on ensuring that our teams are given the key skills for their future and our leaders are nurtured so all achievements are recognised and celebrated at Cedar Court!
My next goal is to help to further extend our portfolio with Cedar Court Hotels/EC4 Management which will enable me to oversee more hotels, expanding and developing the Reservations and Revenue function.”
Winner: Joint winner, Level One Revenue Management, completed February 2020
Adam Suliemani, is currently a Cluster Market Revenue Manager at Jurys Inn UK and Ireland was presented with his award at the HOSPA Virtual Annual Awards Ceremony in January. Adam achieved the joint highest overall grade for Level One, Revenue Management course which he completed in February 2020.
Adam went on to complete Level 2 of the Revenue Management course and is hoping to start Level 3 in September 2021.
Jurys Inn hotels are ideally situated in city centres across UK and Ireland. The hotels provide guests with extremely convenient locations from which to enjoy local attractions.
Adam first joined the Hospitality industry as a Food and Beverage/Meetings and Events Assistant for interstate hotels.
He then came to his current role by working closely with a revenue manager in his previous role managing a Spa. Seeing what the revenue manager did on a daily basis interested Adam so he set out looking for courses which could expand his knowledge on the subject, and that is how he started studying with HOSPA and ultimately obtained his Job.
Adam goes on to say that his employers are very keen for him to continue his studies and complete all three levels. He is continuing to gain knowledge on the industry and the market he is currently working in and hoping to gain further progression and skillset.
Winner: Level Two Revenue Management, completed
February 2020 and Level Three Revenue Management completed August 2020. Overall 'Learner of the Year'.
Krista was delighted to receive her award and goes on to explain:
“During my bachelor’s degree, I undertook an internship as a receptionist at an airport hotel in my native Finland. Off the back of this internship, I was offered a part-time role as a receptionist. Over time, my role developed into a full-time position and covered many more aspects of the hotel and hospitality machine. This ranged from hosting meetings to being a sales executive for meetings and events through to beginning management training.
It was during this period that I discovered my enjoyment for the fast-paced nature of hospitality and the variety of the roles and responsibilities I undertook ensured that no two days were the same. Once I had had my eyes opened to this, I realised that there was a lot of career opportunities for myself in an industry I seemed to thrive in.
After moving to the UK in 2014, I furthered my experience within the hospitality industry working as a Front of House Manager in a hotel as well as working in the customer service department of a world-leading OTA. Alongside my professional development, I completed my MSc in Project Management at Royal Holloway, University of London.
In 2018 I joined Citystay, a Cambridge based serviced apartment provider as the Reservations & Guest Services Manager. Moving into the burgeoning and fast-growing extended stay industry was an exciting step in my career and it felt as though Citystay was the ideal next step in both my personal and professional development.
As part of the development of Citystay, the company determined to add another long stay brand, Checked Inn, and a long stay agency, InnClusive as standalone brands to form the overarching Citystay Group. In the embryonic years of the Citystay Group, it was recognised that within the internal structure, and to be as successful as possible, the group would need to have a full functioning Revenue Management department.
I was therefore enrolled into the HOSPA Revenue Management course to provide a platform to learn the theory and practical application to develop into the role of a Citystay Group Revenue Manager.
Upon the official launch of the Citystay Group in December 2020, I was promoted to the role of Head of Revenue & Reservations for the group.
As I have always had a thirst for learning, I recognised the area of Revenue Management as being something I was not only interested in, but something that would benefit both myself professionally and the future of the Citystay Group tremendously. The HOSPA Revenue Management course might be directed more towards hotel revenue managers, however I feel strongly that it is also extremely relevant to Serviced Accommodation revenue managers. This course gives us a competitive advantage by having the knowledge and ability to apply the most appropriate Revenue Management tools and activities into our business.
Having completed the course, I feel I am now equipped with an arsenal of theoretical knowledge and practical skills to enable me to excel in my new role.
Winner: Level Three Revenue Management, completed
Amy Braund who is currently Head of Sales at Bingham Riverhouse Hotel was presented with her award at the HOSPA Virtual Annual Awards Ceremony in January. Amy achieved the highest overall grade for Level Three, Revenue Management which she completed in February 2020.
Before completing her HOSPA studies Amy achieved BSc (Hons) Degree in Sport Development with Coaching (graduated 2008) and a Certificate in Hospitality & Event Management (Rosen College of Hospitality – University of Central Florida).
Amy explains how she first joined the hospitality industry:
“Like a lot of people after leaving University I thought “what on earth do I do now”. I found an exciting opportunity to work at Walt Disney World in Florida through their graduate programme and before I knew it, I was on a plane over there to work as Concierge at one of their top resorts on property. It was a 6 month programme that also included studying Hospitality Management at UCF.
It was from that moment I knew hospitality was for me and so when I returned to the UK I just started applying for any hotel jobs I could get. The joy from providing exceptional guest service is a feeling like no other and making those moments for people. Having Disney on my CV was a huge help in getting my foot through the door in the UK and the first role I was offered was as a trainee manager where the plan was for me to take on 3 months in each role from reception to kitchen, events, housekeeping etc.
When I started as the trainee manager my role for the first few months was reception as well as working in the events office looking after everything from weddings to corporate meetings. An opportunity arose for me to take on the main role as events co-ordinator. Admittedly not something I had ever thought of before but absolutely loved it. After a couple of years, I then moved down to London and took on a wedding co-ordinator role in a much larger hotel.
I always had a natural passion for reaching targets and conversion, seeing all the hard work we were doing as a team to bring the money in was exciting. As opportunities develop, I then went back to work for the Walt Disney Company on the Cruise Line and ended up as Guest Services Manager.
Upon return to the UK, I then found Bingham Riverhouse where I was again offered the role as wedding & events co-ordinator. With it being a privately owned hotel, I was able to come into my own and get involved with decision making when it came to how to increase sales. This then lead to be being offered the role of Sales & Events Manager predominantly looking after the sales from the events side of the business.
Now here I am! After a difficult year in the industry, many changes came into place at Bingham Riverhouse with a shakeup of the team and I am now Head of Sales where I oversee all revenue coming into the business from f&b, bedrooms, events, membership and spa.
The HOSPA revenue management course is absolutely the reason I am where I am now. I always had the passion for the numbers and the motivation to make as much as possible for the business. I had bits of background knowledge, but the course really allowed me to get an understanding of revenue as a whole in each department as well as combined to try and achieve the maximum amount of revenue possible.
The promotion to head of sales (especially during this time) is truly an honour and for me one of the biggest recognitions I could get after completing the course.
Moving forward I’d like to continue on the path I am on in revenue. I have found something I really enjoy doing in an environment and sector that aims to provide happiness – that is a nice feeling. It has always been my dream to work for Disney again and also to live by the ocean in a much warmer climate than the UK, so I’d love someday to take this role over to a large resort perhaps on the beach!”
Winner: Level Three Revenue Management, completed
The Best Western Ship Hotel (Desborough Hotel Group) is located in the heart of Weybridge and is ideally situated for visits to Hampton Court, Windsor, Kew Gardens, RHS Wisley, Twickenham Rugby Ground, Thorpe Park, Legoland, Chessington World of Adventures, Brooklands, Mercedes-Benz World and Wimbledon Tennis Grounds. There are also numerous race courses and golf clubs within a short distance to make the hotel a superb place for a leisure break.
The Best Western Ship Hotel successfully combines the individual elegance and space of a modern contemporary hotel while maintaining many of its original features that date back to the 17th century.
Prior to studying with HOSPA, Sarah completed a Post Graduate Diploma resulting in Chartered MCIPD (Chartered Institute of Professional Development). Sarah first joined the hospitality industry working part-time as a HR Officer following her maternity leave with her second child.
Sarah goes on to explain:
“I have worked in the same business for almost 17 years developing my knowledge and skills across the whole business. I was working as HR Manager and was asked if I wanted to take over responsibility for the revenue team. It was quite a different role from my current but I enjoy a challenge and learning new things so accepted the opportunity offered. That was 5 years ago and since then have got involved in meeting and events as well as reservations and revenue.
Although I had a common sense approach to revenue the course has given me a greater understanding of revenue principles including a broader and longer-term approach to reservations.
I hope to continue developing my knowledge of revenue management and improve the practices in my current role.”
Winner: Level Two Financial Management, completed February 2020
Alex Pop, is currently working as an Assistant Financial Controller at Canopy by Hilton London City (Hilton Group) and was presented with his award at the HOSPA Virtual Annual Awards Ceremony in January. Alex achieved the highest overall grade for Level Two, Financial Management course which he completed in February 2020.
Alex continued his studies with HOSPA and completed Level Three Financial Management in August 2020.
“I joined the hospitality industry in November 2015 as a night auditor at Holiday Inn Express London Southwark.
After 10 months of hard work and dedication at Holiday Inn Express London Southwark I was promoted to the Account Manager role. Since then, I knew that finance is what I want to do for the rest of my life.
The HOSPA Financial Management course is very well structured and I found it to be one of the most enjoyable courses I have ever taken. Everything is well explained, and you are pointed to all the necessary resources and readings about every single topic.
My employer recognised and congratulated me for achieving HOSPA FM certification. Now we are planning the next step of my career.
My aspiration for the future is to continuously work hard, gain experience and improve my knowledge in order to be a great financial controller in a self-accounting luxury hotel.”