Eve Stacey of InterContinental Wellington was this week named International Receptionist of the Year 2009 in Cannes, Southern France.
With New Zealand taking top honours, first runner-up was England and second runner-up Australia out of a total of 14 countries competing.
"InterContinental Wellington prides itself on superior service standards and this international award for Eve is an example of the excellent standards to which all the team aspire," said David Shackleton, Area General Manager InterContinental Hotels Group, New Zealand/South Pacific.
"The whole hotel is so proud of Eve with many messages of congratulations being sent to her hotel in France."
The international competition was initiated in 1995 by members of the Amicale Internationale des Chefs de Reception et Sous Directeurs de Grand Hotels, or AICR - The International Association for Front Office Managers and Assistant Hotel Managers.
A key part of the competition (50% of the marks) involves a role play with professional actors, assessing conduct and confidence, interpretation of the scenario, negotiation/sales skills, problem solving skills and guest relations/follow up.
Judges also undertake an in-depth interview with each candidate, looking at technical and product knowledge in relation to costs, profits, revenue, yield management, staffing levels, structure and promotional ideas.
New Zealand's involvement is made possible via the local arm of the AICR, known as ARDENZ (Association of Rooms Division Executives of New Zealand), with president Terry Johnston co-ordinating fundraising for the travel and escorting the country's representative to the competition each year.
The background hard work is establishing a good new Zealand track record on the all-important first impressions front, with Crowne Plaza Christchurch receptionist Cheryl Swanston coming second in the international competition in Dubai last year.