Award for Bishop’s Gate Hotel’s Stephanie

Stephanie McSparron and Ciaran ONeill, President of the NIHF

Stephanie McSparron and Ciaran ONeill, President of the NIHF

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A receptionist at the Bishop’s Gate Hotel has won an award at a prestigious gala ceremony hosted by the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation.

Stephanie McCarron from the Bishop’s Gate Hotel claimed the award of ‘Most Promising’ at the thirteenth Hotel Receptionist of the Year gala awards ceremony in the City Hotel.

Ciaran O’Neill, President of the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation said: “Initially, I’d like to say I’m delighted that the awards are being held in my native Derry City and that Elisha McCallion, First Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council could be with us to celebrate what is an extremely important occasion for the hospitality sector.

“This event allows businesses to showcase their people and to say thanks for the contribution they make on a daily basis.

“We have a growing tourism industry in Northern Ireland and this is due to the fact that we recognise the importance of good customer service and invest in it. Staff working in the industry strive to deliver excellence from the initial point of contact with a client or customer right through to the end of their visit or stay.

“A consistently, positive, professional approach assists in building relationships which drives repeat business and is central to obtaining positive recommendations on websites such as Trip Advisor, which have a global reach. Organised by the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation, the Hotel Receptionist of the Year Awards were designed to acknowledge the critical contribution that receptionists make to the visitor’s experience, while also providing a platform for sharing best practice and innovation within the sector.

“The awards have three different categories to reflect the different aspects of the role.”

Ciaran added: “Events like this don’t happen without support. I’d like to pay special thanks to Derry and Strabane District Council, Life – One Great Adventure and Victoria Square who have all contributed to these awards.”

The winner of the title of ‘Hotel Receptionist of the Year 2016’ was Ashleigh Baxter, Fitzwilliam Hotel, Belfast. Ashleigh was commended by the judges for her engaging approach: “asking questions that demonstrated she was keen to ensure the stay was an enjoyable one, and adept at maintaining a conversation that was free flowing and natural with good interaction. Ashleigh is a great asset to the Fitzwilliam Hotel as it is rare to find ‘natural’ receptionists of this calibre”.

The winner of ‘Most Promising Hotel Receptionist of the Year 2016’, supported by Net Affinity was Stephanie McCarron, Bishop’s Gate Hotel, Derry-Londonderry. Stephanie was described by the judges as: “an enthusiastic people person, intelligent and very innovative”.

The team category title of ‘Hotel Reception of the Year 2016’, which was sponsored by Tourism Northern Ireland, went to Tara Lodge, Belfast. One of the judges remarked: “I have stayed in numerous types of accommodation both at home and abroad and I can sincerely state that the welcome we received at the Tara Lodge was one of the best I have ever experienced”.

This is the second year running that Tara Lodge has scooped this accolade. Last month, the venue won the under 90 bedroom category at the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation Housekeeping Awards 2016, a prestigious award ceremony which recognises the importance of Housekeeping Teams.

Ciaran O’Neill concludes: “I would like to extend whole-hearted congratulations to all of our award winners. The hospitality industry is competitive and they are clearly delivering an excellent standard of service and in the process creating a positive image of Northern Ireland. Well done.”

The competition is kindly supported by Tourism Northern Ireland and Net Affinity.