Former tourism student named Queensland Tourism's Young Achiever of the Year
Attention to detail is the key ingredient to becoming a successful general manager of a hotel, according to former Southern Cross University student Matthew Simpson.
Mr Simpson, who is now the general manager of Brisbane's Spicers Balfour Hotel, won the Young Achievers Award at the Queensland Tourism Awards recently. The award recognises an individual, under the age of 32, who has contributed to the development of a vibrant and professional industry.
The 29-year-old studied for a Bachelor of Business specialising in Hotel and Resort Management at Southern Cross University's Coffs Harbour campus before embarking on his career.
"To be a successful general manager you have to be really passionate about the industry: a catalyst for achievement is to be able to listen, empower and motivate others. Good use of perception skills is vital, with the ability to read people and adapt leadership styles accordingly," Mr Simpson said.
"You have to have the commitment and desire to work in all areas of hospitality to appreciate the role of a general manager."
Mr Simpson started his career at London's St Giles Hotel as part of his internship requirements for his degree.
"The placement was recommended by SCU and it was fantastic. I actually bumped into another student who went to SCU the year ahead of me working at St Giles. I started off in reception and within a year I was the duty manager of a 650 room property," he said.
In 2005, Mr Simpson returned to Australia ready to transfer the skills and knowledge he had gained during his international experience to the Australian tourism industry. Since then, Matthew has had extensive management experience and has refined his skills further. He worked as a reservation and events co-ordinator for Peppers Salt Resort and Spa and as a business development manager for the Mantra Group overseeing conference and incentive sales for 150 properties.
He then was appointed general manager for the Spicers Peak Lodge in 2008, at the age of 25, before opening and managing Spicers Balfour Hotel in New Farm.
"To win the award was a surprise. I have worked extremely hard for it with a determination to change the perception that hospitality is not traditionally seen as a career to aspire to. Hopefully now I can give back to new entrants to the tourism industry by coaching and developing my team to breed another generation of Queensland tourism leaders," Mr Simpson said.
"I've lived and breathed my work but it's been worth it."
Matthew Simpson graduated with a Bachelor of Business in Hotel and Tourism Management (2004), which is now available as the Bachelor of Business in International Hospitality Management.
Updated: 04 April 2013