Currently the chief executive of The Rees Hotel and Luxury Apartments in Queenstown, Mark Rose has had a lifetime of experience working in the hospitality industry in Scotland, the United States, Australia and New Zealand.
In his early years, Mark Rose was fortunate to work with none other than Richard Branson.
“His relaxed manner combined with the way he valued the people who worked with him has always been a standout for me. It has stood me in good stead for my hospitality career.” Rose said.
Rose travels around the world 140 days a year meeting his industry partners.
“We ‘break bread’, share food and wine, and work out what we get right and how to fix anything that doesn’t work for us both. Everything in life is a partnership, and every partner needs to get their share. Meeting the people who sell the hotel is ultimately the best marketing initiative we have ever invested in,” he said.
Growing numbers of tourists flocking to Queenstown has had its financial benefits, but it has also had unintended consequences, notably pushing the costs of living to unaffordable levels. The average rents prices in the Queenstown Lakes District peaked at an average of $600 per week last year, higher than median rent prices in Auckland. The issue got so bad that the Queenstown Community Trust at one point had 420 households on its waiting list for housing assistance.
“Housing prices are insane, and motivating Kiwis to live and work here is so difficult,” Rose said.
The hotel is counteracting that by offering subsidised accommodation for staff to lease, particularly for those new to Queenstown and struggling to find a place to live.
“I am a people person who loves to both share my experiences and listen to others. We run a flat management structure at the hotel so there is nothing I would expect one of the team to do that I wouldn’t be able to do myself.”
The Rees received a Qualmark Gold last year – one of only two Gold Award recipients in the South Island at the time. The award is a top seal of approval, known as ‘New Zealand tourism’s official mark of quality. The property was recognised for excelling in customer service initiatives and customer satisfaction levels, something Mark Rose believes comes by way of his ‘old school’ values-based approach to business.
With a significant birthday on the horizon, Rose has been contemplating “what’s next?” No firm plans are in place yet, but he plans on being around young people with energy and be somewhere that he can make a difference.
A major milestone for Rose was the opening of the new Rees Lakeside Residences that marked the end of a construction project on-site spanning multiple years. The properties are positioned just a stone’s throw away from Lake Wakatipu, adjacent to but separate enough from the main hotel building to offer a private, secluded, magical setting.
Rose is a firm believer that the best way to start out in the industry is to get your fingers dirty, find a company that values people and just put in the hours.
“You can’t learn hospitality from a textbook!” he said.