Jayson Heron-Smith is the new Director of Sales & Marketing at Cordis Auckland.

Heron-Smith grew up in Heyfield, Gippsland, a small country town two hours east of Melbourne. Raised by his builder father and office-worker mother, his love of animals led to early childhood ambitions to become a vet, but after accepting employment in the deli section nof a local supermarket, he soon found himself bit by the hospitality bug.

"In hospitality, you will never have two days the same," Heron-Smith told Hotel Magazine. "Because the industry is all about people, you will always have a constantly changing variety of people to serve and help. If you're a people person and love a job with variety then hospitality is a great career of choice."

Heron-Smith's appointment at Cordis Auckland was preceded by 20 years of service in Australia, working with brands including Crown, Hilton, Hyatt and The Star Sydney. A seasoned hospitality expert, he has witnessed profound changes within the sector over the span of his career.

"The hospitality industry has been undergoing tremendous changes and disruptions over the last two decades," he said. "The most obvious change might be the impact of digitalisation, where hoteliers manage the services they provide for their customers and can now control many aspects of the guest experience."

Heron-Smith's latest position as Director of Sales and Marketing at the Daydream Island Resort in Queensland saw him develop and roll out a new brand for the Daydream Island Structure, recruiting and managing a team across sales, marketing, revenue, events, and reservations.

"Opening a new hotel is always exciting," he said. "It's been wonderful being involved in three hotel pre-openings, as it's an intense process that is very rewarding."

Heron-Smith's experience working with hotels in their opening stages lends itself to Cordis' dramatic expansion plans, with construction underway for a new 17-storey, 250-room tower.

When not working, Heron-Smith enjoys going to the cinema and spending time with his husband and pet dogs. He is also a seasoned foodie, and is looking forward to exploring Auckland's renowned culinary scene.