Sarah Waapu-Kumar

Sarah Waapu-Kumar

Reservations Manager, Pullman Auckland
Bachelor of International Hospitality Management in Tourism

Ngāti Kahungunu

She is excited about the opportunities the hospitality industry offers, says Sarah Waapu-Kumar who completed a Bachelor of International Hospitality Management in Tourism.

“The hospitality market is always growing and with all the new hotels developing in Auckland, there are so many opportunities coming our way and we need to be able to put our best foot forward. AUT has helped me do that.

“I came away from my studies at AUT with a better understanding, a motivation to put theory into practice and to do better when it comes to providing the best service possible.”

The skills to succeed
There were many highlights throughout her studies, Sarah says.

“I really enjoyed the final year, and developing my knowledge further to assist me in becoming a manager in the future. I enjoyed meeting new people and working on group projects because it enabled collaboration, and being part of a team meant that were all on the same page and the same journey.”

The workplace experience in her final year was one of the standouts for her.

“During my workplace experience at Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour, I was able to put all my theoretical knowledge into practice doing something I love – working with people and providing memorable experiences.

“I learned what true five-star luxury service is and what providing truly genuine and authentic service meant – which in the end is just being yourself, your real self, because you can’t fake genuine service.”

Creating memorable experiences
Sarah has been with Accor Hotels for seven years now, working her way up the career ladder from a kitchen hand during her first year of study at AUT. Sarah graduated in 2014 and is now the reservations manager at Pullman Auckland, a 328 room five star hotel.

“I now lead a team of five, managing and overseeing all group bookings for our hotel, including for high profile groups. Liaising with other departments to ensure that our guests have a successful stay, problem-solving and complaint handling are also key parts of my role.”

She loves the variety of her role, Sarah says.

“Every day is different, and you never know what will come your way. I enjoy being able to provide valuable leadership lessons to my team, and pass on the knowledge I’ve gained to ensure every guest receives genuine authentic service.

“Accor Hotels have been amazing in also providing multiple development opportunities for me, which is key in ensuring that I’m constantly learning and obtaining key on-the-job experiences and lessons. As an employer, Accor Hotels have a very clear vision to ensure our staff and guests ‘feel welcome’. I’m super proud to work for a company that inspires not just myself but also our guests.”