After years spent travelling the world, David Oliveri’s love for the hospitality industry was reignited by the relaxed and personalised approach to service he discovered down under.
Melinda Williams: Hi David. What’s your role here at The Hotel Britomart?
David Oliveri: I’m the Executive Assistant Manager, so my role is managing the overall effectiveness of the day-to-day operations. This involves oversight and leadership of the operational ( front of house) departments to ensure our guest journey flows effortlessly.
So you’re the furiously paddling legs underneath the gliding swan.
Exactly. Very much paddling at the moment! I guess my main focus is to ensure the team are all happy and engaged and to create an environment that leads to exceptional guest service.
How did you come to The Hotel Britomart?
Well, I had worked in hospitality for 14 years, across various establishments from big corporate hotels to smaller luxury lodges, so my background’s quite diverse. Prior to my role here, I worked at Hilton for five years one of the the biggest hospitality companies in the world, which set me up in a good way to understand the needs of guests at hotels. The Hotel Britomart is really the perfect fit for me and my background. What I’ve loved about this opportunity is that The Hotel Britomart has got that niche of being a boutique urban hotel that ties into the luxury lodge guest service expectation of being really high-end.
Your accent suggests you originated somewhere other than New Zealand.
Yes, I’m from the UK originally and I’ve been in New Zealand for four years now. Prior to that I spent a couple of years in Melbourne working in hospitality.
The Hotel Britomart must feel a bit like Melbourne, with its laneway vibe.
Yes, it’s very similar feeling to Melbourne. That’s probably what I love most about Britomart, the complexity of the neighbourhood with a rustic feeling – it’s so different to the rest of the city. When you step away from Queen St and into our neighbourhood, there’s a really warm, inviting feeling and a bit more of a family environment.
What brought you down to the Southern Hemisphere in the first place?
For me, hospitality here is quite different to how it is in the Northern Hemisphere. I feel like there’s a really nice warm and friendly feeling, rather than the more, perhaps, rigid feeling in the Northern Hemisphere. To put it politely.
How very English of you!
Ha. I originally came to Australia when on a career break travelling around the world, and when I settled in Australia I fell back in love with the hospitality scene. It’s a lot more relaxed and genuine than it is in Europe and that’s a really nice thing. You can deliver amazing experiences that don’t feel forced or staged.
Do you think that’s to do with a kind of New World lack of tradition, particularly in luxury hotels?
Exactly. There, the experience can be rather structured. Here, you have the creativity to allow you to be yourself. The Hotel Britomart is an amazing place, very different to what you’d find in Britain. New Zealand is a country that’s envied by the whole world at the minute, I guess, and the hospitality scene is no different. To be a part of this hotel in the most vibrant part of Auckland is something I feel very lucky to be a part of. It’s unfortunate that we don’t have the overseas travellers at the moment that we’d hoped to, but it’s great to see all the people from the rest of the North Island and the South Island.
What’s something you’ve enjoyed discovering about the hotel as you’ve settled in?
It’s amazing how the building changes so much from winter to summer, in the rain or in the sun, or depending the time of day. I’m still getting used to it.
Now that you’ve had a while to settle into Britomart, where do you like to go when you’re off-duty?
Well, a personal favourite is Amano, I love it, along with everyone else! It’s definitely the go-to place around here. But there are so many little gems around the precinct, food, fashion, everything. Wherever you go, there’s something, which is great for the guests as well – you can discover so much without having to go very far.