Caitlin takes on the Wedding Season on Hamilton Island.

21 June 2023

Introducing Caitlin Coates, who is a 2019 Degree Graduate. She is currently working in the Whitsundays on Hamilton Island in the weddings department. We are extremely proud of what she has achieved and wanted to share what she has been getting up to since she graduated from PIHMS. 

My time at PIHMS 

My time at PIHMS was definitely a challenge, whilst studying and working full-time hours most weeks it was hard to find a balanced lifestyle at the start. However, having continuous hands-on hospitality experience was amazing and eventually taught me how to manage my time effectively, which is one of the best skills anyone could learn.  

PIHMS prepared me to take on the industry  

I spent both of my student placements on Hamilton Island, which meant I had existing connections across the island. After 15 months of being back on the island working at Qualia, Hamilton Islands’ luxury 6-star resort, I was approached with the opportunity to move into the weddings department. Without the qualification that I received from PIHMS and the internship experience, I would not be where I am today.  

I have always been passionate about having lasting relationships with customers, I always wanted a role where I could work with people for an extended period of time”

Weddings are such a personal and emotional event in people’s lives, it is gratifying seeing their dreams come to life and having that ongoing long-term relationship with each couple. 

I originally thought that I would find this role quite stressful, however, I found myself thriving with this particular type of stress/pressure. The in-depth organization and planning that we do is aligned well with my skill set, this was something I discovered whilst planning various events during my time at PIHMS. I never would have thought that transporting 4 tier wedding cakes around an island on a golf buggy would be so ‘fun!’.  

I love how big this industry is, I have met numerous PIHMS alumni throughout various roles within Australia and New Zealand which I think is amazing. There are endless opportunities out there within the hospitality industry, and finding my passion for working in events whilst studying at PIHMS helped fast-tracked my career to where I am today. 

My tip for taking on the industry 

One thing that comes to mind is the importance of making connections with people in the industry. Often, I hear the saying ‘It’s not always about what you know, but who you know’. For someone who might be just starting out in the industry, take all the opportunities you can at PIHMS and on placements to connect with people and companies, you never know where it might get you in the future.  

My 5-year goal is…

In 5 years I see myself looking to start my own business within the wedding industry. At this time, I’m still deciding if I want to invest in a property to turn into a wedding venue or look to focus on international destination wedding planning, stay tuned! 

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