PIHMS Alumni Spotlight – Prerna Punjabi

05 June 2024

Introducing Prerna Punjabi, who went from PIHMS Degree Graduate to Business Development Manager for QT Hotels, Auckland City.

My time at PIHMS

Embarking on a journey halfway across the globe, I initially had no idea what I was truly signing up for. However, my experience at PIHMS became the pivotal steppingstone into New Zealand, beyond the hospitality industry. It immersed me in the tapestry of Kiwi culture of ‘Sweet as‘-ing everything. Beyond that, PIHMS equipped me with invaluable life skills alongside a comprehensive understanding of the hospitality industry. It was not just my first step into New Zealand; it was a transformational leap into a world of opportunity. 

Through immersive internships, my CV grew with practical experiences, and as I concurrently worked in the hotels and hospitality businesses while pursuing my studies. It set a sturdy foundation for my career. These opportunities not only honed industry-specific skills but also fostered adaptability and ability to work in the industry especially through COVID. The guidance and mentorship from my university mentors instilled a sense of perseverance and faith in my abilities, especially during the challenging times of COVID-19 when we all had to battle a global pandemic for the first time. It helped me navigate the professional world with confidence. 

Life after PIHMS

After building a solid knowledge base through experiencing all elements of hotel operations, I eventually ventured into the bustling hub of Auckland and transitioned into a corporate role offering a refreshing perspective on hotel dynamics. 

Sales and marketing became my muse; it unveiled the artistry behind crafting guest experiences. 

My tenure as a Sales Executive at Park Hyatt was a pivotal chapter, where I looked after sales and events. However, fate had more in store for me, leading me to QT Hotels as a Business Development Manager. I now look after the Hotels key corporate accounts, Conferencing and Event sales and creating development plans and growth projections. I also identify market opportunities through meetings, networking and other channels. My role also involves meeting existing and potential clients and building positive relationships. 

QT is a hotel synonymous with quirky luxury, art, fashion and culinary genius. It is not just a brand; it is a lifestyle, a celebration of all things uniquely Australian and New Zealand that leaves a lasting impression. 

My role challenges and inspires me. The role is analytical and equally social. I am learning life skills of sales and numbers and deep dive into research and analytics while also focused on creating experiences. I switch from deep modes of research to analysis to fun and immersive and meeting new people. Imagine this – one minute you are crunching numbers and the next you are blowing pink balloons to fill the hotel with for Pink’s concert in Auckland. I also get the opportunity to curate the corporate base and privilege of matching personalities and brands. 

I chose the Hotel & Hospitality Industry because…

It allows me to be a jack of all trades in an environment that exudes fun, luxury, and glamor & hospitality – qualities that resonate with my personality. This dynamic industry offers endless opportunities to engage with people from all walks of life, creating unforgettable experiences and forging lasting connections. Making people feel like royalty, the hotel and hospitality world aligns perfectly with my passion for service and my love for the finer things in life. It’s not just a career choice; it’s a lifestyle that allows me to thrive and make a meaningful impact every single day.” 

My favourite part of the industry?

Has to be the food and the hotel discounts! Jokes aside – it has and always will be the people. It is the people you meet from around the globe without leaving the confines of a single space. It is the people that build these spaces to the people of the industry; it is the people who create and curate experiences that truly make this industry special. They are not just talented; they are loving, funny, and bold. The same people that make you feel like royalty are also the ones sharing a plate of fries in the chilly kitchen after service at 01:00am. 

 What is particularly striking is the industry’s unwavering commitment to excellence. Every aspect of hotel operations, from guest services to housekeeping, is meticulously executed with the highest standards in mind. This creates an environment where every guest interaction is not just a transaction but a connection. 

My quick tip!

My quick tip is simple: Be open to new experiences and embrace the uncertainty of the future. In a world of unprecedented flexibility, opportunities abound, and career paths often unfold organically. It is okay not to have all the answers right away; instead, focus on cultivating a mindset of curiosity and adaptability. The hospitality industry is dynamic and offers opportunities for those who are willing to seize them. Trust in the journey, and you may find that the path unfolds in ways you never imagined. I would not have it any other way.”. 

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