KarryOn News

It’s been a big week in the travel industry with people moving up and on from previous positions into new and exciting gigs, we call them our movers & shakers.

So, find out who got a new gig this week by checking out this week’s travel industry movers & shakers below or click here to check out last week’s new appointments.

1. Meet Ovolo Hotels new Director of Marketing

Stephen Howard

Ovolo Hotels has appointed Stephen Howard as its Director of Marketing. Stephen joins Ovolo following nearly six years at Event Hospitality & Entertainment most recently leading their communications as Group PR Director.

Having joined Event Hospitality & Entertainment in 2012 after nearly five years at Hyundai Motor Company Australia, Stephen brings more than 15 years of experience in marketing and communications to his new role as Ovolo Hotels.

“Ovolo is an amazing, fun and creative brand! The collection of hotels is setting a new benchmark for guest experiences through design, fashion, art and all-inclusive service with personality.”

Stephen Howard, Director of Marketing, Ovolo Hotels

“We are excited to welcome Stephen as we look to build on the rapid expansion and success we have seen over the past 12 months. Stephen brings a wealth of experience from his time at Event Hospitality & Entertainment and Hyundai Motor Company Australia,” said CEO and Chairman of Ovolo Hotels, Girish Jhunjhnuwala.

“His experience will be invaluable to our local and global efforts moving forward.”


2. Meet Pan Pacific Perth’s new General Manager


Pan Pacific Hotels Group is pleased to announce the appointment of Rob Weeden as General Manager for Pan Pacific Perth.

 With a career spanning more than 25 years, Rob Weeden is a highly experienced hospitality professional who has held leadership positions both domestically and abroad.

Prior to joining Pan Pacific Hotels Group, he was Vice President, Sales and Marketing at Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts, and was EMEA, based out of Dubai, the United Arab Emirates since 2012.

During his time at Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts, Rob took on several senior roles where he acquired a deep understanding of hotel operations. He has headed up Shangri-La Hotel Cairns and Traders Hotel Kuala Lumpur as General Manager in 2008 and 2011 respectively, and combines his operations expertise with a strong background in sales and marketing, having worked as Director of Sales & Marketing for several properties under the group in Malaysia and Australia.

 “We are delighted to have Rob join Pan Pacific Hotels Group. He brings extensive sales and marketing knowledge as well as a depth of operations experience. Perth is an exciting and competitive market and we look forward to seeing Rob further cement Pan Pacific Perth’s position as one of the leading hotels in Western Australia.”

 Kurt Otto Wehinger, Area General Manager Oceania of Pan Pacific Hotels Group. 

“I am privileged and excited to join the Pan Pacific Perth, a West Australian landmark property. It has a fabulous reputation and a committed team which is achieving excellent results.  At Pan Pacific, we provide dependable places which integrate warm people and thought processes, so our guests have what they need when they travel. We will continuously innovate and make solutions work for our guests as our competitive advantage,” said Weeden.


3. Meet Chiva-Som’s new General Manager

Vaipanya Kongkwanyuen 2

Thailand’s pioneering health and wellness resort, Chiva-Som welcomes Vaipanya Kongkwanyuen as new General Manager.

Mr Vaipanya is returning home to Chiva-Som, having been the Director of Food & Beverage for the resort in 1994 in the early stages of the journey, during the pre-opening phase.

He was recently based in China (Beijing, Lijiang and Hangzhou) with the Aman Group as General Manager from 2012.

Mr Vaipanya has extensive experience and a career background in food and beverage in Thailand and overseas which commenced in 1984.

He was heavily involved in the pre-opening team for the Aman Group in both Lijiang and Beijing, as well as with Four Seasons, Thailand. Apart from operations, he was previously responsible for sales and marketing strategic planning.

Mr Vaipanya is the first Thai General Manager at Chiva-Som and brings a wealth of experience from a 30-year career in 5-star hospitality to execute further development and significant service to Chiva-Som.

The Chiva-Som management welcomes this expertise in terms of operations, overall guest experience and management skills and is looking forward to Mr Vaipanya joining the team.


4. Meet Hilton Port Moresby’s new General Manager


Hilton has announced John Lucas as General Manager for Hilton Port Moresby, the first Hilton Hotels & Resorts branded property to open in Papua New Guinea.

Hilton will manage the newly built Hilton Port Moresby and the Kutubu Convention Centre as part of the Star Mountain Plaza development, on behalf of Mountain Plaza Ltd. The 16-storey, 212-room Hilton hotel will feature five unique food and beverage outlets, including the signature Mumu Restaurant. The Kutubu Convention Centre will feature a banquet hall with a capacity of up to 800 people, six meeting rooms and an outdoor amphitheatre.

John Lucas’s career with Hilton has spanned over 30 years, most recently as Area General Manager for Hilton in the Northern Territory, looking after Hilton Darwin, DoubleTree by Hilton Darwin, DoubleTree by Hilton Esplanade Darwin and DoubleTree by Hilton Alice Springs. Across these four properties, John was responsible for 853 guest rooms, eight food and beverage outlets, and significant meeting and event space.

“As a long-standing Hilton team member, we are extremely pleased to have John appointed as General Manager for Hilton Port Moresby. He brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience and will lead the team to great success as we expand our portfolio into Papua New Guinea.”

Sean Wooden, vice president, operations, Australasia.

Prior to his tenure in the Northern Territory, John was General Manager for Hilton Cairns and DoubleTree by Hilton Cairns and also worked in various business development roles at Hilton properties in Melbourne, Brisbane and Auckland.


5. Meet Crystalbrook Collection’s strengthened Leadership Team


Neil Patmore, Chief Financial Officer, Crystalbrook Collection Corporate Office

Crystalbrook Collection has appointed Neil Patmore as its Chief Financial Officer overseeing the company’s planned AU$1 billion investment in Australia. Neil joins Crystalbrook Collection following an extensive career in the United Kingdom, USA, Australia and New Zealand. Most recently Neil was the Senior Regional Finance Director, Australasia for Hilton Worldwide.

Speaking on his appointment, Neil said: “Crystalbrook Collection has a great future. It’s a unique and exciting opportunity to work alongside like-minded individuals passionate about creating a new brand that will challenge the status quo within the hospitality world.” 

Neil will be based at Crystalbrook Collection’s head office in Sydney overseeing teams in Sydney, Cairns and Port Douglas.

Eddie Ross, Food and Beverage Manager, Crystalbrook Collection Cairns

Eddie Ross has been appointed Food and Beverage Manager across the first three Crystalbrook Collection hotels located in Cairns. Eddie brings a wealth of experience in the hospitality and tourism industry acquired working throughout Australia and New Zealand. Most recently he managed a staff of 350 where he was responsible formulating and implementing strategies for growth.

Commenting on his appointment, Eddie said: “We’ve got very strong restaurant concepts and I’m looking forward to opening these and making our mark on the Australian culinary scene.”

Luis Rodrigo Zamora, Executive Chef, Crystalbrook Collection Cairns

Hospitality veteran Luis Rodrigo (Rod) Zamora has been appointed Executive Chef overseeing the groups hotel portfolio in Cairns. Rod is a seasoned culinary professional with more than 20 years’ hospitality experience working throughout London, Netherlands, Malaysia, Thailand, Maldives and Australia. Most recently he held the position of Executive Chef with Hilton Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia.

“Having worked abroad for so many years I’m excited to be back in Australia and working with the extensive array of fantastic local produce we have here,” said Rod.

 George Beeby, Director of Sales, Crystalbrook Collection Cairns

George Beeby joins Crystalbrook Collection as the newly appointed Director of Sales across the three hotel developments in Cairns. George brings over a decade’s experience in sales and business development to the role. George previously held senior sales positions with both Starwood/Marriott International and Accor Hotels. 

Speaking on his appointment, George said: “I’m excited about Crystalbrook Collection’s vision and look forward to redefining Cairns as the go-to destination for luxury leisure.”

6. Meet Abercrombie & Kent’s new Cruise Manager New Zealand

Abercrombie & Kent has appointed Mark Kerr in the newly formed role of Cruise Manager New Zealand. With over 25 years of experience across tourism and hospitality including hotel management, conference and event management, cruise shore excursions and ground handling, Mark was most recently with ID New Zealand before undertaking a 3,100km walk of New Zealand.

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