Sonia Smith, Cahernane House, Killarney wins 2022 IHF Award
Sonia Smith, receptionist at Cahernane House, Killarney, has been named the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) National Employee of the Year. Now in its sixth year, the award celebrates and recognises the hotel team member who has made an outstanding contribution to their workplace. Denyse Campbell, President of the IHF presented Ms Smith with her award at the IHF’s Annual Conference in Killarney.
Congratulating Ms Smith and the other 11 nominees shortlisted for the award, Ms Campbell paid tribute to the high calibre of people working within the sector.
“This award truly showcases the immense talent and dedication shown by hotel and guesthouse teams right throughout the country. I am delighted to congratulate Sonia on being awarded the IHF Employee of the Year. Her outstanding dedication, hard work, and commitment to providing exceptional service to guests are truly commendable. We are grateful to have such wonderful teams of hotel employees right around the country who consistently go above and beyond to make our guests’ experiences unforgettable. It is their passion and dedication that make our hotels truly special places.”
At the heart of every successful hotel and guesthouse is its people, and supporting and developing them is key to long term success. We at the IHF continue to encourage people of all ages to consider a career in the hotel sector. There are an enormous variety of career paths and training opportunities that are constantly evolving in our sector. This is something I have experienced first-hand since I began my career in hospitality with a summer job working in a hotel, through to today as a General Manager.
“Now is an ideal time to consider a career in tourism given the wide range of exciting options available for people at every stage of their working lives and this award provides us with an opportunity to show our appreciation for the valuable contribution that hotel team members make each day in providing a world class hospitality product,” she added.
Sonia started in 2018 in the accommodation department of Cahernane House after completing her Leaving Certificate. She quickly showed immense aptitude and ability and soon moved to reception in 2019 where she was promoted to Reception Supervisor in 2022. She is described by colleagues as an amazing leader and team player and is renowned for going above and beyond to create amazing memories for Cahernane House guests.
Members of the Irish Hotels Federation could nominate a candidate who consistently shows outstanding hospitality from their hotel/guesthouse to go forward for their regional branch award.
The other shortlisted nominees for the award were:
- Midlands Kayleigh Keenan, Ballyfin Demesne
- Shannon Jennifer McMurchie, Trump International Golf Links & Hotel
- Kerry Sonia Smith, Cahernane House
- Dublin Oana Cristian, Roganstown Hotel & Country Club
- Cork Cliona Wrenne, Carrigaline Court Hotel
- Sligo/Leitrim/N. Roscommon Josephine Flynn, Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa Sligo
- South East Dannielle McGrath, Talbot Hotel Carlow
- Mourne/Boyne/Lakes Alana Murphy, Four Seasons Hotel, Spa & Leisure Club
- Donegal Annemarie Woods, Arnolds Hotel
- Wicklow Maciej Smyk, Woodenbridge Hotel
- Mayo Noreen Monaghan, Knock House Hotel
- Galway Marie McGrath, Skeffington Arms Hotel
The national award was adjudicated by an independent panel of judges, chaired by Dr Donagh Davern of Munster Technological University.
This year also saw the Rising Star Award presented to Alana Murphy from the Four Seasons Hotel, Carlingford, County Louth. Alana was commended for her positivity and business mindset, and praised for her work spearheading the opening of a new coffee shop which will showcase local produce, create as little food waste as possible, and be conscious of its carbon footprint.