It’s funny how things happen.
Leon Wood got into hospitality in his home town of Taupo, New Zealand, so he’d have the money and time to train as a commercial pilot.
The idea was he’d work split shifts and fly in the middle of the day on his downtime.
“But I ended up working too much, doing breakfast, lunch, dinner, events and put pilot training on hold and never went back. I still have that fascination for flying but one thing led to another and…”
Still, he’s flying high and, after stints running nightclubs, restaurants and hotels in New Zealand and the UK, he’s now the General Manager of two Best Western properties in Launceston and Hobart.
Leon also has operational responsibility for the Best Western Plus Lake Kawana Resort on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, which he visits every couple of months.
His job certainly doesn’t lack variety and all these years later Leon still enjoys the challenge the hospitality industry presents and doesn’t regret his career choice for a minute.
“I love success like anybody I suppose and I really get a lot of satisfaction seeing customers coming into our hotels and enjoying their stay.”
Another bonus is that Leon’s based in beautiful Launceston with his wife and kids.
“There’s so much to do down here, it’s fantastic,” he says. “We’re just an hour from the coast and the Tamar Valley wineries are really close.”
Leon says the local tourism industry is “firing” as more Australian and international tourists visit the Apple Isle, which has an increasingly cool reputation due to its natural beauty, fantastic wine and food plus the must-see Museum of Old and New Art in Hobart.
But book early – that’s the message because the place has never been more popular. “Even in May we were at 91% occupancy. It’s only getting busier and busier.”