WINNING SMILE: Quest Mildura franchisee Shirley Dodds with House-Keeping Supervisor Anne-Maree Bolt.

By JOHN DOOLEY

QUEST Apartment Hotels recently celebrated its 30th anniversary, and the performance of its franchisees, at its annual Gala Dinner at the National Gallery of Victoria.

Among the award-winners was Quest Mildura’s House-keeping Supervisor, Anne-Maree Bolt, who received the ‘Back-of-House’ Employee of the Year Award. 

The award came as a big surprise to Anne-Maree, who said that while she knew she was nominated, she didn’t think she would be in the winner’s circle.

“I couldn’t believe it. It was an amazing feeling to have been chosen – it was very exciting,” she said.

Anne-Maree attended the award dinner with her employer, Quest Mildura Franchisee Shirley Dodds, who was full of praise for her star employee. 

“It was wonderful to see her recognised with this award, she plays such a vital part for us and she is just fantastic,” Shirley said. “I did have an inkling in advance that Anne-Maree was going to win the award, but I kept it a close secret!”

Shirley and her husband Paul took over the management of Quest Mildura 12 months ago, with Shirley saying she couldn’t fault Anne-Maree. 

“Believe me I try, we maintain extremely high standards here, but she is completely dedicated to excellence,” she said. “She can be running at a hundred miles an hour, but she always remains calm on the surface, she calms me down – keeps me under control, and to have someone like Anne-Maree is just invaluable.”

Shirley is the former franchisee of Quest Geelong, and originally worked for the organisation as National Account Executive at their corporate office.

She made the transition to be a franchisee more than five years ago. She and Paul were awarded franchisee of the year while managing the Geelong business.

“We were looking for an opportunity out of Geelong and wanted to stay with Quest and Mildura popped up, and so we made the decision to relocate the family to Mildura and we are very happy that we did,” she said.

Quest Mildura offers luxury accommodation for both the corporate traveller and individuals or families holidaying in Mildura. The self-contained apartments enjoy an almost 90 percent occupancy throughout the year.

Formerly from the Melbourne suburb of Rye, Anne- Maree joined Quest Mildura eight years ago, where she performs an all-round role, with her main responsibilities being the supervision of the 11 house-keeping staff.

“In my role as House-Keeping Supervisor, I manage the rooms and watch over the house-keeping staff to ensure they maintain Quest’s high standards, and I help out in reception when required and also assist in the organising and running of conferences when Shirley needs me,” Anne-Maree said.

Quest Mildura’s other star recruit is Paris Sears, who is enrolled in the company’s ‘Accelerator Program’, which trains a select number of people to become future franchisees.

“Paris is our front-office manager, she worked for us in reception when we had Quest in Geelong, and when we relocated there wasn’t an immediate position for her in Mildura, but that changed, and she came up to work with us earlier this year,” Shirley said. 

“Our hope is that we will soon join with Paris in operating another Quest property, now that she has undertaken the franchisee induction course.”