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Highest Achieving 2015 prize-winning HOSPA Finance and Revenue Management learners named

Highest Achieving 2015 prize-winning HOSPA Finance and Revenue Management learners named

November 2015

The 2015 Hospitality Financial Management and Revenue Management Education and Training Programme (ETP) highest achieving prize winners were announced yesterday (24 November) by HOSPA – the UK’s leading educational organisation for hospitality professionals involved in Financial Management, Revenue Management and IT.

The winners are the learners who achieved the highest HOSPA ETP scores, based on their results in each of the HOSPA examination categories for the Financial Management and Revenue Management training programmes, completed in March 2015 and September 2015.

The HOSPA ETP 2015 Learner Award Winners are as follows:

The March 2015 HOSPA Financial Management Education and Training Programme prize winners were:

  • Stage 1 – Introduction to Financial Accounting: Sam Willetts, Transaction Management Assistant, Jurys Inn Birmingham
  • Stage 2 – Operational Management Accounting: Olivier Wentzke, Senior Finance Assistant, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London
  • Stage 3 – Strategic Management Accounting: Nina Fleischle, Assistant Director of Finance, Sheraton Zurich Hotel, Switzerland

The September 2015 HOSPA Financial Management Education and Training Programme prize winners were:

  • Stage 1 – Introduction to Financial Accounting: Alan Eaton, Financial controller, Eynsham Hall Hotel at Witney, Oxfordshire
  • Stage 2 – Operational Management Accounting: Sam Willetts, Transaction Management Assistant, Jurys Inn Birmingham
  • Stage 3 – Strategic Management Accounting: Eva Stranakova, Accounts Department, Hotel Imperial, Vienna, Austria

The March 2015 HOSPA Revenue Management Education and Training Programme prize winners were:

  • Stage 1: Introduction to Revenue Management: Stephanie Carvell, Group Revenue Support Manager, Bespoke Hotels
  • Stage 2: Operational Revenue Management: Marisa Palmero, Cluster Revenue Executive, Malmaison and Hotel du Vin

The September 2015 HOSPA Revenue Management Education and Training Programme prize winners were:

  • Stage1: Introduction to Revenue Management: Pankaj Khanna, Value Centre General Manager, Thistle London Heathrow Terminal 5
  • Stage 2: Operational Revenue Management: Zena Carter, Revenue Manager, Farncombe Estate Holdings Ltd.
  • Stage 3: Strategic Revenue Management: Rosalyn Qemalja, Conference and Events Sales Manager, Double Tree by Hilton Hotel, Nottingham-Gateway

Commenting on the winners, Debra Adams, Head of HOSPA Professional Development, said: “We have been delighted to welcome so many new learners to HOSPA’s Education and Training Programmes during 2015. The standard of achievement has been very high and we congratulate all our learners, who have successfully completed each stage of their studies during 2015. We are very proud of our prize winners who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to their careers, combining study with demanding full-time roles in the hotel and restaurant industry. Their fine achievements in the vitally important disciplines of Financial Management and Revenue Management will significantly enhance their careers and help their employers meet even more effectively today’s ever changing management challenges.”

Cash prizes and certificates will be presented to the winning HOSPA ETP learners at ‘The 2015 Annual HOSPA Awards Lunch’ on Thursday, 17 December 2015, where the ‘Overall HOSPA Learner of the Year Award Winners 2015’ – for the Association’s Education and Training Programmes (ETP) in Financial Management, and Revenue Management – will be named and presented with their prizes.

The two top awards are based on the highest combined course work and examination results, recorded in the 2015 HOSPA Education and Training Programmes (ETP) in Financial Management and Revenue Management.

The HOSPA Education and Training Programme (ETP) in Financial Management is the entry route to Associate membership of HOSPA for finance personnel in the industry. The programme provides professional development for hospitality accounting professionals wishing to gain additional skills and the knowledge required to manage hospitality finance divisions, or gain an understanding of the accounting function of a hospitality unit. The three-stage ‘blended learning’ programme, studied over three 6-month periods, provides the flexibility for accounts personnel to fit their learning around their busy working day.

In 2011, HOSPA introduced a hospitality focused ETP in Revenue Management. Written by leading educators in Revenue Management in the hospitality sector, in conjunction with leading industry experts, the course is designed to provide Revenue Managers of the future with the skills and knowledge required to manage their divisions, as well as to provide non-revenue personnel with a detailed knowledge of the function within a hospitality property.

Enrolment for the next intake in March 2016 – for both the Financial Management and Revenue Management programmes – is currently open. Both courses are studied in three separate Stages, each at a cost of £750 (ex VAT). For further information, visit:; or email:


 HOSPA Learner Winner Biographies

 Sam Willetts, Financial Management, Stage 1, March 2015; Financial Management, Stage 2, September 2015

Sam currently works as Transaction Management Assistant at Jurys Inns which involves the reporting on a number of financial operational activities across the group, and the analysis and improvement of the financial processes of the business. After completing GCSE’s and A-Levels and achieving a degree in International Banking & Finance at Liverpool John Moores University in 2008, Sam began his career in hospitality. He began working in a Frankie & Benny’s Restaurant for what he initially thought would be a short term position, but ended up working there for a number of years. During this time he worked his way up to a management position. However, after 4 years he felt it was time to move on and, although he enjoyed his time in the operational side of hospitality, he’d always wanted to get back to a more finance orientated position. He was offered the role of Transaction Management Assistant at Jurys Inn, and embarked on the HOSPA Financial Management programme shortly afterwards. Sam says that “The HOSPA Financial Management course has helped me to gain a greater understanding of finance at a property level, as being based in a Head Office there are some areas of property finance I don’t face on a day-to-day basis. Therefore, having this knowledge will be of great benefit as I look to progress within the company.” In the future Sam sees himself developing and progressing within the finance function of Jurys Inn and working towards further financial qualifications.


Olivier Wentzke, Financial Management Stage 2, March 2015

Since childhood Olivier has been interested in cooking as well as (after reaching the appropriate age) wines and spirits. Some summer holiday work experiences in hotels and restaurants provided him with his first insights into the hospitality industry and basic accounting procedures at the end of his shifts. And so his fate was sealed. Having decided to join the excitingly fast-paced hospitality industry, he earned a degree in Hospitality Management in Switzerland, combining education with work experiences in Germany, Switzerland and French Polynesia. Olivier says “The third and fourth year of my studies allowed me to get my teeth into accounting and finance, which I thoroughly enjoyed.” After completing his degree in 2011, Olivier joined Mandarin Oriental, London as Food & Beverage Management Trainee. He graduated from the hotel’s programme having worked throughout the various outlets of the hotel. After completing some projects in costing and cost-control, the Finance Director gave him the opportunity to work as Assistant Food & Beverage Controller, performing the duties of Accounts Payable for F&B and providing assistance to the F&B Controller in his projects. Eight months after, he earned promotion to the position of Senior Finance Assistant, supervising the Accounts Payable section. Following the completion of the third level of the HOSPA Financial Management award, I wish to deepen my experience in managerial and financial accounting within the hospitality industry, where I combine my passion for hospitality with the excitement of numbers and accounting (that not everyone shares!). Olivier commenced the HOSPA Finance programme in 2014 and completed in 2015, having been exempted from Stage 1 due to his experience and previous qualifications. Olivier says “The HOSPA course has helped me understand the need for accurate financial reporting and the importance of presenting financial information to operative decision-makers precisely and understandably. The instructive assignments were a good help to underline the course materials with some real-life examples and on-the-job application of financial management theory.” Shortly after completing the HOSPA course Olivier took the opportunity to return to Switzerland, working as Financial Controller for global pest control company, Anticimex. But Olivier says his studies haven’t gone to waste as the skills learnt are transferable. “I aim to deepen my knowledge in management theory in order to better be able to provide financial information as well as operational benchmarks. This should enable me to help the operations departments to improve on their customer service, performance management and hence profitability through continuous monitoring of an appropriate selection of KPIs.”


Nina Fleischle, Financial Management, Stage 3

Nina started her career in hospitality Finance after having studied Hotel & Tourism Management at the IMI University Centre in Switzerland. Her first position was as a Finance Futura Management Trainee with Starwood (at the Le Méridien Parkhotel in Frankfurt, Germany) which is a great programme to pave your way for a career in Finance. After that she worked as the Assistant Director of Finance for the Sheraton Complex in Zürich. Nina embarked on the HOSPA Financial Management programme as part of the Finance Futura training with Starwood. Nina has decided to leave hospitality for the time being and to further pursue her career in the field of Controlling rather than Accounting. She says “It’s a great challenge at the moment and I am learning so many new things every day.”

 Alan Eaton, Financial Management, Stage 1, September 2015

Alan works as Financial Controller at Eynsham Hall, an early 1900’s building set in 40 acres, just outside Oxford, with 120 bedrooms and 20 conference rooms located in four buildings. It also has a leisure club with 500 members. It’s an independent, self-accounting hotel, although is part of Cathedral Hotels, who have one other property in East Sussex. His foray into hospitality began when he went to school in Devon with a view to entering the Navy, possibly in the catering arm. However instead, after leaving early, he attended Gloucester Arts & Technology College in Cheltenham, studying the TEC OND & BTEC HND in Catering over 4 years. Whilst studying at college, he worked in a local pub and restaurant and ended up running the restaurant as he was too young to serve in the bar! He continued working in hospitality for the next 25 years, working in various management roles for several companies from the Isle of Wight to Gloucester, many of which were spent working within Lansbury Hotels (aka Whitbread Coaching Inns) which he joined in 1988. After 12 years of live-in roles, Alan took a position as Conference Manager in 2000 at a non- residential conference centre in Oxford.   Three years later, having tired of working evenings and weekends and missing a family life, he took a role in the back office as Assistant Financial Controller at Eynsham Hall which was then owned by Hanover International.   He moved from here to roles with Paramount Hotels (aka Barcelo) and then Hotel du Vin in Henley-on-Thames before returning for a second bite at Eynsham Hall, this time as the boss! Alan said he had been considering studying a finance qualification for a while but was concerned that with a long commute and two young daughters he would find it hard to find the time to commit to the study.   His colleagues studying CIMA reported that they studied each evening and most weekends, which didn’t appeal.   He settled on the HOSPA Financial Management Programme as, although he had a good background in the industry, his technical knowledge was weak and he was conscious that he needed to improve this as the role is changing, not just at Eynsham Hall but in industry in general. He therefore needed something he could benchmark himself against and, thinking about furthering his career, having a qualification behind him would be beneficial. Alan says “Now I’m at Eynsham Hall the commute is shorter but the hours are long. These days, my daughters are a little older and they’re better at amusing themselves – and they are good at providing drinks whilst I study!!”

 Eva Stranakova, Financial Management, Stage 3, September 2015

 Eva works as Assistant Financial Controller at the Hotel Imperial in Vienna, part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. She’s responsible with one other colleague for maintaining the General Ledgers of two hotels and one managing company. She cooperates closely with other colleagues from Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, General Cashier and Income Audit to ensure that everything is done correctly. Moreover, she helps the Assistant Director of Finance and the Director of Finance

with various reporting in Local as well as in US GAAP. Eva is from the Czech Republic and before embarking on her hospitality career she gained a degree in Tourism Management from the University of Economics in Prague. During her first summer holidays at University, she took a hospitality internship as a concierge in a beautiful Art Nouveau hotel in Prague. During her last term at University, she learned about the management trainee programme offered by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. Seeing it as a great opportunity, she decided to apply for the finance focused trainee programme called Finance Futura. She wanted to learn more about finance in hospitality and this programme exceeded her expectations. During the year-and-a-half-long training she had the opportunity to explore all positions in the Finance department in a hotel in Germany. Eva says “The knowledge I acquired helped me greatly when I entered the last Stage of the HOSPA programme and started learning the duties and responsibilities of an Assistant Financial Controller.” Eva studied the HOSPA Financial Management course as part of the Finance Futura training programme. Eva says: “As the courses progressed in parallel, I was able to compare the facts I learned with the reality. It helped me to understand the financial principles and to better understand my work and it built the base for going further in Finance.” On completion of Starwood’s Finance Futura programme, she received an offer to become General Ledger Chief Clerk for the Hotel Imperial and Hotel Bristol in Vienna and for one regional office. Here she’s learning more about the General Ledger and differences in reporting for a managed as well as an owned hotel.   Eva has recently earned a promotion to the role of Assistant Controller.

Stephanie Carvell, Revenue Management, Stage 1, March 2015

Steph works as Group Revenue Support Manager for Bespoke Hotels. A 2-week work placement experience at the age of 15 in a hotel restaurant and housekeeping, led to a part-time job as a General Assistant with the Bedford Lodge Hotel in Newmarket. There Steph worked in all departments before deciding to pursue a degree in Hospitality Management from the University of Plymouth in 2001. After university, Steph worked in F&B related management roles in high street and branded restaurants as well as with Centre Parcs. However, she missed the all-round environment of hotels and so took a position as Operations Manager in a hotel working her way up to General Manager. After several years she came to the conclusion that she preferred the rooms division and rate manipulation/management side as opposed to F&B management, as this was more

influential in the business and when the new role within Bespoke came up she immediately applied, knowing it was a role she could develop. Steph says that the course has helped her get a better understanding of what she was already doing and why, but has also allowed her to be understood and listened to. In addition it has helped her with running team training within the hotel group and being able to clearly pass on information she has learnt to reception, reservations and revenue teams to help with their development. As to the future, Steph says “I hope to continue to develop and learn and share that knowledge to develop others (and eventually be able to complete the next stage of the HOSPA qualification when time allows). I also hope to progress within my company and continue to grow my role, as revenue management becomes more and more important in the hotel industry and day to day management.”

 Marisa Palmero, Revenue Management, Stage 2, March 2015

Marisa is currently working and gaining experience as a Cluster Revenue Executive for seven hotels at Malmaison & Hotel Du Vin. She has just embarked on Revenue Management Stage 3. Eight years ago Marisa found herself working in hospitality. Her first role was as a Hotel Receptionist in the Italian seaside resort of Rimini, in Italy. Since then, she has constantly worked on her professional development, subscribing and enrolling herself on different courses, including Hotel Management and Marketing. This led her to the position of a Hotel Operations Manager, responsible for the start-up and launch of a small 40-room hotel. During one of the courses she attended in Italy, she was introduced to something that particularly caught her attention and curiosity – Revenue Management. Since then she started looking into the subject further and attended other short courses on the subject. However, realising that she needed more in-depth study for a career change into Revenue Management, Marisa decided to move to the UK, to learn from the best institutions and work for companies with experience in implementing Revenue Management. Rimini’s Hotels were mostly family businesses, and Revenue Management was a technique too advanced for that time and location. In fact, there were only a few companies in the whole of Italy which were actually offering professional Revenue Management implementation and consultancy. Whilst delving further into the subject, Marisa came across HOSPA and its Revenue Management course.   Marisa says “This course gave me the necessary understanding of Revenue Management and I strongly believe that it will be a valued stepping stone for my career.   I hope to have the opportunities to meet great mentors and to work for ambitious companies. Let us see what the future holds.”

Pankaj Khanna, Revenue Management, Stage 1, September 2015

Pankaj gained more than 10 years’ experience working at different roles in revenue departments, from Reservations Agent to Revenue Manager at city centre hotels and airport hotels. He was headhunted for his current role, as Value Centre General Manager at GLH Thistle London Heathrow terminal 5. He had been working with Holiday Inn Gatwick Airport hotel as Revenue Manager. Thistle was looking for someone with airport hotel experience plus someone who would want to get into and learn about the operations and project management role within a hotel. So the opportunity was tailor-made for someone like Pankaj, who ultimately wants to pursue a career as General Manager. Pankaj’s career in hospitality began with a Diploma in Hotel & Tourism Management from the Indian Institute of Hotel Management, India and was followed up with a Master’s from the International Business School in Tourism & Hospitality, the Institute Vatel in Nimes, France.

Having not studied revenue management before and mainly learning through experience and through working under different Revenue Managers, Pankaj started the HOSPA Revenue Management course in March 2015. He wanted to test his gained knowledge about the topic to what it actually is and learn something which he could implement in a role as a General Manager. Pankaj says “Now in Stage 2 I’ve learnt that the best KPI to view your performance is not RevPar it’s GOPPAR! Similarly, on how to get the scientific outlook to the issues rather than going on a gut feeling, which is how I have been working lately.” Pankaj aspires to become a General Manager of a full feature hotel and apply his newly learnt revenue tactics to drive revenue performance of hotels in the future. He says “As I learnt, managing doesn’t mean increasing revenue, but actually controlling the costs at the same time to increase flow-through rates from incremental revenue and drive GOPPAR.”


Zena Carter, Revenue Management, Stage 2, September 2015

Zena works as Revenue Manager for the Farncombe Estate, managing the central reservations team for the Estate, which includes the Fish Hotel, Dormy House Hotel and Foxhill Manor. Zena officially started her career in the hospitality industry straight from the University of Bath where she studied for an HND in Travel & Tourism Management.   Her first role was as a Conference & Events Co-ordinator for Hilton Hotels, although prior to that she had worked part-time as a member of the Food & Beverage team for Thistle Hotels. Most of her career has been spent within events, whether for a hotel, overseas or for an events agency. Zena says she always thinks ahead when taking on a new role to help her decide the right route and when she reached the level of Meeting & Events Manager she felt she needed to make a decision as to whether to move towards Sales Management or Revenue Management. Both roles were an option, especially as she is a target-driven person, but, as she says, “Revenue Management appealed a lot more to me as I am quite analytical. I had a taste of Revenue Management in a previous employment and knew that was definitely the route for me.” An opportunity arose on the Farncombe Estate and with the exciting plans the company was going through and the diversity of the products, it was an amazing opportunity to get her teeth stuck into. Zena started the HOSPA Revenue Management course in March 2015 and is now on the final Stage 3, Strategic Revenue Management, having been exempted from Stage 1 due to her broad experience and prior learning. She says “I am pulling ideas from the course that are helping input knowledge into my team as there are some great examples of why we need to do things a certain way and by seeing it in practice it helps with the understanding. Though my background is predominantly events and reservations, I am looking to use the added knowledge to look at the different areas on the estate and within each business to see how my skills can help develop each area.” As to the future, Zena says that as the business develops and expands she would like to develop her role further and move into the position of Director of Revenue Management for the business and also help develop her team’s knowledge further so they can be in a better position to make their choices for their next move.

Rosalyn Qemalja, Revenue Management, Stage 3, September 2015

Rosaylin works as Conference & Event Sales and Revenue Manager at the DoubleTree by Hilton Nottingham – Gateway. After completing her GCSE’s Ros got a weekend job working in a small hotel in her hometown of Lincoln as a general assistant.   She continued to work at the hotel whilst studying for A-Levels. Ros says her aspiration to work in hospitality came when the series of ‘The Hotel’, featuring Eileen Downey and the Adelphi in Liverpool, was aired on BBC One whilst she was studying. “This showed the passion, determination, commitment and sheer hard work required in the hospitality industry… I got hooked and decided that this was the career path I wanted to follow.”

Ros graduated from Nottingham Trent University with a 2:1 BA (Hons) Hospitality Management and took a position as Trainee Manager at a hotel in Lincoln.   She was quickly promoted to Reception Manager and worked in this position for a number of months.   However, her passion during her studies had been in the area of conferences and events, so once in the role of Conference & Events Sales Manager at the Nottingham Gateway Hotel , she knew this would be the perfect role for her.

After working in this role for 10 years, and with a £5.5 million conversion underway to convert the hotel to the DoubleTree by Hilton Nottingham-Gateway, her General Manager, Mandy Goldsmith, introduced her to revenue management. Ros became involved with managing the GDS sites, along with focusing on the daily STAR reports, and working with TravelClick to position the hotel during the refurbishment.   In the months prior to opening, she worked closely with the Hilton’s Regional Director of Revenue Management in positioning the hotel’s rates ready for opening. She says “I thoroughly enjoyed this challenge, and as a result of this sought a revenue management course that would give me the opportunity to get a better understanding of the discipline. I felt that the HOSPA Revenue Management Education Programme would be the perfect way to study whilst working full time. I have been able to apply my learning to my current role, and look forward to the opportunity of applying revenue management practices to the conference and events side of the business, measuring RevPAR, and Function Room Occupancy, to allow for improved forecasting and to measure profitability.” Ros is very modest about the fact that she has recently returned from maternity leave, having undertaken the final Stage of her study with a newborn baby and young child in tow. Ros says she’s looking forward to applying the knowledge she has learned on the course into her current role now that the hotel has fully converted to a DoubleTree by Hilton property.   She looks forward to continuing working with Hilton and enjoying the support of the revenue experts within the company to help her progress further.   She says “If I aim high, and work hard, who knows what the future may bring!” Her manager, Mandy Goldsmith, is very proud of her achievements saying “We are delighted at the good news and very proud of Rosalyn and her achievements.  She is a great asset to our company and very much valued.  During this course Ros was pregnant and gave birth to a baby boy just before the exams and, on top of all that, she worked up to a few weeks prior to the birth to support our hotel in re-branding as a Hilton Doubletree. Her role in the branding process was substantial.  Having worked with her for many years I know she is amazing! She is currently on maternity leave and due to return to work in November. We have all missed her so much and can’t wait to have her back.”


HOSPA (Hospitality Professionals Association for Finance, Revenue Management and IT) is a non-profit educational organisation, formed to bring together those hospitality industry professionals involved in Financial Management, Revenue Management and IT. Not only is HOSPA recognised as the UK’s authoritative voice in the hospitality industry on financial management, technical accounting issues, taxation, and hotel valuation, but also as the leading arena for debate on hotel technology developments and issues, and Revenue Management topics, through their prestigious annual HOSPACE Conference and meetings programmes ( . The membership has expanded to nearly 1,100 members. HOSPA – which has provided an industry specific, hospitality focused programme in Financial Management for over 23 years – has recently introduced a similar programme for Revenue Management. HOSPA is on all major Social media channels especially Twitter on @HOSPATweets

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