Graduate Iain Gunn (left) is Managing Director of independent hotel management company Gunn and Parkinson.
With his recent Board appointments he intends, ‘being a voice for hoteliers in the three-to-four star segment of the market in regional Australia’.
He has been appointed to the Board of Visit Ballarat, the peak regional tourism marketing and development organisation for Ballarat, Victoria; and to the new Victorian State Advisory Board of the Accommodation Association of Australia.
The appointments are among highlights of a 20-year, post-ICHM career— in more recent times in Ballarat, where he has positioned himself as a well-regarded operator. He has six businesses, which he either owns or has a stake in, including the Mercure Ballarat.
Iain was originally from Tasmania and after leaving school he worked in a sporting club pulling beer, before going into business with his brother as owners of a small and then bigger pub.
They were good operators and worked hard, but the 1992 recession hit hard and the pair lost everything.
This experience gave Iain the determination to pursue an education and he enrolled at ICHM in the first intake in 1993—as a married 31 year-old mature-age student with three children under the age of four.
His first industry placement was at Hyatt, where he went on to work before moving to a small property in the Adelaide Hills. He moved to Ballarat as regional manager of a chain of motels, and then to Flag Inns, which Choice Hotels Australasia (CHA) acquired in 2002.
Iain provided business advice, support and mentoring to 270 CHA franchisees across Australia and New Zealand, and in 2010 he made the call to go out on his own, taking opportunities as they presented themselves.
Iain says he and his family are very happy in regional Australia, and one of his sons now works for him in the business.
‘ICHM will unlock the door with study and practical experience, but what you do with it is up to you. I’m an example of hard work and persistence paying off.’
Photo: Iain Gunn (left) and other AAA Victorian State Advisory Board members