Toga Hospitality CEO Rachel Argaman

The Accommodation Association of Australia (AAA) has announced the election of three new directors to its national board – Rachel Argaman from Toga Hospitality, Mark Hodge from Mantra and Dino Mezzatesta from Accor.

All three were elected at last week’s AGM and in addition to the new directors, several directors were also re-elected: Garry Crockett was re-elected as President, Carole Smith as Vice President and Bruce Copland as Treasurer. Ian Sandilands, Pam Hardgrave and Jerry Bour were also re-elected as board members.

Accommodation Association President, Garry Crockett, welcomed the new directors and looks forward to working with an extended board in achieving the aims of the newly rebranded Association.

“We need to be united and focused. We need to be strategic, single minded and transparent. As the voice of the accommodation industry, we need to be seen, to be heard and to be counted,” Crockett said.

The election of three new board members marks the Association’s recent transition during which member properties from chain groups Accor, Mirvac, Toga Hospitality, Mantra and IHG joined the organisation.

Rachel Argaman is the CEO of Toga Hospitality, one of the largest accommodation providers in Australia and currently operating 51 apartment hotels in Australia, New Zealand and Europe. Rachel joined Toga Hospitality in 1998 as Group Sales Manager and became the Chief Executive Officer in 2007. Rachel was named the Telstra National Corporate Businesswoman of the Year in 2008 and HM Magazine’s Hotelier of the Year in 2010. Rachel participated in the Australian version of Undercover Boss in October 2010, allowing her to see her company through a “different lens” as she worked on the front line of the business. Rachel holds an MBA in Service Industry Management and is passionate about the travel industry.

Mark Hodge is Group Director of Operations at the Mantra Group. Mark joined the Executive of the Mantra Group team in September 2006. Mantra Group is one of Australia and New Zealand’s largest accommodation providers with a network of over 130 hotels, resorts and retreats operating under the successful brands of Peppers, Mantra and BreakFree. Accommodation ranges from self-contained apartments to luxurious resorts and retreats. Mark has been involved with many facets of the tourism and hospitality industry for the past 26 years. He has worked through all layers of management up to Group General Manager and Chief Executive Officer at both corporate and resort style hotels. Mark is a former regional chairman for Tropical North Queensland and a former national board member of the Association’s predecessor – HMAA.

Dino Mezzatesta

Dino Mezzatesta has over 20 years experience in the hospitality and tourism industry, both in the international and Australian market, and is currently General Manager for Accor’s Franchise Hotels in Australia and New Zealand. Dino was appointed to the role at the beginning of 2008, and has already grown the franchise network to over 50 hotels. Dino’s board nomination by Accor was to ensure representation of the regions and a cross section of brands from economy to deluxe. Accor’s franchising division covers a wide spectrum of hotels in a vast range of locations around Australia. Dino holds an Advanced Diploma in Travel and Tourism Operations.

The new directors join the Association’s current board members, which includes: Wayne Kayler-Thomson, Wayne Mawbey, John Atkin, Julian Clark, Andrew Turner and Nick Suriano.

Barbara Derham was also elected for her expertise in the hospitality industry and is based in South Australia.