Campbell Lee, Quest Cannon Hill

In a hospitality career that has spanned more than two decades, Campbell Lee has experienced just about all sides of a hotel business.  

From the restaurant and bar at The Henry Jones Art Hotel in Tasmania, to over six hotel General Manager positions, and most recently to Ingenia Holidays, where he managed a portfolio of holiday parks across Victoria and New South Wales. 

A desire to develop his training and coaching skills saw Lee take up a position with Quest as a Franchise Relationship Manager, and it was here he got a flavour for hotel ownership.  

“I went from learning all aspects of business, not just living and dying by my monthly P&L report,” he said.  

“From financing to business planning, settlement transitions, and then guiding franchisees through success, challenges, Covid-rent negotiations, sale of businesses – it really was an incredible learning experience.” 

Now, Lee is one month into the biggest but most rewarding challenge of his career, having taken up the mantle of Quest Business Owner at Quest Cannon Hill – a 100-key hotel near Brisbane Airport – on May 16.

Value in experience 

Lee had always held aspirations to work for himself, but assumed buying a hotel was out of reach from a financial standpoint.   

“Business owners often come from generational wealth, but working at Quest I realised that I didn’t have to be a millionaire – and that it wasn’t as complicated as I thought it would be,” he said.    

“I didn’t have the money to buy a hotel, but my business partners saw the value in my skills and experience.” 

Having witnessed the highs and lows of various franchisees, Lee was confident that business ownership was the right path for him and knowing the support available within the Quest franchise model helped ease any “first-time business owner jitters”.   

“Knowing the level of support provided by Quest as a franchisor certainly factored into the overall decision-making process and it’s been really great seeing the level of support  from the other side,” he said.  

“I’ve loved getting back into a hotel operation – it’s so refreshing only having to focus on one thing – albeit a very complicated thing – and make it all mine.”             

Job satisfaction 

Living onsite, Lee is finding joy in the little things, like taking his dog for an early-morning walk around the block, and spending time with people.  

“I’m having the time of my life,” he said.  

“Interactions with guests and team members is something I really enjoy, and if you ask anyone who knows me, I love an audience and having a bit of fun.  

“Instilling a ‘why not’ attitude in teams is also one of my favourite side hustles, watching a team member take an idea and run with it is such a rewarding experience.”  

The biggest challenge? 

“Readjusting to being an onsite manager and on call after hours,” Lee said. 

“But knowing that you’re banking dividends from the extra effort every month helps with this!” 

Future goals 

With just one month under his belt as a Quest Business Owner, Lee is looking to the future with ambition and enthusiasm.

“We’ve got a busy five years ahead of us with some exciting and achievable goals for the business – especially preparing for the Olympic Games in 2032,” he said.   

“Brisbane is thriving at the moment, it’s a really exciting time to be moving here, and I really want to make Quest Cannon Hill an integral part of this local community and business network to capitalise on upcoming infrastructure projects and ongoing developments across the Australian Trade Coast precinct.”