Latest Awards/Recognition News & Views...
JW Marriott Grand Rapids Earns Best Overall Guest Satisfaction in North America
JW Marriott Grand Rapids has been named #1 in overall guest satisfaction among JW Marriott properties in North America. This is the third time the downtown hotel has received this honor since opening in 2007 and the first time since Marriott International enabled guestVoice, a new global guest feedback system.
“Much of the success should be credited to the associates who have worked tirelessly to ensure that JW Marriott Grand Rapids delivers the exceptional service the JW Marriott brand is known for– something we have consistently done since we opened in 2007,” says George Aquino, vice president and managing director of AHC + Hospitality. “Credit also goes to all the JW Marriott brand initiatives that have helped us to stay sharp and focused on the goal every year.”
Following the implementation of the new guest feedback standards, hotel executives challenged the property to earn the number one spot. To make this goal a reality, new protocols were implemented such as reoccurring meetings to discuss rankings, scores and opportunities for improvement. This lead to consistent quality experiences for hotel guests’ overall satisfaction.
Brittany Fletcher, assistant housekeeping manager was at the helm of the day-to-day improvements and helped provide direction to staff members with meetings, email updates and internal exercises.
“With guestVoice ratings at our fingertips, every employee is empowered to create a great experience,” says Fletcher. “Every day the JW Marriott Grand Rapids team celebrates our guests and take great pride in making their hotel experience memorable,” said Fletcher.
guestVoice integrates a shorter, simpler guest satisfaction survey with social media monitoring. By combining both survey and social media feedback, guestVoice delivers enhanced guest feedback and insights, enabling JW Marriott to take action on issues and concerns and facilitate a more timely response. The tool also provides powerful and flexible capability for the company to better understand trends and causes of both guest issues and positive experiences.
"The JW Marriott brand's passion for and dedication to personalized service is exemplified through our associates at JW Marriott Grand Rapids. We are thrilled that our guests have recognized our commitment to making the hotel experience a memorable one, as we pride ourselves on our high service standards and approach to guest satisfaction," said Mitzi Gaskins, vice president and global brand manager of JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts. "This accolade shows us that implementing tools like guestVoice makes a difference, and we will continue to look for new and innovative ways to support our associates in their day-to-day interactions with guests from a brand level."
The JW Marriott Grand Rapids received the same recognition in 2008 and 2009.
The Langham, Chicago Recognized as Top Hotel in the U.S. by the 2015 TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Awards
The Langham, Chicago (330 N. Wabash) today announced it has been recognized by the 2015 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice™ awards as the overall winner in the category of “Top Hotels in the U.S.” For the past 13 years, TripAdvisor has highlighted the world’s top properties based on the millions of reviews and opinions collected in a single year from travelers across the globe. Winners were identified in the categories of Top Hotels, Bargain, B&B’s and Inns, Family, Luxury, Romance, Service, and Small Hotels. The hallmarks of Travelers’ Choice winners are remarkable service, quality and value.
“When I heard the news, I was thrilled to receive such an incredible award and applauded all of my colleagues at The Langham, Chicago. They have truly embraced our dedication to creating the very best hospitality culture for all of our guests through pride, passion and performance,” Managing Director Robert Schofield says. “We extend a huge thank you to all our guests for this support, as well as to TripAdvisor for the opportunity to spread The Langham word since our opening in August 2013.”
“TripAdvisor’s community of millions of travelers has helped us highlight some of very best hotels from around the world,” Chief Marketing Officer for TripAdvisor Barbara Messing says. “The Travelers’ Choice list of thousands of award-winning properties is perfect to inspire travelers as they think about their 2015 travel plans. From opulent luxury hotels to budget-friendly B&Bs, those looking for an accommodation can research, compare prices and book a Travelers’ Choice property on TripAdvisor, or any other hotel that meets their travel needs.”
To see TripAdvisor traveler reviews and opinions of The Langham, Chicago, visit www.TripAdvisor.com. To view all of the 2015 Travelers’ Choice winners, visit www.tripadvisor.com/TravelersChoice. Travelers can also follow the conversation on Twitter at #travelerschoice.
Local businesses honored for helping with tourism
By Cory Davenport, The Telegraph
Several local businesses were honored last week at the 11th Annual Alton Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau Tourism Summit.
“We started the summit as a report to the community on our tourism successes,” Alton Regional CVB President Brett Stawar said. “We started recognizing people a few years ago and highlighting certain categories regarding Alton tourism.”
Read the full story for the complete list of winners.
Treasure Island Resort & Casino Named Property of the Year
by Mike Klein
The Minnesota Lodging Association has named Treasure Island Resort & Casino as its property of the year.
Starting as a small bingo hall on Prairie Island owned by the Prairie Island Indian Community, Treasure Island added more gaming space, a restaurant and Tradewinds Buffet over the years. In 1996, it added a 250-room luxury hotel, a 197-slip marina, RV park and a new cruise ship.
In the fall of 2008, Treasure Island added a new Island Event and Convention Center, which seats nearly 3,000 people, as well as a 24-lane Brunswick bowling center and arcade. A second hotel tower with 230 nonsmoking rooms was also completed.
The Property of the Year awards recognize the "impact on the lodging industry each has made, be it as a new property, by making a significant turnaround as an existing property, or by being a model of stability."
Treasure Island's Director of Hospitality Mark Dunn accepted the award for the property.
Read the full article at PostBulletin.com.
Fort Wayne’s Grand Wayne Convention Center earns coveted Supplier STAR Service and Individual Supplier of the Year Awards
Grand Wayne Convention Center — a premier Midwest meeting and convention facility located in downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana — received two Awards of Excellence at the Indiana Society of Association Executives (ISAE) 13th Annual STAR Awards presented on December 11, 2014, at the Scottish Rite Cathedral in Indianapolis, Indiana. ISAE recognized Grand Wayne Convention Center with the Individual Supplier of the Year award and the Supplier STAR Service award, two of ISAE’s top acknowledgements at the annual ceremony.
“This is a tremendous honor for us,” commented Marcy McKinley, director of sales and marketing for Grand Wayne Convention Center. “To be recognized as an award-winning facility with award-winning service is both rewarding and humbling. It’s a good feeling to be recognized for our staff’s efforts at every level.”
ISAE’s STAR Awards is the state’s only awards event celebrating the association industry and the individuals and organizations that make the industry a success in Indiana. In addition to recognizing the notable achievements of member associations and suppliers, the event serves as a charity benefit. Proceeds from the 2014 awards program benefitted Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana, a 100-plus years child advocacy program.
Benchmark Hospitality International Honored with Dual Gold Adrian Awards from Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International
Benchmark Hospitality International is the recipient of a pair of global Gold Adrian Awards for excellence in Public Relations programming. Benchmark was informed of the awards by the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI), which hosts the annual international competition.
“It is once again a true honor for Benchmark Hospitality to win international Gold Adrians,” said Ted Davis, chief sales & marketing officer. “We salute our sales & marketing team and our marketing partners in achieving these prestigious awards!”
HSMAI’s Adrian Awards annually recognize excellence in hotel, travel & tourism marketing, web design, and public relations programming internationally. The competition attracts more than 1000 entries globally. The Adrian Awards, at times referred to as the Oscars of the hospitality industry, are the most prestigious of their kind within the multi-billion dollar international hospitality industry. Gold Adrian Award winners become finalists for HSMAI’s Platinum Adrian Awards, and the coveted “Best of Show” award announced at the New York Adrian Awards gala in February of 2015.
Benchmark Hospitality International’s 2014 Adrian Awards
Gold Adrian Award
Feature Placement-Print, Cover Story, “Benchmark Hospitality’s Leadership Succession, Burt Cabañas to Alex Cabañas”
Benchmark Hospitality International
Public Relations Partner, Ken Ellens Communications
Gold Adrian Award
Marketing Program, “Benchmark’s Top Ten Meetings Trends for 2014”
Benchmark Hospitality International
Public Relations Partner, Ken Ellens Communications
The Pfister® Hotel and InterContinental Milwaukee Receive Adrian Awards in Global Competition
Marcus® Hotels & Resorts, a division of The Marcus Corporation (NYSE: MCS), today announced two of its owned Milwaukee, Wis. properties, The Pfister Hotel and InterContinental Milwaukee, have received a total of four Adrian Awards in the industry’s largest and most prestigious travel marketing competition. Presented by The Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI), this year’s Adrian Award contest garnered more than 1,200 entries from around the world, with entries judged by top executives throughout the industry.
HSMAI will pay tribute to these winning entries during the annual HSMAI Adrian Awards Gala, a black-tie affair attended by more than 1,000 hospitality, travel and tourism marketing executives at the New York Marriott Marquis on February 23, 2015.
“We are honored to receive four Adrian Awards in this year’s competition,” said Christine Beuchert, senior director of marketing and e-commerce strategy for Marcus Hotels & Resorts. “Our goal is to create websites and marketing campaigns that provide a rich customer experience, through meaningful community initiatives, well-developed and interesting content and highly impactful visuals. Ensuring that the online experience fully expresses the brand and engages our customers at an emotional level will always be a priority for us. We are thrilled to be recognized for delivering on this goal.”
“We are continually amazed by the creativity of the Adrian Award submissions,” said Fran Brasseux, HSMAI executive vice president. “We saw imaginative campaigns that got results in all categories, and we’re excited about honoring this year’s Adrian Award winners in February.”
Read about the awards received in the full release at marcushotels.com.
Visit www.AdrianAwards.com for more information on the event and competition.
Awards Roll in for PCMA Chapter in The School of Hospitality Business at MSU
The awards just keep coming for the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) chapter in The School of Hospitality Business at MSU.
For the second year in a row, the chapter was named one of two Student Chapters of the Year by the national PCMA, and more than 20 of its executive board and members plan to attend the Convening Leaders Annual Convention in January in Chicago.
Two student leaders in the chapter have also earned accolades. Chapter President Lisa Malinowski (BA ‘15) earned one of five nationwide Convening Leaders Student Scholarships, and Director of Membership Carlie Smith (BA ’15) was awarded one of only two prestigious PCMA Chairman’s Convening Leaders Scholarships. Both scholarships include complimentary registration for Convening Leaders, as well as four nights’ accommodation and round-trip airfare. Carlie also received $2,500.
In addition to her leadership in PCMA, Carlie is the convention services intern at the Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau in Lansing, MI. Lisa, who interned with Morley Companies as part of its travel staff and as assistant event coordinator at The Captain’s Club in Grand Blanc, MI, will begin her career at The Waldorf Astoria in its Management Development Program after graduation.
Both chapter officers felt honored when they were notified of the Chapter of the Year award. “I am proud of our chapter and the things we accomplish for our members,” says Lisa. “Winning this award again reflects well on our club, and on The School and MSU.”
Carlie agreed, saying, “I’m very grateful for the leadership opportunities I’ve had with PCMA, and to win the Chairman’s Convening Scholarship is truly an honor.”
The PCMA student chapter is known as one of the most active and energetic of the seven other hospitality industry-related clubs in The School. Club Advisor Dr. Jeff Beck says, “Lisa and Carlie and the other board members are continuing a long tradition of excellence in PCMA.”
The group hosts guest speakers and networking events throughout the year, as well as site tours at popular convention centers and resorts. In addition, the club has worked with community groups, setting up and running the hospitality suite for the annual East Lansing Film Festival, for example.
Recently, on December 3 and 5, PCMA student chapter members joined with other volunteers to help host a number of events at the Governor’s Residence in Lansing. According to Carlie, who was one of those volunteers, “Guests included friends and family, along with Governor Snyder’s team and members of his administration.”
And, of course, the club will send members to the annual Convening Leaders Convention, which offers the students plenty of educational sessions, the latest trends in event planning and convention management, and opportunities to connect with leaders in that segment of the hospitality industry.
“Essentially, the students who are active in PCMA get exposure to the industry in many ways that complement their classroom learning,” says Dr. Beck. “The School is also helpful in connecting them with meaningful internships. All of this combined creates well-prepared, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic future leaders.”
Congratulations to Lisa and Carlie, and to the award-winning PCMA Student Chapter of the Year.
Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board Event Coordinator served with Meet Minneapolis Hospitality Hero award
Kosmoski has been with the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board for the past two and a half years. She represents more than 22 parks for ceremonies each summer coordinating over 200 weddings. Due to Kosmoski’s commitment, guests are able to gain a better understanding of Minneapolis and its parks, enhancing the guest experience and their desire to return to the city.
The Meet Minneapolis Hospitality Hero award is given quarterly to members of the Minneapolis hospitality community who have been nominated by their peers.
AmpliVox Receives 2014 Hero Award from Special Olympics Illinois
AmpliVox Sound Systems has been honored by Special Olympics Illinois (SOILL) with the 2014 Maggianos Hero Award, in recognition of AmpliVoxs donation of portable PA systems to all of SOILLs area and statewide offices. Don Roth, Amplivoxs CEO, participated in the annual awards dinner at Maggianos Little Italy restaurant in Schaumburg, Illinois, on November 20.
AmpliVox was one of 10 honorees at the SOILL Hero Awards, which are given to individuals, groups or businesses that have shown exemplary commitment to SOILL and have made efforts to strengthen communities and improve the quality of life for Special Olympics athletes. Over 100 attendees gathered for the awards presentation, which was hosted by emcee Chris Boden of Comcast SportsNet. Annie Carroll, SOILL Vice President of Area Management, thanked AmpliVox for its generous donations, noting that the portable PA systems enhance both the safety of the Special Olympics events and the positive affirmation of award ceremonies for the athletes.
Read the full release here.
The Pfister® Hotel's 120th Anniversary Marketing Campaign Wins Prestigious Adrian Award
The Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) will recognize The Pfister Hotel’s 120th Anniversary Marketing Campaign with a silver Adrian Award for its winning entry in the 58th annual Adrian Awards, the largest and most prestigious travel marketing competition globally. The Pfister Hotel’s 120th anniversary coffee table book, “The History, Art & Imagery of The Pfister Hotel,” also received a Platinum MarCom Award in the Marketing Promotion category in this annual international communications award program. The Pfister Hotel is owned and managed by Marcus Hotels & Resorts, a division of The Marcus Corporation (NYSE: MCS).
The year’s Adrian Award contest garnered more than 1,200 entries from around the world, with entries judged by top executives throughout the industry. The Pfister Hotel’s 120th Anniversary Marketing Campaign included Emmy-nominated documentary “The Pfister: History & Story” and international award-winning 283-page book, “The History, Art & Imagery of The Pfister Hotel.”
Chris Anderson, senior vice president, sales, marketing and brand development of Marcus Hotels & Resorts, had the challenge of putting together a relevant campaign that would tell the story of a 120-year-old hotel in a modern day format. “As the 120th anniversary approached, we realized that there was no formal documentation of The Pfister’s life throughout the years for others to learn about and appreciate. In order to tell the iconic hotel’s story in formats that would be intriguing to future generations and Millennials, we needed to create marketing pieces that were appealing and unique. The book and documentary did the job of telling the story of The Pfister not just through words, but through stunning photography and video – leaving a piece of history for future guests and generations to enjoy. We are honored to be able to share the hotel’s extraordinary story with our guests, the Milwaukee community and beyond,” said Anderson.
Read the full release here.
DoubleTree by Hilton Madison Employee Honored with Prestigious Award From Hilton Worldwide
Hilton Worldwide has honored Liz Christianson, Hostess, of the DoubleTree by Hilton Downtown Madison with the company’s Spirit of CARE Award. This award designates Christianson as a top performer within DoubleTree by Hilton Hotels.
Nominated by their peers because of exemplary loyalty, attitude and service, the chosen team members continually exceed expectations of both customers and fellow team members. DoubleTree by Hilton Hotels, which has 50,000 employees and more than 280 hotels worldwide, recognizes less than 100 employees a year with this honor.
Christianson was nominated for the award by her peers after proving to be an exceptional role model. "Liz continues to make outstanding contributions to guests and team members, showing great enthusiasm in all areas of her work at the hotel,” said Tom Ziarnik, GM. "We are proud of her recognition as a Spirit of CARE Award winner, the company’s most prestigious team member award. Employees like Liz create a welcoming and exceptional experience for guests, which impacts other team members and creates a domino effect of great service. ”
Located at 525 West Johnson Street, the DoubleTree by Hilton Madison is situated in Downtown Madison near the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Kohl Center and State Street. The DoubleTree by Hilton provides every guest with complimentary parking and Internet, in addition to complimentary shuttle service to the Dane County Regional Airport and University of Wisconsin – Madison campus. The hotel is owned by Madison-based Neviaser Investments.
Aurora Area CVB announces Raimondo’s Pizza & Pub in North Aurora CULINARY CHAMPION for the Area’s BEST PIZZA
Pictured L-R Judge Jamie Saam Batavia 4th Ward Alderman, Lauren Robin Illinois Restaurant Association, Ellen Mueller Aurora Area Convention & Visitors Bureau Interim Director, judge Dale Berman Village President of North Aurora, Michael Treve owner of Raymondo’s Pizza & Pub, host judge Jeff Schielke Mayor of Batavia, Mike Pfeiffer AACVB Group Sales Agent and judge P. Sean Michels Village President of Sugar Grove.
Photo credit – Bob Lockwood, Full Armour Studio
The Aurora Area Convention & Visitors Bureau announces the CULINARY CHAMPION for the area’s BEST PIZZA: Raimondo’s Pizza & Pub in North Aurora, IL!
Mayors and Village Presidents in the 10 communities comprising the Aurora Area will judge in 10 food categories: Bar-B-Q, burger, dessert, Earth-to-Table, ethnic, pizza, seafood, soup, steak or veggie/vegan dish that’s NOT a salad. Each of the 10 communities will host the competition one month between now and next July.
A special thanks to Mayor Jeff Schielke and the city of Batavia, IL for hosting the competition on Wednesday, November 19 at Water Street Studios. Mayor Schielke was joined by fellow judges P. Sean Michels Village President of Sugar Grove, Dale Berman Village President of North Aurora and 4th Ward Alderman Jamie Saam of Batavia (Subbing for Plano Mayor Bob Hausler).
Lauren Robin of the Illinois Restaurant Association “officiated” over the judging process and declared Raimondo’s Pizza & Pub of North Aurora the winner. Congratulations to Michael Treve who describes his entry as “The Godfather is a Raimondo’s Legend! Papa Raimondo’s sauce is buried under a landslide of our famous Italian Beef, sprinkled with Giardiniera and topped with mozzarella cheese.” 1st Runner-up was Pal Joey’s and 2nd Runner-up was Aliano’s both of Batavia.
The next competition is scheduled Wed., Dec. 10 at 6:00 pm at the American Legion Hall, Plano, Illinois to find the area’s BEST ETHNIC. Mayor Bob Hausler will be the host judge.
All restaurants in Aurora, Batavia, Big Rock, Hinckley, Montgomery, North Aurora, Plano, Sandwich, Sugar Grove and Yorkville are invited to participate. The dish to enter MUST be a regular menu item.
The 10 CULINARY CHAMPIONS along with the 1st & 2nd runners up each month will be featured in a new travel itinerary that will be used to attract out-of-town visitors to the area to enjoy the BEST 30 food dishes our restaurants have to offer!
For more information about the Aurora Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, go to www.EnjoyAurora.com.
Tauscheck Named Industry Forty Under 40
Tiffany Tauscheck, Vice President of Marketing and Development for the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau and Des Moines Area Sports Commission, has been named a “Forty Under 40” honoree by USAE—a national publication for and about the association, destination marketing organization and hospitality communities.
“Tiffany more than demonstrates service and commitment to her community, both in her role at the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau and in every aspect of her life,” said Greg Edwards, President and CEO of the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau and Des Moines Area Sports Commission. “She has brought our city’s destination marketing initiatives to new heights. Her passion for Greater Des Moines, the tourism industry and the nonprofit sector are unmatchable.”
The USAE award is given to 40 individuals of trade or professional associations, association management organizations and charitable or philanthropic entities who are 39 or younger and demonstrate strong leadership skills, leadership potential and a solid commitment to the association/nonprofit industry.
Tauscheck, a Drake University Graduate, serves the community in a variety of ways, including the Governor’s Council on National Service, Drake University National Alumni Board, Des Moines Community Playhouse Board (President-Elect), Hospice of Central Iowa Foundation Board of Trustees, John Stoddard Cancer Center Board of Directors, Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines Marketing Committee and Maddie’s Circle. She was named a Des Moines Business Record Forty Under 40 honoree in 2008, Juice Magazine Young Professional of the Year in 2011 and the inaugural Des Moines Business Record Emerging Woman of Influence in 2014.
A full list of 2014 USAE “Forty Under 40” honorees is available here.
Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau Hotel Week Program Wins Tourism Award
The Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) is pleased to announce Hotel Week as the recipient of the Trailblazer award, given recently at the 2014 Wisconsin Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus (WACVB) conference in Brookfield, Wisconsin.
The Greater Madison CVB received the award in the marketing and communication budget between $25,000-$50,000 category for the Madison Hotel Week campaign. In partnership with the Greater Madison Hotel & Lodging Association, the CVB created a 10-day promotion designed to drive awareness and visitor volume during a time of year that is traditionally slow. The campaign generated 147 room nights and an estimated $53,000 in visitor spending. The campaign’s Web site had nearly 4200 unique visitors and the earned media value was $16,000 including Midwest Living social media, Chicago Magazine online, and the Travel Girl Web site.
This year, the 10-day long event will run from February 13 to February 23, 2015. Special Hotel Week packages are available at $75 or $100 per night. Hotel Week also has an exclusive website featuring itineraries and additional activity suggestions for guests to enjoy while they are visiting the Madison area. For all the latest information, be sure to visit madisonhotelweek.com.
“We were excited by the idea of creating Hotel Week and by partnering with the GMCVB and others in our hotel industry. We were guided by the principle of creating a great deal on a great experience and in Hotel Week we truly feel we have created something quite special for guests to Madison,” said local hotelier Jason Ilstrup, General Manager of Hotel RED.
Voting Open for Connectors Choice Awards
Eighth-annual awards ceremony honors Northeast Ohio's corporate event-planning industry and business networking community
Voting is underway to determine the five finalists in each of 26 Connectors Choice Awards categories. The ballot is available online to the general public at http://fluidsurveys.com/s/cca2015/.
Now in its eighth year, CCA recognizes Northeast Ohio's top organizations, individuals, and events in each of two sectors - the corporate event-planning industry and the business networking community.
Cleveland Business Connects magazine and parent company Contempo Communications sponsor the annual event, which will next occur on Feb. 25 at the State Theatre at Playhouse Square.
CCA voting, which opened Oct. 1, runs through Dec. 7. There is no limit as to how many times one can access the online ballot and vote. Respondents do not have to vote in every category. All write-in votes are added to the ballot as soon as possible.
The top five vote getters in each category will be recognized in mid-December as CCA finalists. Select judges will then review documentation submitted by those finalists to determine a winner in each category. The 26 winners will be revealed Feb. 25 at the CCA ceremony.
Tickets, VIP tables, and sponsorships for the Feb. 25 event are available at www.cbcmagazine.com/cca2015, (216) 831-9557, and firstname.lastname@example.org.
View the 26 categories and cast your vote here.
Experient’s Joy Womack Recognized By PCMA
Joy Womack, CMP, Director, Event Management for Experient, the source for integrated meeting and event solutions, was named the 2014 Distinguished Member of the Year by the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA). PCMA honors outstanding members each year for their contributions to PCMA and the meetings industry.
Womack has been an active member and volunteer of PCMA since 2000. This past year, she served as Secretary of the Capital Chapter, and worked to help develop a leadership toolkit as part of the chapter’s efforts in succession planning. She is a member of the Advocacy Task Force and leads a workgroup charged with developing tactics to disseminate information and tools to members.
“I am incredibly grateful and honored to receive this recognition from PCMA,” Womack says. “My involvement at a local and national level is something that I value very much in terms of my professional development, as well as the amazing connections that I have made with great business partners, clients and friends over the years.” Womack continues saying, “Being involved in PCMA has become an important part of my professional life that, along with my position at Experient, gives me a sense of fulfillment in my career.”
Womack was recognized with the award for her contributions to PCMA during this past year and for her committee and board involvement, project leadership, community service, and her contributions to furthering the growth of PCMA through the mentoring of students and emerging professionals.
Dee Blakeney, CMP, Vice President, Event Planning at Experient, says Womack is passionate about her involvement with PCMA. “I am so pleased for Joy and proud of her for this recognition so well deserved,” Blakeney said. “She serves as a leader and model for our Experient team members wishing to contribute to our industry.”
PCMA will recognize Womack, along with rest of the Achievement Award winners, at the 59th PCMA Annual Meeting: Convening Leaders, January 11-14, 2015, in Chicago.
2014 Nebraska Travel Industry Award Winners Announced
Nebraska’s tourism industry professionals honored their peers at the Celebrate Nebraska Awards Gala Thursday evening at the Quality Inn & Suites/Sandhills Convention Center in North Platte, Nebraska. The event capped the annual Nebraska Tourism Conference organized by the Nebraska Tourism Commission and hosted by the North Platte/Lincoln County Visitors Bureau.
State Senator Schilz and Nebraska Tourism Commission Chair John Chapo announced the following 2014 Nebraska Travel Industry award winners.
The 2014 Henry Fonda Award – the state’s highest tourism award representing leadership, vision and dedication to the tourism industry – went to John Rosenow. John Rosenow has been a big supporter of the Nebraska Tourism Commission and in recent years has been especially helpful and generous in his support of our national media tours. He’s made the media participants feel welcomed in Nebraska City, while also educating them about the Arbor Day Foundation, the Lied Lodge and Conference Center and Arbor Day Farm. More importantly, he educates the participants on the historical and the environmental importance of the history of Arbor Day and J. Sterling Morton.
Rosenow founded The Arbor Day Foundation in 1972, on the 100th anniversary of Arbor Day, and the Foundation now has nearly a million members. In Nebraska City, the Foundation manages Arbor Day Farm as an educational visitor attraction. John oversaw the construction of Lied Lodge and Conference Center, which is dedicated to meetings focusing on trees and conservation. Today the property is home to the Arbor Day Farm Tree Adventure, featuring the Lied Greenhouse, Woodland Pavilion, Tree House Trail; its Nature's Classroom, Exploratory Trail, and the planned Exploratory building are being developed in collaboration with the Dimensions Educational Research Foundation.
“Ours is a competitive industry. We compete with mountains and beaches. Yet more people today are discovering the unexpected beauty of our great state. And thanks to visionary leaders like John Rosenow, more and more Americans are stopping and enjoying Nebraska,” commented Kathy McKillip, Executive Director of the Nebraska Tourism Commission.
The Outstanding Tourism Publication Award was won by the North Platte Visitor Guide (North Platte/Lincoln County Visitors Bureau). The North Platte Visitor Guide is a 24 page, 4 x 9 brochure that underwent a complete revamp for the 2014 year. Complete with new graphics, photography and editorial, the brochure has proven to be helpful to visitors of North Platte. One very popular feature was retained in this year’s Visitors Guide – the center fold cartoon map of North Platte that is used to direct visitors to North Platte’s most popular points of interest. 50,000 copies of the North Platte Visitors Guide were originally produced for 2014, however due to its popularity; more than 10,000 copies were reprinted in the late summer.
The Outstanding Website Award went to VisitOmaha.com (Omaha Convention & Visitors Bureau). The primary goal of the Omaha Convention & Visitors Bureau website was to showcase Omaha as a wonderful tourism destination while highlighting specific venues and attractions. With new features such as “Now Serving”, a web-series promoting Omaha’s unique flavor through local restaurants, and the “Omaha Adventure Savings Card,” which has seen a 38% increase of requests online, the site has been able to meet their goal. The user-friendly site has stayed up to date on the latest online trends, while also generating success with a 9% increase of visitors to the site compared to last year. This year alone, the website has had more than 990,000 visits.
International Special Events Society Announces January-March 2014 CSEPS
The International Special Events Society (ISES) proudly recognizes the 17 event professionals below who earned the Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP) designation in January through March 2014.
The CSEP continues a remarkable progression as worldwide recognition of the special events industry continues to develop. Now more than ever, professionals within the industry recognize the CSEP as an influential designation for the education and the promotion of professional ethics and standards. Earning the CSEP designation demonstrates a continuous dedication to enhance individual and professional performance, and ISES congratulates each of these new recipients on earning this distinguished credential.
About the CSEP Credential
Established in 1993, the Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP) designation recognizes event professionals who have successfully demonstrated the knowledge, skills and ability essential to perform all components of a special event. The CSEP designation offers a competitive advantage when soliciting business as either a special events industry supplier or planner. It represents proof of your professional market knowledge. Learn all about the CSEP at isesew.vtcus.com/CSEP/index.aspx.
ISES was founded in 1987 to foster enlightened performance through education while promoting ethical conduct. ISES works to join event and meeting professionals to focus on the "event as a whole" rather than its individual parts. ISES has grown to involve more than 5,500 members active in 52 chapters throughout the world. The solid peer network ISES provides helps special events professionals produce outstanding results for clients while establishing positive working relationships with other event colleagues. Learn more about ISES at www.ises.com.
Hotelier Wins State Tourism Legacy Award
She’s happiest when she’s in the throes of a construction project, getting to the bottom of a legislative conundrum, or hosting guests, as in thousands of guests every year. Lola Roeh, general manager since 1998 of the AAA Four Diamond Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake, Wis., has received the 2014 Wisconsin Tourism Legacy Award, an impressive recognition within the state’s tourism industry, for the can-do attitude that has defined every aspect of her career. The award was announced during the annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism earlier this week.
Along with an impressive list of accomplishments over her 30+ years-and-counting career – a lead voice on the Governor’s Council on Tourism; past chair of the Wisconsin Hotel & Lodging Association and current board member; Wisconsin Innkeeper of the Year not once but twice, first in 2002 and then again in 2012; active member of the local tourism commission and chamber; and respected industry advocate within political circles – Roeh is known for her entrepreneurial spunk complemented by her penchant for giving credit to others.
Every year since 2005, Roeh has led the resort through at least one major development project. There was the construction of the north wing with conference center, spa and restaurant. Then came the addition of the cooking school. Next was a lake deck for casual dining and live music, a lounge for the main floor Elk Room, expanded gardens to serve the hotel’s restaurants, and a significant refurbishing of all the guest suites in the main building and south wing. Currently crews are working to complete a major addition to the conference center that’s due to open this summer.
All the hard work has paid off. The venerable travel publication Travel + Leisure magazine recently unveiled its T+L 500 for 2014, the list of the top 500 hotels and resorts in the world as voted on by readers, and the Osthoff Resort was among the elite to make the list.
“In the Wisconsin tourism industry you’d be hard-pressed to find people who are content to rest on their laurels, or easily take ‘no’ for an answer, or sit back and follow hospitality trends instead of setting them,” said Roeh. “Seeing no issue as too small and no vision as too large are keys to a rewarding career in tourism, at least they have been for me.”
The Osthoff Resort’s web site is www.Osthoff.com.
Meet Minneapolis announces fourth quarter 2014 Hospitality Hero award
Melissa Rolf, sales coordinator at The Commons Hotel, has been awarded the fourth quarter Hospitality Hero award from Meet Minneapolis, Convention and Visitors Association. The award honors an individual or company who has contributed significantly to the public image of Minneapolis through outstanding hospitality and service.
Rolf was nominated by her coworker, Jamie Goodchild, senior group sales manager at The Commons Hotel, for Rolf’s ability to showcase Minneapolis in a positive light, going the extra mile in providing service to visitors and for Rolf’s wealth of knowledge about Minneapolis. Since November 2006, Rolf has handled more than 154 wedding blocks per year, serving as both the catering manager and the wedding specialist in booking room blocks of 10 or more. Rolf also handles office duties and assists the general manager with special projects when needed.
Rolf consistently works to enhance the visitor’s experience and desire to return to Minneapolis in any way she can. As the main contact for the out-of-town wedding groups she serves, Rolf demonstrates pride and commitment to Minneapolis’ hospitality industry
“Melissa does an outstanding job of providing support to our internal staff and our social customers. She has a passion for hospitality and is always professional and friendly with our customers,” Goodchild said. “Melissa is the voice of The Commons Hotel sales and catering department, and when you call the hotel you will enjoy your experience.”
ABOUT MEET MINNEAPOLIS
Meet Minneapolis is a private, not-for-profit, member-based association. It actively promotes and sells the Minneapolis area as a destination for conventions and meetings, works to maximize the visitor experience and markets the city as a desirable tourist destination to maximize the economic benefit of the greater Minneapolis area.
Meet Minneapolis is accredited by the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) of the Destination Marketing Association International.
Find out more:
Online: www.minneapolis.org and http://go.minneapolis.org, On Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest
Photo: Meet Minneapolis President & CEO Melvin Tennant; Fourth Quarter Hospitality Hero Award Winner and The Commons Hotel Sales Coordinator Melissa Rolf; The Commons Hotel General Manager Duane Rohrbaugh; and The Commons Hotel Senior Sales Manager Jamie Goodchild. Photo by John McCally.
Visit Winona Wins State Tourism Marketing Award
The staff of Visit Winona was honored at the 2014 Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference with a Travel Marketing Award of Excellence, an award given for the most creative and successful marketing programs statewide in the tourism industry. The recognition was one of just two given at the conference’s annual awards banquet held at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center February 5, 2014.
Judges selected Visit Winona for the distinction based on the results of a Facebook campaign that created a 1000 percent year-on-year increase in average daily engaged users for the local tourism office. Moreover, Visit Winona did so without purchasing Facebook ads or sponsored posts, using instead a strategy to engage with followers that judges called “smart”.
Visit Winona competed for the award in a category with the largest tourism organizations in Minnesota, including Meet Minneapolis, which received an Award of Merit at the convention. The Ely Chamber of Commerce won the Award of Excellence for smaller convention and visitor associations.
Visit Winona is a tourism organization that promotes the community and the region as a year round travel destination to individuals and groups. Visit www.visitwinona.com for more information.
Photo: (L to R) Visit Winona staffers Kate Carlson (partnership director), Cynthya Porter (digital communications coordinator), Pat Mutter (executive director), Mary Farrell (visitor services coordinator) received an Award of Excellence for marketing at the Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference Feb. 5.
Global Spectrum’s Shura Garnett, CFE Receives Prestigious Charles McElravy Award from the International Association of Venue Managers
The International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) is pleased to announce Shura Garnett, CFE, Global Spectrum Regional Vice President and General Manager of the St. Charles Convention Center, in St. Charles, Mo., as the recipient of the prestigious Charles A. McElravy Award for 2014. The McElravy Award, named in honor of one of IAVM’s founding organizers, Charles A. McElravy, was initiated in 1963 and is granted for extraordinary contributions to the Association and the professional venue management industry it serves.
With over 25 years of venue management experience in the operation of convention centers, Garnett, CFE, is highly regarded by her peers in the venue profession. She is known for being focused and driven, adept at producing positive bottom line impacts, good at cultivating and fostering clients and business relationships, and building solid teams through her exemplary leadership.
“Shura is truly deserving of this recognition. She has a passion and energy that inspires others, and her innovation and confident leadership set our Association on course toward success that is still evident today,” said John Bolton, CFE, and current Chair of the IAVM Board of Directors.
"We are all particularly proud of Shura and the fantastic work she does for our clients and our customers," said Global Spectrum Chief Operating Officer John Page. "This award is a true testament to Shura's outstanding work ethic which is contagious. She continuously provides our facilities with her terrific enthusiasm and work knowledge."
Garnett’s leadership and management skills quickly became apparent when she entered the industry as an Event Manager in 1987. She soon became Director in 1988. Among her many industry accomplishments, Garnett opened the 154,000 sq. ft. St. Charles Convention Center in April 2005 after overseeing all aspects of the 18-month construction. In 2010, she was promoted to Regional Vice President by Global Spectrum and remains General Manager of the St. Charles Convention Center.
In addition to the McElravy Award, Garnett has been honored in 2007 and 2008 when she was nominated for the GMA’s Dove Award given in recognition of outstanding female role models. In 2008 she received the Zonta Yellow Rose Award for her commitment to serving the community and advancing the status of women; and was named that same year as one of Venues Today’s Women of Influence. Within her work, Garnett and her staff, through the support of Global Spectrum, host 2-5 charitable events and activities each year including supporting Youth in Need, Habitat for Humanity, Helping Hands for the Holidays, and Adopt a Soldier programs.
As an IAVM Member, Garnett has been active since 1988, earning her CFE in 2000. She served as Board Chair of IAVM from 2009-2010 and has also served on numerous volunteer committees for the Association. During Garnett’s tenure as Chair of the Association’s Board, she was instrumental in purchasing and implementing, VenueNet, still considered one of IAVM’s core member communication platforms. She also led efforts to change the Association’s name in 2009-2010, which was at that time called the International Association of Assembly Managers. She also worked to rebrand the annual conference and trade show, to what it’s is currently known as VenueConnect.
IAVM President and CEO, Vicki Hawarden, CMP, remarked, “Shura’s dedication to her profession and to our organization is inspirational. She’s someone I truly admire, and her many contributions to IAVM, particularly during her time as Chair, are part of why IAVM is where it is today.”
The award will be presented during IAVM’s annual conference and trade show, VenueConnect, July 26-29, 2014, in Portland, Oregon.
The International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) has over 4,200 members. Founded in 1924 as the Auditorium Managers Association, IAVM is the world's largest professional association dedicated to the management of public assembly venues. Members include venue managers from arenas, convention centers/exhibit halls, performing arts centers, stadiums and university complexes. IAVM is the acknowledged organization providing leadership, advanced education, supportive advocacy, and networking opportunities between venue professionals around the world. IAVM is the preeminent source for all public assembly related research, information, services, and life-safety issues worldwide. Visit www.iavm.org for more information about IAVM.
Global Spectrum® manages more than 115 public assembly facilities around the world. Nearly 23-million people attended more than 15,000 events in Global Spectrum venues last year. Based in Philadelphia, PA, Global Spectrum is part of Comcast-Spectacor, one of the world’s largest sports and entertainment companies. Comcast-Spectacor also owns the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League, Ovations Food Services, a food and beverage services provider, New Era Tickets, a full-service ticketing and marketing product for public assembly facilities, Paciolan, the leading provider of venue establishment ticketing, fundraising and marketing technology solutions, Front Row Marketing Services, a commercial rights sales company, and Flyers Skate Zone, a series of community ice skating rinks.
Tasty Catering’s Ellen Harte Receives Lifetime Achievement Award
Tasty Catering is proud to announce Director of Key Accounts and Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP), Ellen Harte, recently received the NACE ISES Chicago Excellence (NICE) Lifetime Achievement Award for her 18 plus years of work and service in the catering industry. This twelfth annual NICE Awards commenced on April 2, 2013, at the Marriott on the Magnificent Mile in Chicago.
"The NICE Lifetime Achievement is the highest honor one can receive, and no one is more deserving of this award than Ellen Harte," said Tom Walter, CEO, Tasty Catering. “I have watched her personally grow and help to grow Tasty Catering into one of the most recognized corporate catering companies in the Chicagoland area.” The Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by a joint committee of members from the National Association of Catering Executives (NACE) and the International Special Event Society (ISES), is the highest honor one can receive from the NICE Award committee.
“I'm honored and humbled,” said Harte. “I'm where I am today based on a vision Tom Walter had 18 years ago, and with the help of those who have been my mentors and confidantes in the industry. I could not have gotten here without the help of my peers, colleagues, clients, family, and the talented team at Tasty Catering.”
Ellen, who has been with Tasty Catering since 1995, oversees the company’s larger, high-volume clients. She continues to drive company growth by expanding markets, utilizing event planning solutions that positively impact customer satisfaction, employee morale, and bottom line results. Ellen is a member of ISES, NACE, and the Association for Healthcare Foodservice (AHF). She is a NACE Certified Professional Catering Executive (CPCE), speaker at the Catersource National Conference, frequently published in industry media, and recognized with awards for her originality, integration of event elements, quality, attention to detail, and ability to meet objectives. Ellen’s awards include fourteen previous NICE Awards in a variety of categories received between 2006 and the present. She also served as co-chair for the 2007 NICE Awards.
The annual NICE Awards recognize and celebrate achievements of exceptional Chicago-area professionals in different divisions of the event planning, entertainment, catering, creative, and support services. This year’s Awards were sponsored by the Idea Marketing Group. For more information about the awards, please visit www.theniceawards.com.