Hotels for Outstanding Public Relations Campaigns
Nashville, Tenn., June 14, 2007 - The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) today honored the winners of the AH&LA Achievement Awards, part of the Stars of the Industry Awards luncheon, held during the AH&LA Summer Summit at The Loews Vanderbilt Hotel and sponsored by U.S. Foodservice. The awards, created in 1966, recognize individual hotel properties that have developed outstanding public relations campaigns. Categories include community service; Good Earthkeeping; guest relations; special events, one-time only and ongoing; and, the new Prism award.
The Washington Athletic Club in Seattle, Wash., won the community service award, small property category, for its commitment to improving the quality of life for people in the community. The company matches employee donations to the local United Way; participates in the activities of several local social service agencies; provides financial support to local sports programs; and, the entire organization works with to the Seattle Police Foundation.
The Loews Ventana Canyon Resort in Tucson, Ariz., won the award for community service, large property category. Loews hotels have a corporate Good Neighbor Policy, but the Ventana Canyon Resort staff wanted to adopt a program to help women and children, and they selected the New Beginnings for Women and Children program for homeless families. The Loews Ventana team is dedicated to ensuring the program has everything it needs, supplying furniture, linens, job training, building maintenance, and hosting special events for program participants. When the city of Tucson called New Beginnings to ask for help sheltering Hurricane Katrina evacuees, the team from Loews Ventana was there to get apartments ready, move furniture, make beds, and stock refrigerators.
The Chancellor Hotel in San Francisco, won the Good Earthkeeping award, small property category, for its comprehensive approach to good environmental practices. The hotel banned Styrofoam from the property, installed water-saving devices, and the property recycles everything, including soap, phone books, and kitchen grease.
The Big Cedar Lodge in Ridgedale, Missouri, is the winner of
the Good Earthkeeping award in the large property category. Big Cedar Lodge
is located in the Ozark Mountains, and protecting the environment protects
the property. They operate in an earth-friendly way, from the welcome cards
that are embedded with flower seeds for planting, to the laundry facility
that saves 10,000 gallons of water a day.
The Hawthrone Hotel in Salem, Mass., the winner of the guest relations award, small property category, created a blog for the hotel. It is updated daily by the general manager and all departments contribute. The catering and events staffs use it for marketing, and the increased traffic has given them the number one spot on Google for “hotels in Salem.”
The Langham Hotel in Boston is the winner of the guest relations, large property award, for its “Very Important Baby” or VIB program. The Langham targeted families traveling with newborns and toddlers and designed services that address the unique needs of these guests. In addition to amenities that cater to newborns, the older siblings are not forgotten, with a check-in desk at kid level and snacks and treats to make them feel special.
The Hermosa Inn in Paradise Valley, Arizona, is the winner of the special events, ongoing, small property award, for its Artist In Residence Series. This program showcases well-known artists and authors and gives guests the opportunity to get to know the artist in a personal, intimate setting. The evenings feature a pre-dinner reception, dinner with “artful” American cuisine and wine pairings, and an informal gathering for the artist to speak and answer questions.
The Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, Tenn., won the special events ongoing award, large property category, for its “Country Christmas” program. The program features 3 million lights, 1.5 million pounds of ice carved into whimsical life-size figures, and even the Radio City Rockettes!
Comfort Suites – Perimeter Center, in Atlanta, Georgia, won the special events, one-time only, small property award. After extensive renovations in 2005, the Comfort Suites – Perimeter Center relaunched itself in a crowded field. They decided to market the hotel to businesses as a holistic hotel, one that would address the mind, body, and spirit of their guests. The grand reopening event allowed visitors to follow a “path of discovery.” Guests were escorted around the property where they were able to enjoy a massage, meet with fitness representatives from LA Fitness, see a yoga demonstration, have a consultation with a chiropractor and a skin specialist, and then tour the new rooms. The path ended in the lounge where guests could sample the new, healthier cuisine.
A new award this year, The Prism Award, is given to recognize creative and innovative diversity programs that have been integrated into a hotel’s strategic plan and are making a difference in the overall success of an operation.
The first winner of the Prism Award, small property, is the Onyx Hotel in Boston. The Onyx, and its parent company, Kimpton Hotel and Restaurant Group, strive to create a workforce that is as diverse as its customers. The hotel has developed the Monthly Culture Award, which is given based on nominations from staff. The award is presented at a monthly staff luncheon, where the room is decorated with flags representing the countries of origin of the staff, and they have an opportunity to share information about their native country with the group. The Onyx asks for employee input asking staff, “Does your hotel respect differences in culture, religion, and age?” The Onyx is working to continue this culture of tolerance and understanding within the hotel.
The Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, Tenn., is the winner of the Prism Award, large property. The management at Gaylord Opryland found that approximately 600 of its 4,000 employees speak English as a second language. The facility offers voluntary English education for staff. For the 350 people who took the class in 2006, the graduation rate was 80%, and more staff members are waiting to participate. All personnel forms are available in English and Spanish, and the internal newsletter, Music City Notes, is published in English, Spanish, and Arabic. Interpreters are provided for all large company events. All of these efforts have contributed to making the Gaylord Opryland Resort a more inclusive, diverse place to work.
Many of AH&LA’s partner state associations choose their own property award winners, which are submitted to the association for national judging. Making the decisions in this year’s competition were Phil Hayward, editor, Lodging magazine; Ginger Croce, director of communications, American Bus Association; and Allen Kay, manager of industry relations, Travel Industry Association of America.
Serving the hospitality industry for nearly a century, AH&LA is the sole national association representing all sectors and stakeholders in the lodging industry, including individual hotel property members, hotel companies, student and faculty members, and industry suppliers. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., AH&LA provides members with national advocacy on Capitol Hill, public relations and image management, education, research and information, and other value-added services to provide bottom line savings and ensure a positive business climate for the lodging industry. Partner state associations provide local representation and additional cost-saving benefits to members.
American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA)