The Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) celebrated excellence in travel advertising, digital marketing, and public relations at the virtual Adrian Awards Celebration on Tuesday, March 23. For this year’s Adrian Awards competition, HSMAI created four new award categories as well as the Hospitality Heroes program to recognize resilience in response to the unprecedented challenges brought on by the pandemic.

“This year’s Adrian Awards honor best practices, innovation, community, and the hospitality leaders who have shown that through crisis, innovation emerges,” said Robert A. Gilbert, CHME, CHBA, president and CEO of HSMAI. “While the past year isn’t one that any of us anticipated, you’ll see from the award recipients and honorees that this crisis has only underscored the resilience, creativity, and commitment to service that define our industry.”

For 63 years, the Adrian Awards have spotlighted excellence in hospitality advertising, digital marketing, and public relations. This year’s Adrian honorees were selected from more than 600 entries by senior industry and media experts. HSMAI’s four new focus categories include corporate social responsibility, crisis communications/management, recovery strategies, and talent and leadership development (an HSMAI Foundation honor).

The 2020 focus categories Best Practice Gold awardees are:

Corporate Social Responsibility:

Company, Agency

  • Karisma Hotels & Resorts, Premier Worldwide Marketing
  • Marriott International
  • MGM Resorts International
  • Nourish Lexington
  • Pinehurst Resort
  • Visit Irving and the Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas

Crisis Communications/Management:

Company, Agency

  • Accor
  • Discover Puerto Rico, Ketchum
  • Grupo Tauá Resorts, Pmweb
  • Jamaica Tourist Board, Finn Partners
  • Omni Hotels & Resorts
  • Wyndham Hotels & Resorts (2)

Recovery Strategies:

Company, Agency

  • Accor
  • Baha Mar, Parasol
  • British Virgin Islands Tourist Board & Film Commission, MMGY Global
  • Choice Hotels International, McKinney
  • Costa Rica Tourism Board, MMGY Global
  • Explore Georgia, Georgia Department of Economic Development, Miles Partnership
  • Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Visitor and Convention Bureau, VERB Interactive
  • Kentucky Department of Tourism, Miles Partnership
  • Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, Allison+Partners
  • Marriott International in the Caribbean & Latin America, M1M/Publicis
  • MMGY Global and HSMAI on behalf of the Hospitality Industry, MMGY NJF
  • Omni Hotels & Resorts

Talent and Leadership Development: An HSMAI Foundation Honor:

Company, Agency

  • Atrium Hospitality
  • Omni Hotels & Resorts

HSMAI also recognized incredible campaigns in the traditional categories of digital marketing, public relations, and advertising. To view the full list of winners, visit the Adrian Awards Winners Gallery.

HSMAI is also proud to recognize 15 Hospitality Heroes who have taken a leadership position, championed a cause, or created a program that directly benefited industry workers, medical personnel, first responders, or communities impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Additionally, a panel of senior industry executives selected the HSMAI Top 25: Extraordinary Minds in Hospitality Sales, Marketing, and Revenue Optimization for 2020. Each Top 25 recipient was honored by HSMAI in a virtual celebration on Tuesday, March 16.

HSMAI also honored two industry leaders with HSMAI Lifetime Achievement Awards. Dorothy Dowling, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Best Western Hotels & Resorts, was recognized with the 2020 Albert E. Koehl Award for Lifetime Achievement in Hospitality Marketing.

“It is an honor to receive this recognition from HSMAI, an organization that has truly been formative to my career,” said Dowling. “At every turn, HSMAI has opened doors to opportunities, learnings, and treasured friendships. In this year of COVID where we have learned that relationships fuel our souls, empower our capabilities, and make us better human beings, it is truly an honor to be recognized.”

Mary Gostelow, publisher of The Gostelow Report, was honored with the 2020 Winthrop W. Grice Award for Lifetime Achievement in Hospitality Public Relations. “I am completely humbled,” said Gostelow. “I always regard my purpose in life as taking that world of hospitality, travel, tourism, and understanding people and sustainability and the products that go along with it and making it a better world for us all. That is the brand that I always followed and the brand I will continue to follow.”

Thank you to this year’s Adrian Awards Celebration partners IDeaSMMGY GlobalPanzano + Partners, and WorkerBee.TV.

To watch the celebration recording and view the program, visit the Adrian Awards Celebration webpage.

For more information about the Adrian Awards and the 2020 honorees, visit To interview an HSMAI spokesperson about the event and the winners, please contact Nicole Quain at [email protected].