Call for Nominations for the 9th annual Beacon Awards

Deadline is 5pm March 31, 2019

Beacon-Awards-logo-2015The National Travel & Tourism Beacon Awards recognize excellence in hospitality and tourism in Erie County for work done in 2018.  They are an opportunity for members of the industry to highlight individuals’ exemplary achievements in a variety of areas: work ethic, customer service, initiative, marketing and management.

Since 2010, Visit Buffalo Niagara has received over 500 nominations! The nominees represent the diversity, creativity and innovation offered in hospitality and tourism – from hotels, attractions and cultural organizations, to restaurants, nightclubs, distilleries and breweries. . .and the many conventions and amateur athletic events that bring hundreds of thousands of people to Western New York.

Nominations are due March 31, 2019 and all nominees and award recipients will be recognized at the Beacon Awards Luncheon taking place Tuesday, May 7, at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center. Only those organizations and employees in Erie County are eligible to receive this award.

NOMINATION INSTRUCTIONS

Use the nomination form below for one or more individuals and submit by March 31, 2019.

Tips for submitting a nomination: A well-written nomination greatly enhances the chance of the nominee being selected, as the judges look for specific information and examples to support why the nominee meets the criteria to receive a Beacon Award. Be sure to include back up material to support the nomination – testimonials, guest comments, photos or newspaper clippings, previous awards, etc.  The form will ask a few probing questions to help you get started.

Beacon Awards Nominee

Beacon Awards Nominee
  • Your Contact Information

    Please give us your contact information so we can contact you with questions on your nominee.
  • Nomination

    Please complete the fields below to nominate an employee, manager, peer or organization.
  • Nomination Category

    Please describe why this nominee is deserving of a Beacon Award. Use examples and as much specific information as possible. Self-nominations are encouraged.

    Additional back-up materials may include up to 10 individual documents supporting the nomination, such as testimonial letters, guest comment cards, photos, newspaper clippings, etc. that were received throughout the course of the past year. Unfortunately, we can't accept attachments through the website, so please mail those to 403Main Street, Suite 630, Buffalo, NY 14203, Attn: Beacon Nomination or you may email them directly to kincaide@visitbuffaloniagara.com

    LODGING CATEGORY

    This category includes hotels, motels, hostels, inns and bed and breakfasts.

    OUTSTANDING LODGING EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR
    Recognizes a non-management employee (e.g. concierge, housekeeper, etc.) who has exceeded all expectations of their position, providing outstanding service to the property, guests and community. Details of exemplary conduct and notable successes will assist the judges in their selection.

    OUTSTANDING LODGING MANAGER OF THE YEAR
    Recognizes a promising, next-generation hotelier who has demonstrated outstanding ability to lead a team (e.g. food and beverage managers, front desk managers, etc.). The nomination should detail education, notable achievements with supporting evidence, including a statement from the nominating hotel’s General Manager.

    OUTSTANDING LODGING GENERAL MANAGER OF THE YEAR
    Recognizes a hotelier who has demonstrated superior leadership at the property, helping to grow the hotel’s brand, occupancy and revenue, alongside initiatives to support their team, community and industry. Any other significant achievements during their career to the hotel industry in any area of operation should be included.

    TOURISM CATEGORY

    This category includes museums, parks, attractions, historical sites and all cultural organizations, as well as retail and gift shop merchants and tour operators.

    OUTSTANDING TOURISM EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR
    Recognizes a non-management employee (e.g. front-end associate, sales clerk, paid docent, etc.) who has exceeded expectations of their position, providing outstanding service to the property and guests. Details of their exemplary conduct and notable successes will assist the judges in their selection.


    OUTSTANDING TOURISM EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR
    Recognizes a manager or executive who has demonstrated outstanding contributions of leadership and service in the organization and community. Included in this category are museums and theatres, parks and attractions, historical sites, Chambers of Commerce, colleges and universities and tour operators. Years of service, growth in members and/or revenue and any other significant achievements should also be included.

    OUTSTANDING TOURISM INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR
    This award is given to an initiative, event or festival that demonstrates best practice in all aspects of its operations and serves as model that others might follow. The initiative has a positive economic impact (food/beverage/lodging) as well as social impact (media attention), encouraging both residents and out-of-town visitation. Previous winners have included the Taste of Buffalo, Garden Walk Buffalo, Christa Glennie-Seychew/Culinary Tourism, the WNY Southtowns Scenic Byway, Beer Tourism, Ice Bikes of Buffalo and last year's World's Largest Disco.

    OUTSTANDING TOURISM VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR
    Recognizes the contribution a volunteer makes, whether at a site, an event, as a board member of a tourism-related organization or some other volunteer opportunity that benefits the tourism industry.

    RESTAURANTEUR/PUB OF THE YEAR
    Recognizes Erie County’s greatest ambassador in dining! The recipient in this category must contribute to the advancement and prestige of the foodservice industry; be actively engaged and employed for a minimum of two years; demonstrate contributions of leadership, service and involvement in the community and/or civic affairs; and exemplify excellence in customer service, innovation and an overall memorable dining experience. TripAdvisor, Yelp, OpenTable or other reviews should be included.

    BRING IT HOME AWARD – SPORTS
    Recognizes an exceptional sports tourism initiative, game or event that shines a spotlight on the people and places behind the initiative that makes the WNY sport tourism industry so dynamic in Erie County. Economic impact, media attention, and collaborative efforts should all be included with this nomination.

    BRING IT HOME AWARD – CONVENTIONS
    Recognizes an individual, organization or group that was influential in bringing a meeting, convention or event to Erie County. The nomination should include economic impact, years the convention took or will take place in Erie County and any other accolades bestowed upon the event.

    @DestinationMarketingGuru Award
    A property(hotel, attraction, cultural institution or restaurant/pub) that not only has a digital presence but is also actively engaged with customers and captures attention with each post. Number of fans, likes, unique visits, etc. should all be included.


    BUFFALO AMBASSADOR OF THE YEAR
    This award goes to an individual whose success and influence leave a lasting impact on Erie County's hospitality and tourism industry. Buffalo Ambassadors are natural promoters; they embody attributes of friendliness, helpfulness and a can-do attitude whether through their volunteer efforts, philanthropy or willingness to pitch in and help Visit Buffalo Niagara find and bring new business to Buffalo.

    Questions? E-mail Cindy Kincaide or call 716-218-2943.

Last year’s Beacon Award recipients:

Lodging category

  • Lillie Alexander, Employee of the Year Hampton Inn and Suites Buffalo Downtown
  • Maria Leon, Manager of the Year Hampton Inn Williamsville
  • Thomas Long, General Manager of the Year, The Westin Buffalo

Tourism category

  • Andrea Ball, Tourism Executive of the Year (tie), The Roycroft Inn & Campus
  • Brad Hahn, Tourism Executive of the Year (tie), Explore Buffalo
  • Ron Eaton, Tourism Volunteer of the Year, Explore Buffalo
  • USS Little Rock LCS 9 Commissioning, Tourism Initiative of the Year

Restauranteur of the Year

  • Mike Andrzejewski

@Destination Marketing Guru

  • Diana Principe, Hotel Henry Urban Resort Conference Center

Bring it Home Ambassadors

  • Mike Gilbert, Bill Maher and Simon Gray NCAA D1 Men’s Basketball Championship (sports)
  • Mike Zavarella, Gaufest 2017 (conventions)

Buffalo Ambassadors of the Year

  • Sally Cunningham

Rookie of the Year

  • Matthew Chiazza, General Manager, Hyatt Place Buffalo Amherst
  • Olivia Staniszewski Staybridge Suites, Ellicott Hospitality