They are the CLIO awards of the hospitality and travel industry – a gigantic segment of the US economy and culture which people don’t readily recognize as being so integral to everyday life. This year, the top awards for advertising, digital marketing and public relations went to campaigns for Newfoundland and Labrador, Marriott International, and Huntington Beach, California.
The Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI) celebrated the 59th annual Adrian Awards at the New York Marriott Marquis, honoring 2015’s outstanding hospitality advertising, public relations and digital marketing campaigns before nearly 1,000 attendees.
Gathered in the sprawling ballroom room were the motivators to who excite you, inspire you, engage you and ultimately motivate you to travel to places, stay in hotels, go on adventures. Their task is gargantuan: how to rise above the clutter, in this media saturated milieu where the most valuable and elusive commodity is attention.
The movers and shakers of this gathering are some of the most famous, significant, important companies in the world – and ones you might not necessarily think of as “travel” companies, like Google and Yahoo! – then you realize how integrated into our lives and work the travel, hospitality and tourism industry is.
Their role is vitally important: hospitality, travel and tourism is a $927.9 billion industry (with an additional $1.2 trillion in indirect spending); employs 8 million in travel plus another 7 million in ancillary industries, and is among the top 10 industries in 49 states plus the DC in employment, according to the US Travel Association. Communities which have seen factories shuttered, find them repurposed as visitor attractions, like the Seneca Knitting Mills in Seneca Falls, NY, which will soon house the Women’s Hall of Fame, and a warehouse along the Erie Canal, repurposed for a visitor center, shop and restaurant. Towns that depended upon steel manufacturing, like Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, now promote their Christmas festivities and the historic Bethlehem Steel plant redeveloped as a casino resort. And it takes marketing, advertising and public relations campaigns to inform, engage, inspire, people to come.
It can be as basic as having a clever, informative but user-friendly website that anticipates how a visitor might explore a new destination, or an innovative contest that gets people to post their own authentic experiences and reactions, or some campaign that addresses some major event in the news.
The Adrian Awards began in 1957 and consider entries from every segment of the travel and hospitality industry, including hotels, airlines, cruise lines, car rental companies, and destinations, among others, who win awards in platinum (the highest), gold, silver and bronze levels. This year’s winners were selected from a field of more than 1,300 entries by senior industry and media experts.
Gold Awards went to one of the largest groups of winners in the Awards’ history, including 70 awards in Advertising, 122 in Digital Marketing and 139 in Public Relations, which were honored during the Adrian Awards Dinner Reception co-hosted by HSMAI, Booking.com, Google, and TravelClick. Platinum Award winners were selected from the most-outstanding Gold Award winners.
The gala’s highest honor, Best of Show, was selected from among Platinum winners, and are announced at the end of the evening with all the surprise and elation of an Oscar.
Advertising “Best of Show” was awarded to “Creative and Colourful Places” by Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism and its agency Target
Digital Marketing “Best of Show” was awarded for the Millionth Mobile Check-in campaign by Marriott International
“We are so excited,” said Marriott International representatives David Menda and Amanda Olcott. “This project was a true cross-collaboration between the global and digital marketing teams.”
Public Relations “Best of Show” went to “The Epic Big Board Campaign”, in which Visit Huntington Beach and its agency Development Counsellors International organized a Guinness Record for the biggest surf board and the most number of surfers on a single board.
“In beach terms, I am stoked!” said Visit Huntington Beach representative Susan Thomas. “The community was an integral part of the making and shaping of this project. The city will be so proud.”
Platinum Awards were given to the following recipients in the advertising, digital marketing and public relations categories:
Advertising Platinum Winners (Company; Agency):
Visit Tampa Bay; PP+K
Hilton Worldwide – Homewood Suites; Van Winkle Pearce
Embassy Suites by Hilton; Y&R Chicago
Visit Greensville South Carolina
Aruba Tourism Authority; The Concept Farm
Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism; Target
Digital Marketing Platinum Winners:
Hotel Pennsylvania; HeBS Digital
Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions; Expedia Media Solutions
CheapCaribbean.com; MMGY Global
Triumph Hotels; HeBS Digital
Hilton Head Island – Bluffton Chamber of Commerce; VERB Interactive
Marriott International; MEC Global and BCM
Public Relations Platinum Winners:
Israel Ministry of Tourism; Geoffrey Weill Associates
The Library Foundation of Los Angeles; MFA, Ltd.
Extended Stay America; Zimmerman
Nomadic Expeditions; Hawkins International Public Relations
Wyndham Hotel Group; MMGY Global
VisitScotland; Laura Davidson Public Relations
Singapore Airlines; Weber Shandwick
Hilton Worldwide; Edelman
Best Western Hotels & Resorts; Allison and Partners
Visit Huntington Beach; Development Counsellors International
A feature of the awards were “Trend Spotting” presentations, such as “Consumers as Publishers” where marketers are positioning themselves as curators of consumer-created content, and “Experiential Marketing” with examples ranging from an augmented reality app to a mobile museum. Another recurrent trend: integration of marketing media.
In advertising, the winning campaigns “connect, engage, cast a vision that moves the traveler to take action; clever, targeted, integrated.” “Find your audience.” “It’s less about features than benefits.” “Less tech, more story.”
In digital marketing, the contest winners showed “bold creative impact,” “Integrating mobile and social together,” “multichannel campaign,” “putting the brand in hand” “moving beyond contest or putting pictures up on Instagram.”
Public relations campaign winners were “inspiring, integrated, hyper targeted,” “whet appetitive, warm hart, blow mind,” “immersive, strategic, targeted, focused, “engage, excite, use photography in creative ways,” “integrate news of the day.”
Two industry leaders were honored with HSMAI Lifetime Achievement awards. George Aguel, president and CEO of Visit Orlando, received the Albert E. Koehl Award for Lifetime Achievement in Hospitality Marketing.
Aguel is credited “with making innovative strides while representing the most visited destination in the country”, said Robert A. Gilbert, CHME, CHBA, president and CEO of HSMAI. Priot to joining visit Orlando, he spent 23 years in executive roles at the Walt Disney Company.
“When I was given the wonderful news about being selected for this award, I quickly began to think about what my career’s been like for these 40 plus years and there’s no doubt it’s been a real good one,” said Aguel.
Gordon Lambourne, senior vice president, consumer public relations, at Marriott International, Inc., was the recipient of the Winthrop W. Grice Award for Lifetime Achievement in Hospitality Public Relations.Lambourne started at Marriott as an entry level manager, and in his capacity in consumer public relations recalled when Marriott Capital City hosted the American hostages returned from Iran, the opening of the first western managed hotel in Eastern Europe, the launch of the Marriott Rewards program, the grand opening of the tallest hotel in world (Dubi Marriott), and the challenge of undertaking a massive media campaign to find the nearly 1,000 Marriott associates lost after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans.
“I have embarked on a journey of experiences. My job was a true dream job, every day, every year,” said Lambourne. “I have been blessed personally and professionally and Marriott has been my rock.”
The sixth annual Leader in Sustainable Tourism award, presented by HSMAI and National Geographic Traveler, went to Wilderness Safaris and their agency Hawkins International Public Relations, for its campaign which yielded an 18-page feature in Town & Country, documenting the flight of the rhino.
The two runners-up for this award were Fairmont Hotels for a program creating on-site honey bee habitats in urban areas, and Mountain. Lodges of Peru (Hawkins International PR), family-owned lodges which exemplify the positive effect tourism can have in nurturing sustainable economic growth, with the lodges purchasing local produce and hiring and training locals for jobs.
HSMAI also honored its 2015 Top 25 Extraordinary Minds in Hospitality Sales, Marketing, Revenue Optimization in a reception co-sponsored by Questex Hospitality + Travel and congratulated them on stage during the Gala.
“The people named to this list have made incredible contributions to the industry,” said Robert A. Gilbert, CHME, CHBA, president & CEO of HSMAI. “Their innovative sales, marketing and revenue management ideas have helped fuel the success of the hospitality industry the past two years.”
The HSMAI Top 25 Extraordinary Minds for 2015 are:
- Robert Allegrini: Vice President, Hilton Worldwide
- Bob Anderson: President, Star Performance Inc.
- Srikanth Beldona: Associate Professor & Program Director of MS in Hospitality Business Management, University of Delaware
- Barry Biggar: President/CEO, Visit Fairfax
- Colleen Birch: Vice President, Hotel Optimization, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
- Noah Brodsky: SVP, Worldwide Loyalty and Engagement, Wyndham Hotel Group
- Felipe Carreras: Director E-Commerce, Best Western Hotels & Resorts
- Richard Cassey: Chief Strategy Officer/Partner, Commit Agency
- Adriena Daunt: Public Relations Manager, The Americas ,Tourism New Zealand
- Stephanie Davis: Industry Director, Google
- Tammy Farley: President, The Rainmaker Group
- David Fine: Senior Vice President, Sales, Marketing & Revenue Development, PGA National Resort & Spa
- Nina Herrera-Davila: Senior Director, Consumer PR-Marriott Signature Brands, Marriott International
- Lauren Levin: Senior Vice President, Marketing and Communications, sbe
- Bill Linehan: Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, RLHC
- Monya Mandich: Head of Global Marketing & PR, Expedia Media Solutions, Expedia, Inc.
- Shannah Milstead: Executive Director, Sales Programs, FRHI Hotels & Resorts
- Kyle Murdoch: Senior Director, Digital, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company
- Charlie Osmond: Chief Tease, Triptease
- Chris Romer: President & CEO, Vail Valley Partnership
- Marie Torres: Vice President, Marketing & Branding, Destination Hotels
- Claudia Vecchio: Director, Nevada Department of Tourism and Cultural Affairs
- Chris Wilroy: Senior Vice President, Commercial Services, Hilton Worldwide
- Monica Xuereb: Chief Revenue Officer, Loews Hotels & Resorts
- Kristin Yantis: Principal, Malen Yantis Public Relations
The “Top 25” recipients were selected by a panel of senior industry executives based on recent work meeting the following criteria: creativity and innovation; cutting edge sales or marketing campaigns; triumph in challenging situations; and sales efforts that resulted in dramatic gains.
The Adrian Awards are named for Adrian W. Phillips, CHME, who entered the hospitality industry in 1922 and became the first instructor of hotel sales at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration in 1940. He served as HSMAI President from 1941-42. In 1956, Phillips created the advertising competition to educate hospitality students. The Adrian Awards has become the world’s largest and most renowned advertising, public relations and digital marketing competition for hospitality, travel and tourism.
“It was a great evening to gather and honor the originality in the hospitality industry and the people behind the work,” said Robert A. Gilbert, CHME, CHBA, president and CEO of HSMAI. “Tonight we celebrated incredible campaigns and achievements in advertising, digital marketing, public relations, sustainable tourism, and lifetime achievement” added Fran Brasseux, HSMAI Executive Vice President.
For more information about the Adrian Awards visit www.adrianawards.com.
The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) provides hotel professionals & their partners with tools, insights, and expertise to fuel sales, inspire marketing, and optimize revenue through programs such as HSMAI’s MEET, Adrian Awards, and Revenue Optimization Conference. HSMAI is an individual membership organization comprising more than 7,000 members worldwide, with 40 chapters in the Americas Region. Connect with HSMAI at www.hsmai.org,www.facebook.com/hsmai, www.twitter.com/hsmai and www.youtube.com/hsmai1.
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