Experience Grand Rapids (EXGR) and the Kent County Lodging Association (KCLA) announced the 2013 winners of the sixth annual Way Above Visitor Expectations (WAVE) Awards—a program that recognizes outstanding service providers in the Grand Rapids and Kent County hospitality industry.
Guests and employers nominated more than fifty-five individuals in eight categories between April and October. A judging panel evaluated the nominees on a set of criteria, including the individual’s attitude, attentiveness, performance, knowledge, and consistency within the local hospitality industry. Winners were selected in the categories of Restaurants/Breweries, Attraction/Events, Lodging 150+ Rooms, Lodging less than 150 Rooms, Nightlife, Retail/Service, Volunteer in Hospitality and Transportation.
2013 winners include:
- Restaurants/Breweries: Ben Schultz, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse
- Lodging 150+ Rooms: Ian Kirkwood, CTA, Country Inn & Suites East Beltline
- Lodging Less than 150 Rooms: Kevin Trasky, SpringHill Suites North
- Nightlife: Laura Buffum, Pearl Street Lounge
- Transportation: Linda Dochod, Classic Carriage LLC
- Retail & Service: Leonne VanDevelde, Ferris Coffee & Nut Co.
- Attractions/Events: Gabriel Rains, Founders Brewing Co.
- Volunteer in Hospitality: Ryan Foerch, GrandCon Volunteer Coordinator
"We are so grateful to the hospitality industry for their continued dedication to providing the guests to our city the best experience possible. The Impacting Hospitality Celebration allows us to display our gratitude and sincere appreciation by acknowledging the many service providers and Hometown Champs that have each gone above and beyond to provide exceptional service, create memorable experiences and bring new convention business to Grand Rapids,” said Experience Grand Rapids President Doug Small.
WAVE winners and their employers will be formally recognized at the Impacting Hospitality Celebration on Thursday November 21, 2013, at the Grand Rapids International Wine, Beer & Food Festival at DeVos Place. Experience Grand Rapids will also recognize its “Hometown Champions” at the ceremony for their help in bringing conventions to Grand Rapids.
“It is an honor to be a part of this annual hospitality awards celebration. Each year we grow the number of amazing nominations which shows the great pride Kent County has in our hospitality industry,” said Kent County Lodging Association President Brian Behler.
The eight winners will also be nominated in their respective categories for the Stars of the Industry Awards. The winners will be announced at the 2013 “Pure Michigan Governor’s Conference.” Hosted by Michigan Lodging & Tourism Association and Travel Michigan this conference is the annual industry gathering of tourism and lodging leaders.
EXGR is committed to cultivating positive visitor experiences as it continues to increase the number of Certified Tourism Ambassadors (CTA) throughout the area. Next year’s WAVE nominees will receive extra points in the judging process if they are CTA certified.
Source: Experience Grand Rapids