Local winners at Alto Awards
Travel Alberta has recognized two organizations in the Bow Valley as leaders in what is now the province’s fourth largest industry: tourism.
Last Monday (Oct. 22) evening, the annual Alto Awards took place at The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel and Conference Centre, where the organization honoured its tourism “heroes” for their achievements in various categories such as marketing excellence and sustainability.
Presented by Tourism, Parks and Recreation Minister Christine Cusanelli, the Town of Banff, in conjunction with Banff Lake Louise Tourism (BLLT), won the award for Tourism Community of the Year while Canmore’s Stoneridge Mountain Resort took home the trophy for Service Excellence.
Following the ceremony, Banff Mayor Karen Sorensen expressed her joy with winning the award and congratulated her fellow partners who worked together on the inaugural Snow Days festival this past January, which was the basis for the Alto Award.
“From our perspective we were delighted,” Sorensen said. “Banff Lake Louise Tourism has often put in applications and has often been nominated, but that was actually the first win.
“Snow Days was a new event this year and it was a direct result of the competitive initiative, which took place in 2011 where a group of us got together and talked about new and creative ideas,” she added.
Stuart Back, director for in resort sales, was also present at the presentation and said the award “reflects a significant investment that we all made in the last 12 months.
“The judges noted the number of different events and the number of different experiences we went with,” he explained. “It’s obviously great to have some recognition from the industry.”
For the Snow Days project, the Town of Banff and Banff Lake Louse Tourism worked alongside Parks Canada as well as other partners in the community to put on the event from January to February.
“The story of the partnership was the interesting part because there were a lot of events that were created, but this one was the real shared vision of the partners,” Hart said.
“We recognize as partners it will take several years to build this festival to its full potential and grow the support and attendance,” he added. “We did a very good job for the first year and this award helps in continuing to build the future.”
Having a positive working relationship with team members can also be attributed to Stoneridge Mountain Resort’s win in the Service Excellence category, as general manager Edward Keenan noted.
“We’ve demonstrated service excellence and our commitment to that. Making sure that our staff are well trained and empowered,” Keenan said, adding this is the first year the resort has been recognized by Travel Alberta.
Over the years, Stoneridge has been given other online awards by Trip Advisor, Expedia and, according to Keenan, that has been based on the resort’s six elements to success: staff empowerment, personalized service, commitment to guest satisfaction, anticipating guest needs, positive attitude and teamwork.
“A fundamental part of our success is the service part of things because there’s a lot of hotels around and there’s lots of places you can rent a room,” he said. “It’s the service of staff that continue to bring our guests back again and again.
“I think it’s really good for Canmore and the Bow Valley as well,” he added. “An Alto Award is very prestigious and I think it will help the Bow Valley as a whole.”
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