The Howdy Awards

Honoring the hospitality employees who make Pioneer Valley even more special

pioneer valley tourism

Pioneer Valley is certainly full of exciting destinations. To celebrate those places that offer especially fine customer service, the Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau (GSCVB)—a nonprofit organization affiliated with the Economic Development Council of Western Massachusetts—bestows the annual Howdy Awards for Hospitality Excellence. More precisely, these awards honor the region’s dedicated hospitality workers.

The GSCVB presented the first Howdy Awards in 1996, and between 1996 and 2013, a total of 159 Howdys were handed out. Among the sponsors for these awards are Baystate Health, Global Spectrum, Masslive.com, MCCA, Mix 93.1, WHYN Newstalk 560, Yuengling Beer, and WWLP-TV.

The Howdy Awards are divided into seven categories: attractions, beverage, food, public service, retail, and transportation. Each year, the GSCVB also chooses at least one person or business for an additional honor: the Spotlight Award. Spotlight winners are recognized for outstanding contributions to Pioneer Valley’s overall tourism trade. In 2013, the GSCVB premiered a new Howdy Award: the People’s Choice. This prize is presented to whichever finalist garners the most votes on the GSCVB Facebook page.

Any Pioneer Valley hospitality employee who regularly interacts with guests face-to-face, on the phone or online is eligible for a Howdy. Nominees can be full-time employees, part-time workers, or even volunteers. And the nominating process for these awards is open to the general public, including out-of-towners. If you know of a frontline hospitality professional who merits consideration, you may submit that person’s name by completing and mailing a postage-free ballot card; many area businesses have stacks of those cards on display. You can also go to www.valleyvisitor.com to identify your choice. Note that the nominating deadline for 2014 is March 1.

The GSCVB gets in touch with all of the companies that employ the nominees. The bureau then narrows that pool of nominees to a group of finalists. Finally, three hospitality experts, none of whom live or work in Pioneer Valley, judge those finalists and select the winners.

The yearly reception for finalists is held in May, and this year's dinner for winners is slated to take place at the Log Cabin Banquet and Meeting House in Holyoke, Mass. on June 9, 2014. Each winner receives a framed certificate, a pin, and a gift bag in addition to the engraved award itself.

To obtain more information about this prize and about how you can get involved in GSCVB projects, please don't hesitate to contact us.

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