Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International honored the best in travel advertising, public relations, and Web marketing at the annual Adrian Awards Gala, held February 1 at the New York Marriott Marquis.
With this star-studded evening, the travel industry found a reason to celebrate after what Sol Kerzner, founder, chairman, and CEO of Kerzner International Holdings Limited, called, "without question, the toughest year in tourism ever experienced. We've weathered the storm. Our indication is that 2010 hopefully will be a lot better than 2009."
Kerzner, founder of South Africa's largest hotel groups and developer and operator of the Atlantis resorts in the Bahamas and Dubai, thanked the audience and his team when he was honored with one of two Lifetime Achievement awards for the evening, the Albert E. Koehl Award for Advertising. Vivian A. Deuschl, corporate vice president of public relations for The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, received the Winthrop W. Grice Award for Public Relations.
Many campaigns in the meetings and group categories, including those from a number of convention and visitors bureaus as well as hotels, a few associations, and other travel suppliers, were recognized in gold, silver, and bronze tiers. The Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority won big: The coveted Platinum, given to only a handful of winners, went to its Vegas Bound campaign; LVCVA also took honors in a silver advertising category and a gold public relations category. Marriott International also won a Platinum for advertising.
HSMAI presented three Best of Show awards, for advertising, public relations, and Web marketing. Tourism Queensland and its agency Cummins Nitro won Public Relations Best of Show for the "Best Job in the World" campaign that generated 34,000 candidate applications from 197 countries vying for the position of Island Caretaker. It also won several advertising awards.
The "Life of a Brown Paper Bag" video by the Albuquerque Convention and Visitors Bureau took Best of Show in the Web marketing category.
Advertising "Best of Show" went to the San Diego Zoo and its agency M&C Saatchi for their entry that spread the message of conservation of the world's animals.
Other gold winners in advertising recognizing group and meeting campaigns included Choice Hotels, Embassy Suites, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, Hotel Victor, Kimpton Hotels, The Broadmoor, and Visit London. Gold awards in the public relations arena went to Dubai Tourism, Fontainebleau Miami Beach, and TBA Global for its Keep America Meeting campaign.
Even some associations received awards: The American Association for Nude Recreation, and its agency Ypartnership, received recognition for its special event, Guinness World Record Skinny Dip Event; and the American Hotel & Lodging Association won for it "10 Things" marketing program.
For a list of gold winners, visit www.hsmai.org.