Ottawa Tourism established and manages the Stars Of The City program to educate and encourage customer service excellence.
Stars of the City Mission
The Stars Of The City program will facilitate Ottawa and Canada’s Capital Region in becoming known as a world class destination that prides itself on superior customer service across all sectors. The program will deliver star events and collateral that will help to reinforce the “Stars Of The City” designation as Ottawa Tourism’s official recognition of excellence in customer service. It will also create awareness within the tourism industry, and for visitors and residents alike, about the importance and benefits of nurturing and rewarding front line staff.
Has someone in Ottawa gone out of their way offer you incredible customer service? Tell us your story by completing the form below.View nomination criteria
SHERATON OTTAWA HOTEL
My husband, who has mid-stage dementia and diabetes was on a flight from Dublin to Toronto when the plane was diverted to Ottawa. When I called the Sheraton Ottawa Hotel where my husband was staying to make them aware of his dementia, poor sense of time, and the fact that he had no working credit card or bank card, I spoke with Colette who gave me bus information and who arranged to have a bagged lunch packed for my husband so that he would have food on the road. Colette also came up with the idea of writing a discreet letter to the bus driver to alert him of my husband’s vulnerable situation and to provide my phone number so that he could contact me if needed. If Colette had not intervened to ensure my husband’s safety, he could have ended up lost in Ottawa. She accomplished this while interacting with all the other passengers who had been stranded in Ottawa. She had come in to work having lost the electricity in her own home the previous evening. Through all of this, she remained cheerful, and helpful. In the end, she asked me to call her back when my husband got home so she would know he arrived safely.
SULIN QUANT ANASTAS
After having tried a few times to contact one of the group members in her room at the Lord Elgin; Sulin went to check up on her. Soon after, Sulin called the tour leader, to let him know that the guest was not looking well at all. Thanks to Sulin’s insistence, the guest’s spouse and the tour leader came back to the hotel as soon as they could. Sulin had also phoned the paramedics/ambulance and by the time, the tour leader of the Spanish group staying at the Lord Elgin, arrived at the hotel, the paramedics were already on their way. Once the paramedics arrived, Sulin took part in the translation of English/Spanish between the guest and the paramedics. As a result of all these actions the guest was taken to the Ottawa General Hospital where exams proved that she had a severe appendix condition. The same day, the guest had a last-minute operation that removed her appendix which was already perforated. We are sure that Sulin’s quick actions saved the guest’s life.
KHEWA NATIVE ART BOUTIQUE
A tour group was destined for the Mackenzie King Estate but was unable to get there as all the parkways in Gatineau Park were closed. The group made a frantic call to the Khewa Native Art Boutique in the hope that they could find somewhere nearby to go. Although the gallery was not open, Nathalie greeted them at 10:00 AM, set up a teepee just for the group, entertained them with a traditional song of welcome, a smudging ceremony and she shared the story of the indigenous peoples of the area and invited everyone back into the gallery. The tour business now uses this as a customer service case study during their annual spring training.
DJ STEVE AUSTIN PROFESSIONAL ENTERTAINMENT GROUP
During a couple’s wedding speeches, the bride’s father fell off the stage and broke his leg. He had to leave the reception venue without the traditional father-daughter dance. Following the reception, Steven took down his equipment and drove 17 km to the hotel where the guests were staying. At 1:30am, when the father arrived at their hotel in a wheelchair, Steve was set up and played the original song while people held the father up to dance with his daughter.
QUALITY HOTEL DOWNTOWN OTTAWA
A guest visiting from England stopped in Ottawa specifically with the hope of visiting the neighbourhood he grew up in 52 years before. After driving around for hours and being unable to locate the area, he was very disappointed and shared his story with Mohammed. The next morning, Mohammed offered to take them on a long drive around the city and surprised the guest by stopping at the old home the guest had originally come to see.
AMANDA THOMAS & PAUL REID
HOLIDAY INN & SUITES OTTAWA
While on the way to check into the Holiday Inn & Suites Ottawa – Kanata, a guest was in a car accident. The guest called her friend and, as the friend could not make it to the site quickly, she called the front desk at the hotel and spoke with Paul and then Amanda. Paul went immediately over to the accident and picked up the guest’s luggage while Amanda stayed at the front desk to manage both Paul and Amanda’s responsibilities. Once at the scene of the accident, Paul spoke with the police officer and was told he could drive the car back to the hotel, leaving his own vehicle behind. When the guest and their friend returned to the hotel at 12:30 am, there were four people at the desk waiting to welcome them and make sure the guest was ok.
Some boaters got themselves into trouble when trying to dock. When the dock staff warned the couple that their line was wrapped beneath the boat to the point that it could rip the metal cleat off the bow of the boat, the wife yelled to her husband to put the boat in neutral. The dock staff were able to connect with their manager who contacted Jacques, an employee of the Casino and avid diver. Jacques went home and got his diving gear and returned to dive in, locate and cut the line, as well as inspect for any damage.
LORD ELGIN HOTEL
On a cold February night, a local restaurant was hosting a student group for dinner. When it came time for them to move on for skating on the Rideau Canal, the tour guide and teachers left a student behind. After spending time trying to reach the tour company, the student let the restaurant staff know that the group was staying at a local hotel. Upon reaching the hotel, Paul offered to head over to the Canal and find the group. In spite of the cold weather, snowy conditions, hundreds of tourists and darkness of night Paul found the group and called the restaurant to inform them. Ten minutes later the lost student was reunited with his group.
HOLIDAY INN & SUITES OTTAWA-KANATA
Shortly before the guest checked-out of the Holiday Inn & Suites Ottawa Kanata, Kamalesh knocked on the guest’s door, informing them that their car had been vandalized during the night. Kamalesh took the guests to their car to take pictures of the damage and called the police for them. Kamalesh then called a car rental agency that was open on Sunday and also several automotive glass replacement agencies in hopes to find one open. The husband asked Kamalesh if they could have some plastic and tape to cover the windshield due to the fact that it was a rainy day. Not only did Kamalesh supply the plastic and tape but he did it himself while the guests were having lunch.
CROWNE PLAZA OTTAWA HOTEL
While staying at the Crowne a guest received a phone call from home telling her that her father had just had a massive heart attack and had passed away. She called the train station to change her return ticket but the next train out of Ottawa to her hometown of Belleville was not until 5:45am. She was speaking to the front desk clerk of the hotel when Sampson came and asked her if she had tried the bus. Sampson called the bus station and that schedule didn’t work either. Sampson said to give him 5 minutes and when he returned offered that if she rented a car, he would drive her home and return the rental car the next day. Knowing her family needed her, she accepted Sampson’s offer and when he finished his shift at 10:30 pm, they met in the lobby to go rent a car. They arrived in Belleville at 2:30 am and Sampson drove the rental car back to Ottawa as arranged.
During her double shift, a guest visiting from Mexico came to Fiby in tears. As the guest could not speak English, Fiby searched the hotel for another staff member who could speak Spanish and together they discovered that the guests had left their passports, ID and jewelry in the safe at the hotel they had stayed in… in Montreal! As it was a long weekend, no overnight delivery was available and the guest was leaving for Toronto at 1pm the next day to fly back home. Concerned for the guest, Fiby offered to drive to Montreal. When her shift ended at 7:30am Fiby hopped in her car and after five hours of driving (and one speeding ticket), Fiby happily returned the guest’s forgotten items to her. Wowed by the star treatment they had received, the visitors left for home on time.
FEMME DE CARRI
A woman came into the store desperately looking for the perfect outfit to wear to a gala dinner she was to attend that evening. Ginette spent three hours helping her shop in the store, then went with her to find shoes and helped her measure her new pants to just the right length for her great new heels. To help make the evening even more perfect, Ginette called and made a hair appointment for the customer. She then drove her to the appointment, took her pants in to get tailored and purchased fantastic accessories so that when her hair was done, the woman would be completely ready to “knock ‘em out” at her special event.
LES SUITES HOTEL OTTAWA
When a young guest at Les Suites Hotel Ottawa reported losing his favourite stuffed toy bear, the hotel’s Rosie Arruejo swung into action. She searched the hotel from top to bottom. She asked other staff members if they’d seen the bear. She even posted “missing bear” signs that the young guest had created. When the little bear still hadn’t turned up, Rosie purchased a replica and mailed it to the young guest – much to the delight of the guest and his family! For going above and beyond, Rosie has been named this year’s Star of the City.
RESIDENCE INN BY MARRIOTT OTTAWA
Christina was chosen as the 2004 Star of the City for “going the extra mile” to help a guest with a transportation dilemma. After Christina realized that the guest had no way to get to his out-of-town meeting, she came to the hotel at 7 a.m. on her day off to pick up and drive him there. She waited for over an hour for the meeting to end, and took him back to the hotel where they picked up another guest. Christina then drove both guests to the bus station where she even helped them carry their bags!
LORD ELGIN HOTEL
A visitor had been walking along the Rideau Canal when she fell and fractured her wrist. She made it back to the hotel and requested the location of the nearest hospital or clinic. John took her to the nearest clinic (which did not have x-ray equipment) and then to the hospital. The visitor was supposed to be leaving on the 12 noon train but John made the necessary arrangements to have her ticket changed to a later train. When they returned to the hotel, he arranged for her to be given a room to lie down in until she had to catch her train home.
BLUE LINE TAXIS
The 2002 Star of the City was Andy Ghazal, a taxi driver with Blueline Taxi Company whose honesty, quick thinking and diligence have become known across the city as the “Man who found ten thousand dollars”. When a family visiting from Saudi Arabia left a purse containing over $10,000 in his cab, Andy launched a frantic search to find the owners. He drove out to the Airport to return the purse and its contents to the incrediblly relieved and appreciative family. In true “Stars of the City” style, he said it never occurred to him to keep the money. “I’m sure if I lost my money, I’d appreciate some one returning it.”
ALBERT AT BAY SUITE HOTEL
Late one evening, after checking in, a guest approached the front desk enquiring as to whether or not there were any clothing stores open in the area. Unfortunately, the answer was no and noticing that the guest appeared upset, Steve asked if he could help. The guest indicated that he had just found out that he would be meeting with the Prime Minister first thing in the morning and had not packed anything suitable – all he had were blue jeans! Steve quickly asked the man his pant size and searched through the extra uniforms, but unfortunately, no fit was found. The man returned to his room not knowing what he would do. Steve wasn’t about to let a problem go unresolved, so, realizing that he and the guest were roughly the same size, offered his own pants – the ones he was wearing – to the guest. The guest jumped at this very generous offer and Steve spent the rest of his shift in the guest’s blue jeans.
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Collateral available through the Stars Of The City program: