Events
2016 Stars of the City Recognition Evening

A total of 1,203 nominations were received from residents and visitors to the region over the past year, nominating front-line staff from 67 businesses for their real-life examples of excellence in customer service. Everyone who was nominated as a Star of the City received a gold “star” lapel pin, a symbol of customer service excellence here in Ottawa and Canada’s Capital Region.

An independent panel of judges comprised of industry leaders decided among 29 finalists to award the ultimate “Star of the City 2016” as well as winners in the following 8 categories.

Grand Prize Sponsored by the Ottawa Gatineau Hotel Association

Nathalie Coutou – Khewa Native Art Boutique

Nathalie Coutou’s story – 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 10:00AM, 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.

HOST(ESS) WITH THE MOST(EST)

Sponsored by Intercontinental Hotels Group

Alisha Hewson – Westin Ottawa

*** WINNER *** Nathalie Coutou – Khewa Native Art Boutique

Nhat Huynh– Ottawa Marriott

(See Nathalie’s story above)

 

ABOVE & BEYOND

Sponsored by CF Rideau Centre

Audrey Doyle Richer – Casino du Lac-Leamy

Michael Norris – Delta Ottawa City Centre

*** WINNER *** Simon Noujaime – Westin Ottawa

Simon Noujaime’s story – In March 2016 a group had planned a winter-themed event that included use of an outdoor patio at the Westin Ottawa.  When Simon discovered that the space had not been cleared the day of the event, he operated a snow blower outside in only his banquets uniform in an attempt to clear at least 3 ft of snow from the area.  He was relentless in not only clearing snow himself as the wind whipped through in -10 degree temperatures, but he also led and directed his colleagues in maintenance to chip away at the ice, shovel and spread salt.  Then when the music system wasn’t working and patio heaters failed to light, Simon solved those issues too – all with a pleasant demeanour and a smile.

 

STARS WITH HEART

Sponsored by Casino Du Lac-Leamy

*** WINNER *** Martin Roy – Courtyard by Marriott Ottawa East

Shirley Robson – Hotel Indigo

Xiaoling Huang – Les Suites Hotel, Ottawa

Martin Roy’s story – Guests of the hotel found an injured cat on the side of the road and brought it to the front lobby.  After being told the details, Martin began calling vet clinics to see what could be done for the animal.  An after-hours clinic was just about a 5 to 10 minute walk away from the hotel but he offered to drive the guests there so that the cat would not escape and be in further danger.  Martin left his contact number with the clinic staff, checked on its condition in the days following, and kept the guests updated with the cat’s recovery during their stay.

 

GO THE EXTRA MILE

Sponsored by Ottawa International Airport Authority

Estelle O’Neil – Les Suites Hotel, Ottawa

Katie Jubenville – Hotel Indigo

*** WINNER *** Tarek Khefifi – Les Suites Hotel, Ottawa

Tarek Khefifi’s story – A guest staying at Les Suites Hotel, Ottawa feared she wouldn’t make it to her surgery scheduled for the following morning due to an impending ice storm. When she inquired about possible transportation options, Tarek offered to drive the guest to the hospital at 6:00AM before his shift. He contacted the hospital throughout the day to keep updated on the guest’s condition and when the guest mentioned that they didn’t have a ride back after surgery, Tarek again offered to drive through the storm and traffic.

 

WHAT’S LOST IS FOUND

Sponsored by Algonquin College

Carolyn Montgomery – Lord Elgin Hotel

Natalie Dumont – House of Cheese

*** WINNER *** Norma Salazar – Cartier Place Suite Hotel

Norma Salazar’s story – A guest left her laptop in the hotel room and only realized it once she was already at the airport. After realizing how soon the guest’s flight was leaving, Norma dropped everything, got in her car, and personally raced to the airport to deliver the laptop in time for the guest to make her flight with all of her belongings.

 

DYNAMIC DUO

Sponsored by Westin Ottawa

Agron Ahmeti & Eric Champagne – Delta Ottawa City Centre

Bernhard Huber & Cristiana Solinas – Le Cordon Bleu Ottawa Culinary Arts Institute

*** WINNER *** Véronic Gauthier & Marie-Aimé Ndizihiwe – Hilton Lac Leamy

Véronic Gauthier & Marie-Aimée Ndizihiwe’s story – A regular guest of the Hilton Lac-Leamy was so enamoured with the linens at the hotel that he purchased a set for himself – complete with duvet, sheets, pillows, and mattress topper.  At a later date, when Véronic inquired whether the guest was happy with his purchase, the guest mentioned that it just was not the same when the bed was not prepared by professionals. Determined to never leave a customer dissatisfied, Véronic partnered with Marie-Aimée to produce an instructional video on how to make a bed according to the standards of the Hilton Lac-Leamy.

 

EVENING STAR

Sponsored by Hendrix Restaurant Equipment and Supplies

Paul Albert – Sheraton Ottawa

Sumi Grewal – Grill 41 at the Lord Elgin

*** WINNER *** Tarek Khefefi – Les Suites Hotel, Ottawa

“He gave excellent customer service, was extremely charismatic, helpful and kind…definitely makes me only want to come to Les Suites.”

 

STAR TEAM

Sponsored by Ottawa Hotels of the Westmont Hospitality Group

Holiday Inn & Suites Ottawa – Kanata and Graffiti’s

Lord Elgin Hotel and Grill 41

Sheraton Ottawa Hotel

Westin Ottawa

*** WINNER *** Les Suites Hotel, Ottawa

“These folks went above and beyond to not only ensure our stay was incredible but they were also fantastic ambassadors for the City of Ottawa.”

 

Stars of the City Conference

Stars of the City Annual Conference
Date: May 17, 2016

Casino du Lac Leamy – Salon Royal – 1 Boulevard du Casino, Gatineau, QC J8Y 6W3

The 2016 Stars of the City Conference is an interactive workshop that celebrates tourism-oriented customer service. Through two dynamic presentations, Earning Glowing Reviews and All About Ottawa – delegates will learn about the importance of customer service in the tourism context and how acting as an ambassador for all of the sites, attractions and activities that our beautiful city has to offer can encourage repeat visitation to Canada’s capital region – now and into the future.

Registration is $10 + taxes and fees. Register five delegates for the same session, and the sixth one is FREE!!

Click here to register before May 11.

 

Please contact Lizzy Low at membership@ottawatourism.ca or
613-237-5150 ext 125 should you have any questions.

Stars of the City shine at annual celebration of customer service excellence

OTTAWA, October 22, 2015—Over 440 tourism industry insiders gathered last night at the Algonquin College School of Hospitality & Tourism to celebrate the achievements of front-line staff during the 20th annual Ottawa Tourism Stars of the City Recognition Evening.

A total of 1,118 nominations were received from residents and visitors to the region over the past year, nominating front-line staff from 88 businesses for their real-life examples of excellence in customer service. Everyone who is nominated as a Star of the City received a gold “star” lapel pin, a symbol of customer service excellence here in Ottawa and Canada’s Capital Region.

An independent panel of judges comprised of industry leaders decided among 22 finalists to award the ultimate “Star of the City 2015” as well as winners in the following 7 categories.

OTTAWA TOURISM’S 2015 STAR OF THE CITY
Grand Prize Sponsored by the Ottawa Gatineau Hotel Association
Steven Carnaffan (DJ Steve Austin)–Professional Entertainment Group

Steven Carnaffan’s story – 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.

GO THE EXTRA MILE Sponsored by: Ottawa International Airport Authority
Monclair Denis – Ottawa Marriott Hotel
Visiting from the USA, this guest became disoriented when looking for the parking garage that he’d parked his car in. Monclair took an hour and a half away from his bellman duties to drive the guest around the city looking for the garage. Once it was located, Monclair refused to take a tip from the grateful guest.

HOME AWAY FROM HOME Sponsored by: IHG
Bahador Ayoubzadeh – Blue Line Taxi
A passenger on a connecting flight to Newfoundland was denied boarding because his identification had expired. Among his many stops to get his license updated, he and his wife got in a taxi with Bahador. As Bahador learned about the elderly couple’s situation and how much money they’d already spent on transportation around the city, he took it upon himself to drive the couple for free. Bahador invited them into his home for a meal and followed up after their flight to ensure they had arrived home safely.

ABOVE & BEYOND Sponsored by: Casino du Lac-Leamy
Christopher Ward – Lord Elgin Hotel
Christopher noticed that the 13-year-old son of Australian guests seemed unexcited about being in Ottawa. Christopher created a scavenger hunt with a map and questions to find some of Ottawa’s famous landmarks. Over two days, the boy attempted to fulfil the challenge and checked in with Christopher with his progress. As promised, he received a special gift of chocolates from Christopher for all his efforts.

STARS WITH HEART Sponsored by: Rideau Centre
Steven Carnaffan (DJ Steve Austin) – Professional Entertainment Group
See above.

WHAT’S LOST IS FOUND Sponsored by: Algonquin College
Daniel Ouimet – Southway Hotel
When a cat went missing the morning its owners checked out, Daniel and his co-workers searched the entire hotel. When the cat finally appeared after her owners had flown back to Iqaluit, Daniel tried to find someone to take the cat on the next flight but there was no one staying at the hotel to do so. When the cage that Daniel bought was found to be unusable and the store was not open to get a replacement, he convinced an airline to bring the cat up in the cockpit.

EVENING STAR Sponsored by: Hendrix Restaurant Equipment and Supplies
Sumi Grewal – Grill 41 at the Lord Elgin Hotel
Here is a quote from one of Sumi’s nominations: “She made our visit personal and comfortable. Would definitely come back just based on her service.”

STAR PROPERTY Sponsored by: Ottawa Hotels of the Westmont Hospitality Group
Les Suites Hotel, Ottawa
“We stayed an extra night because of the amazing service.”

Category winners received a beautiful award along with a $250 Shop Card courtesy of CF Rideau Centre as well as a $75 gift card for Blue Cactus Bar & Grill. The overall 2015 Star of the City received an all-inclusive trip for two to the sunny south courtesy of the Ottawa Gatineau Hotel Association, an additional Shop Card courtesy of CF Rideau Centre and a gift card from Blue Cactus Bar & Grill.

Nominate a Star Today! »