Pennie Beach, Cindy Delaney, Johannes among Travel Industry honorees

Vermont’s tourism industry professionals gathered this week in South Burlington for the 32nd annual Vermont Travel Industry Conference (VTIC). Together, they celebrated the success of their peers with six awards; two presented by the Vermont Travel Industry Conference and four presented by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce. The awards ceremony was emceed by Alan Hebert, board member and treasurer of VTIC, Inc., and strategic planning manager of hospitality and ski areas at Efficiency Vermont.

Vermont Travel Industry Conference Awards:

1. Governor’s SMART Award for Creative Marketing in Tourism: WCAX “Leafie” Campaign

Alan Hebert (Efficiency Vermont) and Megan Smith (Vermont Department of Travel & Tourism Commissioner) present the award to Trevor Audet, far right. Photo Credits: David Burnell, Vermont Tourism

The SMART Award honors a tourism-related business, region, association, special event, travel journalist or other, which has leveraged the Vermont Brand through creative, innovative and customer focused marketing.

The “Leafie” campaign invited WCAX viewers and followers to submit pictures of fall foliage from around the region. WCAX collected hundreds of photos and shared them using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and television. The campaign peaked at over 30,000 likes, comments and shares. The award was accepted by digital producer Trevor Audet, “Leafie” campaign manager.

2. Vermont Travel Person of the Year: Pennie Beach, Basin Harbor Club

The Travel Person of the Year exemplifies an ongoing dedication to what makes Vermont such a special place to visit, and contributes significantly to Vermont's Travel & Tourism Industry.

Pennie Beach is general manager and 4th generation host of the Basin Harbor Club in Vergennes, Vt. Pennie has been a mentor, influencer and spokesperson for the tourism industry. Her resume spans over 40 years, and includes Board leadership for the Snelling Center, the Vermont Business Roundtable, Vermont Chamber of Commerce Tourism Committee, the American Hotel and Lodging Associations Resort Committee, the Vermont Historical Society, Addison County Hospice, Vermont Life Magazine, New England Inns & Resort Association and many more.

Vermont Chamber of Commerce Hospitality Awards:

1. Borden E. Avery Innkeeper of the Year: Johannes von Trapp, Trapp Family Lodge

The Borden E. Avery Innkeeper of the Year Award is designed specifically for individuals who continue to demonstrate excellence in the operation and management of a Vermont bed & breakfast, inn or hotel.

Johannes von Trapp of the Trapp Family Lodge is the 10th and youngest child of Baron Georg von Trapp. His family, who was the inspiration behind the movie and musical The Sound of Music, has been housing guests at their 2,500 acre property in Stowe, Vt. for nearly 65 years.

2. Chef of the Year: Chef Shawn Calley, The Essex Resort & Spa

The Chef of the Year Award recognizes an individual with a proven history of supporting Vermont’s agricultural economy through the use of local food and products.

Chef Shawn Calley and the Essex Resort & Spa focus on souring local ingredients and livestock, from as near as their own backyard. In accepting the award for Chef of the Year, Shawn mentioned that he doesn’t buy local food with the sole purpose of supporting local business, he also buys locally because he believes it’s the best product; it’s what’s fresh and in season.

3. Restaurateurs of the Year: Ted Tyler and Pixley Tyler Hill, Red Clover Inn & Restaurant

The Restaurateurs of the Year Award honors restaurateurs who continue to demonstrate excellence in the operation and management of a restaurant in Vermont.

At the Red Clover Inn & Restaurant in Mendon, Vt., siblings Ted Tyler and Pixley Tyler Hill offer locally-sourced cuisine in an elegant atmosphere. Outside of the inn and restaurant, they have spent time at the state house, being champions for Vermont’s tourism industry, and advocating for clean water as part of the Clean and Clear Action Plan. Ted and Pixley are also co-owners of the Tyler Place, a family resort in Highgate Springs, Vt.

4. Allied Member of the Year: Cindy Delaney, Delaney Meeting & Event Management

The Allied Member of the Year Award is designed for an individual who is a leader in supporting and promoting the hospitality industry in Vermont.

Cindy Delaney is president and CEO of Delaney Meeting & Event Management in Burlington, Vt. Cindy’s firm has been the event organizer for the Vermont Travel Industry Conference since 1999 and been involved in the conference since 1991. For nearly 20 years, Cindy has been a Vermont Chamber of Commerce member and her firm annually supports the Chamber in planning the Business and Industry Expo. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Queen City Police Foundation, the Vermont Convention Bureau, and the Cancer Patient Support Program. Delaney Meeting & Event Management assists in the success of nearly 60 events a year, locally, regionally, and nationally.

“In presenting these awards, we celebrate the hospitality and tourism industry’s vast contributions to the state economy, and acknowledge these award winners as stand-out achievers within the industry,” said Tori Ossola, Vice President of Tourism for The Vermont Chamber of Commerce. “These are the individuals who enhance Vermont’s iconic brand.”

The Vermont Travel Industry Conference draws one of the largest gatherings of tourism professionals in the state including owners, managers and employees of the many businesses connected to this important segment of the economy. Over 200 professionals and students participated in this year’s conference.

Source: VTIC. April 1, 2015.