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Gen Con to Stay in Indy Through 2015 April 7, 2009

Posted by ICVA Communications in Uncategorized.
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INDIANAPOLIS – “The Gamers” are staying in Indianapolis through at least 2015.  Gen Con, one of city’s biggest and most colorful annual conventions, has signed a five-year extension with the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association (ICVA) for 2011-15.

Billed as “the best four days in gaming,” Gen Con is in its 42nd year and has been in Indianapolis since 2003. It generates an annual attendance of more than 28,000 with estimated visitor spending at $26.9 million. Attendees include hobby game and science fiction enthusiasts who often dress the part of their favorite characters.  It also attracts more than 300 exhibitors and runs more than 5,000 events during the course of the show.

This year’s Gen Con convention takes place Aug. 13-16 and will occupy both the Indiana Convention Center and meeting space throughout downtown hotels. Expansion of the Indiana Convention Center by 2011 will provide Gen Con room for continued growth.

“Gen Con has been good for Indianapolis and Indianapolis has been great for Gen Con,” said Adrian Swartout, CEO of Seattle-based Gen Con LLC. “Our attendees love the city and how welcomed they are by everyone in the hotels, restaurants and venues.”

“Expansion of the Indiana Convention Center and future increases in our downtown hotel inventory were crucial components in achieving this extension with Gen Con,” said Don Welsh, ICVA president and CEO. “We are delighted to ensure its unique and lively presence in Indianapolis through 2015.”

Dates for the future Gen Cons are:  Aug. 4-7, 2011, Aug. 16-19, 2012, Aug. 15-18, 2013, Aug. 14-17, 2014 and July 30 – Aug. 2, 2015.

The mission of the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association is to advance Indianapolis tourism and economic growth.  The ICVA seeks to increase the number of visitors and their financial impact, expand positive perception of Indianapolis, and positively influence the visitor experience.  According to a Global Insight report, in partnership with D.K. Shifflet & Associates, 22 million visitors annually provide $3.56 billion in total annual economic impact of tourism on the Indianapolis economy resulting in 66,600 full-time equivalent employment positions in the hospitality industry.


Outstanding Hospitality Professionals Honored with Coveted ICVA ROSE Awards March 5, 2009

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INDIANAPOLIS – The Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association’s 18th annual ROSE Awards presented by United Water saluted 89 hospitality honorees at the Indiana Roof Ballroom tonight. More than 600 of their friends and professional associates joined Mayor Greg Ballard in congratulating the men and women who are the best of the best in the hospitality industry. The gala celebrates one of the greatest reasons why Indianapolis is known as an outstanding place to host meetings and events – excellence in customer service.

ROSE is an acronym that stands for Recognition Of Service Excellence. The ROSE Awards honor employees who positively influence a visitors’ experience in Indianapolis, whether through one-on-one contact or behind the scenes actions.

“What sets Indianapolis apart are our ROSE honorees and the thousands of others in the Indianapolis hospitality industry who make those one-on-one personal connections with our visitors and who give our city a face, a voice, a smile and a helping hand. Giving these people their due recognition is what the ROSE Awards are all about,” said Don Welsh, president and CEO of the ICVA.

Supervisors nominated honorees based on their courteous attitude, knowledge of the workplace and the city, ability to meet and exceed customer expectations and problem solving skills. These individuals have one-on-one contact with convention delegates, tourists, business travelers and meeting planners, or are behind-the-scenes people who positively influence a visitor’s experience. They represent their companies and city as true ambassadors of good will.

A panel of community leaders served as judges to select 12 individuals among the honorees as ROSE Award recipients for lifetime achievement and for exceptional service in their position. These recipients are showcased below.

As one of Indianapolis’ most important industries, tourism contributes an estimated $3.56 billion to the Marion County economy annually and supports more than 66,000 full time equivalent jobs.

The ROSE Awards will be televised locally on My-INDY TV on Saturday, March 14 at 7 p.m.


Kirstin “Kiki” Commons
Audio-Visual Technician
Markey’s Rental and Staging
While an employee of Markey’s, Commons is recognized for her work at one of Markey’s contractors, the National Collegiate Athletic Association. In nominating Commons, numerous NCAA employees variously praised her enthusiasm, poise and warmth. She also was cited for her attention to detail, adaptability and ability to meet deadlines in a fast-paced environment. A 2002 graduate of Ball State University, Commons has advanced from an entry level position as a hotel technician to working on-site daily at the NCAA’s national headquarters.

Darren Fish
Valet, Concierge
Towne Park
While an employee of Towne Park, Fish earned a ROSE Award for his work at two downtown hotels. At the valet ramp of the Omni Severin, Fish was cited for his enthusiastic welcomes and treatment of guests arriving by car. But he also works seven days a week at a second job as a concierge lounge attendant at the nearby Westin Indianapolis. Says his nominator, “If you want to understand why Indianapolis is revered for its hospitality,” you only need to see our ROSE Award winner in action.

Susana Galarza
Breakfast Hostess
Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites City Center
A nearly instant turnaround in breakfast service earned Susana Galarza ROSE Award recognition. “From the minute she started,” said her nominator at the Holiday Inn Express City Center. “The compliments began to roll in.” Galarza’s efforts eventually affected others. Her nominator wrote her “genuine caring attitude and dedication to excellent service spread amongst employees in every department in our hotel.”

One guest wrote, “I came down for breakfast the morning after a big sell off on Wall Street and an hour of CNN’s gloom and doom on the economy. She greeted me with a big smile and convinced me she had one of the best jobs in the world and was happy for all the opportunities this country had given her and what a great place it was to live. I needed that!”

Betty Garrison
Mass Ave Pub
With more than 40 years in the hospitality industry, Betty Garrison – described as “an Indianapolis icon” – is recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award. She has been a waitress at the Mass Ave Pub for seven years. She previously worked at the Lamplighter, Cozy and Distillery. Her current employer cited Garrison for an immediate increase in lunchtime business because of the contacts she had built up over the years. “Her genuine concern for people, unwavering positivity and friendly approach draw people to her. She is one in a million and I’m privileged to spend every Monday through Friday lunch with her,” her nominator wrote. A former employer called Garrison, “the best waitress I’ve ever seen in nearly 30 years of being in the restaurant and bar business.”

Nicki Kasting
Museum Store Clerk
Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art
Nicki Kasting’s employer cited her determination to keep working after suffering personal injury in an automobile accident and again after her home and belongings were destroyed in the June floods. She has been with the Eiteljorg for 17 years, and works in the Museum’s store. She is credited with her knowledge of American Indians and Western art and culture and a gift for communication and humor. As an example of exceptional customer service, Kasting received a phone call from a customer desperately looking for a special Christmas gift, then drove through an ice storm to personally deliver the gift. Her nominator also cited Kasting as being both for the Eiteljorg and the entire city, enthusiastically providing visitors information on other attractions or offering dining suggestions.

Robert Linehan
Lead Server
Pullman’s Restaurant at the Crowne Plaza at Historic Union Station
Linehan is honored for exceptional service. An employee at Pullman’s for seven years, he has quickly advanced from bussing tables to lead server, where he now is charged with training others on the wait staff. One guest told hotel management that Linehan is “the best server I ever have encountered.” His nominator said Linehan’s “sincere and caring attitude is unparalleled. He is a truly great person and a star in our industry. He represents what the entire staff at our hotel works to achieve every day, which is complete customer satisfaction.” Linehan stated that his favorite day to work each year is Thanksgiving because he wants to help his guests feel at home away from home on the holiday. Linehan was the March, 2008, associate of the month and the 2008 Associate the Year at the Crowne Plaza. He has worked in the hospitality industry for 10 years.

Nikki Miller
Renaissance Indianapolis North
Nikki Miller is being recognized for her outstanding efforts in hosting the concierge lounge at the new Renaissance Indianapolis North. The hotel general manager labeled her as “guest-centric.” One of the guests wrote to say, “She is the best concierge I’ve ever seen in any hotel I’ve ever stayed. I will be back because of her.”

This from another guest: “She is hands down the best hostess I have ever come across in a Marriott property anywhere. I have never come across a hostess as efficient and excellent in their job as she is.”

And finally, “As a business traveler who looks for the little extra touches that differentiate, she is what differentiates this property. Congratulations to the management team for having the foresight to hire a person who has the ability to draw each of us back to this property.” Nikki is a 15-year veteran of the hospitality industry, and joined the Renaissance when it opened a year ago. She was honored as the hotel’s first associate of the month.

Donna Nicholson
The Capital Grille
This ROSE Award winner was recognized, in part, for stepping forward to help family and friends of a wounded Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer. A server at The Capital Grille at the Conrad Indianapolis, Nicholson arranged with the chef to have 30 meals prepared, and then delivered them to Wishard Hospital where the family of critically wounded officer Jason Fishburn was gathering for a nightly vigil. Her nominator wrote that this outreach to others is typical of Nicholson, who “helps us live our core values and, as a certified trainer, helps us to teach our core values and service standards to the rest of our team.” Her employer says they receive numerous letters from guests praising her jovial, engaged tableside manners. With 25 years in the hospitality industry, Nicholson qualifies for Lifetime Achievement recognition.

AJ Rea
Personal Shopper
Nordstrom’s at Circle Centre
AJ Rea is honored for providing extraordinary customer service in her role as a personal shopper. A four-year employee of Nordstrom, she was cited for providing “exceptional shopping experience that is fun and memorable.” One customer wrote that Rea made her feel “like a new woman.” Beyond her duties as personal shopper at Nordstom, AJ also conducts Dress for Success seminars, helping instill confidence in young women who are beginning their professional careers. Nordstrom also recognized AJ as a customer service all-star in 2008.

Shirley Rameses
Journey Ambassador
Hilton Indianapolis
Shirley Rameses is recognized for outstanding service to both guests and staff at the Hilton Indianapolis. Her nominator wrote, “She has this infectious, upbeat, outgoing, all-is-right-with-the-world attitude that lifts the spirits of everyone she comes in contact with. Time and again, we received positive feedback and hear about great experiences attributed to her caring and hospitable personality. A guest commented that her hotel stay had been the best she’d ever had because of Rameses’s “sensitive and caring actions.” Another guest relayed how a wedding day was saved when Rameses mended a torn wedding dress. A conference planner said the hotel had his business “for life” because of her warmth and personality. And still another guest wrote Rameses to say, “You were used by God to lift my spirits.” Rameses has spent seven years in the hospitality industry, all with the Hilton Indianapolis.

Leslie Reimmer
Loss Prevention Officer
Indianapolis Marriott Downtown
Leslie Reimmer is honored because of her energy, positive attitude and willingness to do whatever it takes to ensure outstanding customer service. Beyond her role in loss prevention, her nominator said it’s not uncommon to see Reimmer helping the housekeeping staff, cleaning the lobby, giving guests directions or assisting the valet in parking cars. In her role in loss prevention, she once dug through the trash to find some important personal papers a guest had left behind. On another occasion, when a young boy had come to Indianapolis to do holiday shopping with his parents lost the money he had saved for the occasion, Reimmer took up an impromptu collection and delivered a small amount of money –along with cookies – to the youngster’s hotel room (the boy’s money later was found). Reimmer has been with the Marriott Downtown five years, also working as a hostess, in the front office and as a concierge. Overall, she has been in the hospitality industry more than 15 years.

Henry Robinson
Bell Captain and Concierge
Indianapolis Marriott East
Numerous testimonials from hotel guests enabled Henry Robinson to be honored with a ROSE Award. One guest noted that when she arrived at the Marriott East with her elderly mother, Robinson unloaded her mother’s wheelchair, helped her inside and fetched a glass of iced tea while family members checked in. Upon learning of the lady’s recent eye surgery, Robinson then went to the gift shop and purchased a satin sleep mask for the woman. Finally, after hearing it was her 85th birthday, he improvised a birthday cake and had the staff join in singing happy birthday.

Another guest wrote of Robinson, “It was almost like being some sort of royalty or Hollywood star, with him acting as your ambassador. What a real gem of an employee.” Said another guest: “I want to single out the bellman. He was so attentive I could swear he was assigned as my personal concierge.” And this from another: “He is the best asset of Marriott Hotels and Resorts. He is now my angel and the Marriott’s angel. He deserves acknowledgement and appreciation. I also recommend a pay raise.” Robinson has been with the Indianapolis Marriott East for one year and is in his fourth year in the hospitality industry.

INDIANAPOLIS HOTELS RATED NO. 1 IN U.S.; Customers of www.hotel.info Rate Indy as Best Value February 19, 2009

Posted by ICVA Communications in Uncategorized.
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INDIANAPOLIS – Customers of a German-based worldwide hotel reservation service have rated Indianapolis hotels the best value in the United States.

Hotel.info asked 600,000 customers who use its booking service for 3- and 4-star hotels, “How happy are you with the service you received in relation to the money you paid?” Guests contributed their rating of value for money using a points based system (from 0 to 10) to produce its “Hotel Value for Money Index.”

Indianapolis, at 8.54, was at the top of American cities surveyed. Trailing Indianapolis were Minneapolis, Las Vegas, Seattle and Philadelphia.

The next 10 were Atlanta, Dallas, San Diego, Miami, Washington, D.C., Denver, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Houston.

Among international cities, Tokyo was rated first, followed by Lisbon and Prague.

Hotel.info regularly compares guest reviews of the value for money provided by 3- and 4-star hotels for the purposes of the survey.  hotel.info customer reviews now number approximately 600,000, with more than 1,000 new reviews being added every day.

Those wishing to view the release can go to http://www.hotel.de/media/Presse/Price_Quality_USA.pdf.

Conrad Indianapolis Named to Conde Nast Traveler Gold List January 9, 2009

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Conrad Indianapolis has taken it one step further in being named at the top of the charts by Condé Nast Traveler’s Gold List. The Gold List features the best hotels worldwide, and this year, Conrad Indianapolis received the distinction among 710 other hotels and resorts internationally.

The Gold List is one step beyond the previous award that Conrad Indianapolis received in 2007 and 2008 through Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards as a Top 100 U.S. Mainland Hotel.

The Gold List is based on data collected from the annual Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Survey; to qualify for inclusion in these top-tier rankings, a property had to receive a required minimum number of responses and a minimum overall score.

“As we are approaching our third year anniversary as Indianapolis’ luxury hotel, recognitions such as these validate our hotel brand worldwide, and also validates Indianapolis as a destination, “said general manager, Greg Tinsley. “It is with great admiration of our team members and our city, that we accept this award amongst the other exotic and reputed resorts also named to the Gold List.”

Future Men’s Final Four Sites Announced November 20, 2008

Posted by ICVA Communications in Events, Uncategorized.
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INDIANAPOLIS – A process that Division I Men’s Basketball Committee Chair and Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive indicated was as grueling and competitive as selecting teams for the men’s basketball championship concluded Wednesday with the announcement of the following host cities for the 2012-16 Men’s Final Fours:

March 31/April 2, 2012
New Orleans, LA
Louisiana Superdome
April 6/8, 2013
Atlanta, GA
Georgia Dome
April 5/7, 2014
North Texas (Arlington/ Dallas/ Fort Worth)
Cowboys Stadium
April 4/6, 2015
Indianapolis, IN
Lucas Oil Stadium
April 2/4, 2016
Houston, TX
Reliant Stadium