Daily News

Howdy Awards Program Calls for Nominations

SPRINGFIELD — Through March 1, the Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau (GSCVB) is providing an opportunity to thank individuals who provide great service by nominating them for a Howdy Award for Hospitality Excellence. To nominate someone, visit explorewesternmass.com and click on the Howdy logo.

For 25 years, the Howdy Awards for Hospitality Excellence program has recognized outstanding restaurant servers, attraction attendants, bartenders, hotel personnel, retail clerks, and others across Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin counties. Official categories include accommodations, attractions, banquets and meetings, beverage, food casual, food tableside, public service, retail, transportation, and people’s choice (a category voted on by the public via social media).

“It’s amazing how popular the Howdy Awards have become, and we work hard to keep that momentum going,” said GSCVB President Mary Kay Wydra. “We started this out over 25 years ago in the hopes we’d help attract some media attention for the hundreds of good frontline folks who meet and greet visitors every day, and it simply took off.”

Since the program’s inception, she noted, dozens of winners have taken home a trophy from the annual awards dinner. This year’s dinner is Monday, May 18 at the MassMutual Center in Springfield.

The path to the winner’s podium begins with a nomination from someone — sometimes a business or leisure traveler but many times a local resident — who felt they’d been noticeably well-treated by a hospitality staff person. Nominations trigger a response by the GSCVB back to the nominee’s employer, seeking more information on the person. Those receiving the strongest feedback may be elevated by the Howdy Awards committee to finalist status. Finalists are ultimately assessed by a three-person panel of judges selected from well outside Western Mass. to ensure impartiality, and those scoring the best earn top honors.

Howdy sponsors for 2020 include Yankee Candle Village, Eastern States Exposition, Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, MGM Springfield, MassMutual Center, Aladco Linen Service, Freedom Credit Union, New Belgium Fat Tire, Baystate Health, People’s United Bank, iHeartMedia, WWLP, the Republican, and MassLive.