HLTA awards recognize the best in Hawaii’s hospitality industry
HONOLULU – Hawaii’s hospitality industry last week honored the best of the best of its employees at the 27th annual Na Po’e Pa’ahana (the hard-working people) Awards.
Nearly 1,000 employees, family members and industry representatives from throughout the state gathered for the luncheon ceremony that was sponsored by the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association (HLTA) and held at the Sheraton Waikiki Resort.
Mufi Hannemann, HLTA president and CEO, said, “We’re very proud to recognize the people who are the heart and soul of our visitor industry. They number in the tens of thousands across the state, and those we’re saluting today represent the finest among them. I’ve said many times before that while visitors are attracted by the four S’s – sun, sand, sea and surf – it’s really another ‘S,’ the spirit of aloha, that makes the greatest impression on people.
“The Na Po’e Pa’ahana honorees embody the aloha spirit at work and in the community, and we owe them a tremendous debt for their contributions to the success of our industry.”
A total of 14 awards were presented at the event, emceed by Hawaii State Sen. Glenn Wakai, Senate Tourism chair, and HLTA Director of Communications Alexandra Roth.
Lisalani Baybayan, Regency Club concierge at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa, was awarded the Outstanding Lodging Employee of the Year.
Baybayan was recognized for her personal acts of aloha, which include crocheting luggage tags for guests, picking up mailboxes for guests without transportation, as well as volunteering with the Charity Walk for 25 years.
Recipients of HLTA’s accolades are selected based on nominations submitted by their supervisors and co-workers, and are judged on the basis of outstanding and exceptional service to lodging guests, co-workers and the community.
This year’s Na Po’e Paahana Award winners and runners-up from Maui are: Outstanding Lodging Employee of the Year – ?first place, Lisalani Baybayan, Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa, and third place, Rosie Newton, The Westin Maui Resort & Spa; Manager of the Year – ?third place, Kenneth Duane Sparkman, The Westin Maui Resort & Spa; Food & Beverage Person of the Year – ?third place, Alona Watson, The Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort Villas; and Bell/Valet Person of the Year – ?third place, Ernesto Cabrera, Maui Beach Hotel.