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Spirit Award Nomination Tips

The Spirit Award is our highest form of brand-specific Team Member recognition.* It’s important that a nomination clearly and concisely conveys what makes a nominee special—and what sets them apart from others. Taking a few moments to follow these simple tips can help increase the overall impact and turn a good nomination into a great nomination.

1. Give Details.

Phrases like “Salvador goes above and beyond” tell us that your nominee is special, but they don’t provide sufficient detail. How does Salvador go above and beyond? Be sure to provide specific examples detailing what the nominee did to earn a nomination, and try to avoid generalities. For example:

“Salvador consistently goes above and beyond. When Mr. Vega, a non-English speaking guest, suddenly fell ill, Salvador arranged transportation to and from the hospital and notified the guest’s family. Being bilingual, Salvador also helped with translations over the phone, providing great comfort to the guest. Upon his return to the hotel, Salvador had a ‘Get Well Soon’ card waiting.”

See the difference? We’ve taken a generality (“Salvador goes above and beyond”), and expanded on it with an example that supports the statement.

2. Provide Multiple Examples.

While some Spirit Award winners have performed an amazing one-time feat, most Team Members win for multiple actions they perform on an ongoing basis.

“In addition, Salvador set up a program called ‘HHonors HHeroes,’ designed to recognize returning guests. On a guest’s tenth stay with us, they receive a gift basket, a card signed by the General Manager, and a small action figure that we refer to as the ‘HHonors HHero.’ On subsequent stays, the guests will find their ‘HHonors HHero’ and a card waiting for them.”

We now have multiple examples showing that Salvador regularly exceeds expectations. But don’t stop there. Try to include a minimum of three examples.

3. Show Results.

Now that you’ve included examples, it’s time to provide results. Did your SALT scores improve? Did you gain new or repeat business? Whenever possible, provide tangible results detailing how your nominee’s actions impacted guests, teammates, the hotel, or the community.

“Salvador’s ‘HHonors HHero’ program was instrumental in driving up HHonors Benefits scores 10%. Comment cards pour in regularly lauding Salvador. One Diamond guest, who was new to our hotel, told us that she was ‘overwhelmed’ by Salvador’s hospitality, and would be sure to return. That guest has since given the hotel more than $10,000 (US) in repeat business.”

If you’re having difficulty correlating the nominee’s actions to SALT scores or financial results, try sharing comment cards, soliciting testimonials from coworkers or managers, or speaking from personal experience. (e.g., “Salvador’s guest recognition program inspired other Team Members to take ownership of the guest experience.”)

4. Focus on the Exceptional.

The Spirit Award recognizes Team Members who go beyond their job description. A Front Desk Team Member who checks in a large group seamlessly or a Housekeeper who spotlessly cleans 14 rooms a day may not stand out as exceptional because this is a part of their everyday job.

“After checking in a large wedding party, Salvador was informed that the parents of the bride had not yet arrived. Their flight had been delayed, and they risked missing the wedding. Salvador took initiative and arranged for special transportation to get the parents from the airport to the church, ensuring that the parents were there for their daughter’s big moment.”

5. Recognize Brand Pillars.

The Spirit Award recognizes Team Members who live each brand’s unique pillars. As such, it helps to include examples that speak to this. For example, a Homewood nomination might say:

“Mr. Vega was WOWed by Salvador’s actions, and has since returned to our hotel many times, and always asks to see Salvador. This is just one example of his commitment to ‘Outrageously Pleasing Our Guests’ and ‘Be at home’ service.”

If you work at Hampton, try to speak to “Hamptonality” or “Moment Makers.” “If you work at Conrad,” include examples of “Flawless Service.” You get the idea.

While including examples may help a nomination, don’t try to force a connection to a pillar, and don’t feel like you have to include examples speaking to all pillars.

Follow these simple guidelines and you’ll write a nomination that shines as brightly as your nominee.

Make a nomination.


*The Spirit Award goes by different names and is called “Stay Inspired” at Conrad and “True Waldorf Service” at Waldorf Astoria.

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