Hospitality Heroes

The Hospitality Hero Recognition Program is the Explore St. Louis frontline employee recognition program designed to stimulate and reward exceptional service by hospitality industry employees. Frontliners who best exemplify our community’s ongoing commitment to great service are designated Hospitality Heroes.

Nominations are solicited from management of hospitality industry companies each June and judged by a panel of customer service experts. Of these nominations, the frontline employees who, in addition to giving high quality guest service, go a step farther to WOW a guest by rising to an unexpected occasion and pulling out all the stops to come to a positive and memorable resolution are named Super Heroes. Nominees are recognized annually during the Explore St. Louis Annual Meeting.

Nominate a 2016 Hospitality Hero today!

2015 Hospitality Super Heroes

View the video below to see the 2015 Super Heroes and their “WOW” moment.

Tim WesemannTim Wesemann, Usher

St. Louis Cardinals

A young woman approached an usher to inquire about getting a birthday message on the scoreboard. Since she had missed the forty-eight hour cut-off, the usher directed her to Tim, suggesting that he might be able to do something special. The woman explained the situation and Tim said he would figure out a way to celebrate. Upon his return, Tim brought a handmade card with a fake Yadier Molina autograph, gave her twenty-one cents, one cent for each year of her birth. And the entire section sang “Happy Birthday.”


Denise AlfredDenise Alfred, Front Desk Guest Service Agent
Drury Inn & Suites Convention Center

An elderly woman wandered into the Drury Convention Center after making the same trip to many downtown hotels. She didn’t remember the name of her hotel and her room key had no identifiable markings. Denise called a number of hotels to see if she could help and nearly came to a dead-end until she contacted the Missouri Athletic Club. The woman was indeed a guest. Denise then walked the woman back to the property.


Jeremiah EssmyerJeremiah Essmyer, Assistant General Manager
St. Louis Union STation Hotel, a DoubleTree by Hilton

A woman from the Korean FIRST Robotics team was wandering around the lobby area. She was upset and spoke little English. Jeremiah offered to help. After a number of phone and radio calls to hotel staff, it was determined that she was separated from her team – and they were already at the airport. The woman held the passports for the entire team. With only forty minutes to get her to the plane, Jeremiah dashed the woman off in his car and continued contact with the hotel staff to determine the team’s location. The woman was reunited with the team in time to make their flight.


Karen KrispinKaren Krispin, Director
Maryland Heights Convention & Visitors Bureau

Karen was volunteering for the bon voyage shift of the American Bus Association’s convention at the airport. During a break in the attendees’ departures, Karen came upon a young man struggling with a large amount of luggage. She got him a cart and through conversation, learned he was a soldier transferring to Hawaii. He wanted to call his mom, but didn’t have a phone or money to call. On top of this, he learned he had a twenty-four hour layover – something he wasn’t expecting. Karen checked him in to the USO and gathered some money to give the soldier from another volunteer, as well as her own.


Shawket BarwaryShawket Barwary, Guest Services Bellman
The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis

A young family checked into the Ritz-Carlton to attend a function. Shawket delivered the family to their room, pointing out the special amenities available. During their stay, the little girl was thrilled to have a hotel robe of her own. So upon check-out, she asked her dad if they could purchase one. He told her “maybe another time,” but armed with this “whisper request,” Shawket gathered together small gifts from the hotel, including a robe for the little girl and delivered it to the family’s home.


Judy TraskJudy Trask, Banquet Captain
Renaissance St. Louis Airport Hotel

During the cocktail hour of a wedding at the hotel, Judy noticed the wedding cake was leaning to one side. She quickly dug her hands into the cake, saving the top tiers. Judy set up the cake in a near-by room and dashed around the reception to get the photographer, and the bride and groom to pose for pictures cutting the cake. Just moments later, the cake fell apart. Now there was no cake for the guests, so Judy had the chef prepare desserts for a proper dinner ending.


Vatrina, Flora, Claire and Christine

Vatrina Strong, Event Captain; Flora Franklin, Bartender; Claire St. Pierre, Server; and Christine Roberts, Server

A tour operator was in St. Louis and wanted to entertain his clients at a venue that he rented through the Internet. Upon arrival, the venue didn’t resemble the photos he has seen online. He was incredibly upset, but the Patty Long Catering staff, headed by Captain Vatrina, sprang into action to create a space worthy of an upscale client event. They brought in couches, tables, lamps and chairs … down to hanging a piece of art on the wall. The client was amazed at the transformation.