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 2022 Hospitality Hero

2021 Hospitality Superheroes

View the video below to see the 2021 Superheroes and their “WOW” moment.


Byron Miller, ABM Aviation

Byron Miller has been recognized for going above and beyond in helping a disabled senior citizen standing alone at a gate. Byron saw her standing there alone and came to her aid. He let her know that her flight was canceled and walked her to the booking desk where two colleagues helped her get a direct flight the following morning. Byron stayed with her and helped the senior citizen’s daughter find her mother a hotel and even made sure that she had assistance getting to her gate the following morning.

Barb Hamilton, Explore St. Louis 

A man traveling from Australia, following a 24-hour trip, arrived for a three-month job training and had scheduled shuttle transportation as part of his reservation. He didn’t have a phone and asked if Barb could call for him. The phone messaging system at the hotel was not working correctly and when Barb finally reached someone at the hotel, they said there was no shuttle. Barb decided to try a nearby hotel and after a discussion with the front desk clerk at the Crowne Plaza Hotel St. Louis Airport, their shuttle driver said he’d be happy to come and pick the traveler up and deliver to another hotel property. Thanks to Barb, the exhausted traveler was back on his feet without any extra expense.

Pearletta Evans, Hudson & Associates

A customer’s mother-in-law flew into St. Louis Lambert International airport from Oregon, but her ride home (a three-hour drive) fell through. Pearletta, an employee at the information desk, decided to help the stranded woman, who is disabled and frequently has seizures. As the woman waited, Pearletta kept her company and even stayed beyond her shift time to help monitor the customer’s mother-in-law on a shuttle to a nearby hotel. Pearletta was the hero this family needed.


LaQuonna Anderson, Residence Inn St. Louis Downtown

More recently, a young couple was staying at our hotel while their prematurely newborn daughter was in care at the hospital. They hadn’t even had the opportunity to hold their daughter, and just learned they were able to take her home for the first time. The joy would be brief and bittersweet, as they were taking her home to hospice care. Having built a rapport with the couple during their stay, LaQonna identified their grief and reached out to offer her compassion. She listened to the mother intently and asked if she could get something for the baby to wear home. Soon after, LaQonna went out and bought multiple outfits for the child to wear home with her parents for the first time. 

Xavier Sanchis, The Ritz Carlton – St. Louis

A VIP businessman from Portugal came to St. Louis ahead of his family to be present during the birth of his son. During his time at the Ritz Carlton, he established several relationships, including one with Xavier, the Club Lounge concierge. A few days before his departure to Portugal, the guest had to send in paperwork to get a passport and documentation but was informed that the documents would be delivered three days late. After speaking with the guest, Xavier volunteered to go to the embassy in DC and pick up the documents. Xavier flew to DC, went to the embassy, picked up the documents and flew back to St. Louis on the same day. The guest was so touched by the service that he took a picture of his family with Xavier to always remember him.

Briana Greer, Hampton Inn St. Louis Downtown at the Arch

Briana has gone above and beyond for guests; it is one of her passions to make sure every guest has a great time in St. Louis. An example of Briana’s exemplary customer service is when she organized a surprise 70th birthday for a guest and even went in on her day off, decorating the room, bringing balloons and gifts for the guest.


Vanessa Adams, Marriott St. Louis Grand

Vanessa had been working doubles in Zenia Bar and Grille to accommodate a large group – Capital Sports- that had a total of 585 rooms. Towards the end of the group’s stay, it began to snow. As the snow fell, flights were canceled, and many guests were stuck in the hotel. None of the PM servers could make it in so Vanessa volunteered to stay and work the shift. The evening started out slow and as the guests began to realize that all the area restaurants were closed, they started to fill Zenia Bar and Grille. Vanessa maintained her positivity and was able to serve over 200 guests that night. Vanessa received glowing compliments for her attitude and performance.

Adam McBrady, Urban Chestnut Brewing Company

 Adam has numerous examples of WOW service experiences, but the one that stands out is the time he saved a baby from a locked car. In this instance, Adam was approached by a panicked mother who could not get to her baby, as her car door had accidentally shut and locked. Adam remained calm throughout the high-stress situation and was able to help the mother contact OnStar to unlock the vehicle. There are other countless guest reports of Adam going above and beyond, such as addressing unexpected problems and managing operations in the middle of a pandemic.

Keishonna Easter, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra

During one of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra concerts (SLSO) this spring, a mother brought her young daughter to a performance. Her daughter is disabled and typically the music is very soothing to her. Unfortunately, as the performance began, she became overwhelmed, and the mother was preparing to leave early and try again at another performance. Keishonna had been assisting the young family and wanted them to enjoy their first big night out. Immediately, Keishonna jumped into action – arranging chairs in a private location in their lobby, turning a monitor to live stream of the performance in a space that was more comfortable for them. She did so quickly and quietly, making sure the family felt welcome and at home. Her quick response and genuine care made the evening magical.  

Tiffany Peasel, Baileys’ Restaurants

Shortly after Bailey’s Range opened on a Saturday, a car came crashing into the front room. Tiffany, the General Manager, was standing just feet away at the host stand with several tables filled with shocked customers. Tiffany quickly sprang into action making sure everyone was okay and calling 911. Tiffany took the lead in calmly helping customers exit the building for their safety and rounded her team to make sure everyone was okay. Once she knew the building was structurally sound and the car was removed, she worked with first responders and the Bailey’s Range team to start cleaning up the huge mess. Tiffany handled this unthinkable moment with bravery, compassion, and true hospitality leadership.