Last night HI USA was honored for excellence in travel marketing with an Adrian Award from the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International.   It is both terrific recognition, and a tangible reminder of how far we have come.

IMG_0457The Adrian Awards are the Oscars of the hospitality industry, and last night’s black tie gala had that feel.  Evening dresses and tuxedos filled a downtown New York City ballroom as hospitality luminaries gathered to honor their own.  The invite list included a wide swath of the travel sector, headlined by the likes of Abercrombie and Kent, Hilton, Kimpton, Marriott, and Singapore Airlines.

HI USA was proudly in the room because of a decision made in 2011, when we realized that only a series of mergers unifying the organization would allow us the critical mass of talent and funding necessary to deliver our mission as a truly nationwide organization. A long standing lament at the time was the challenge of elevating our visibility in a marketplace jam-packed with others’ ideas and messages.  Simply, we needed to unify our resources to allow us to rise above the noise.

Well, that was then.

Adrian receptionHI USA received a prestigious “gold” Adrian Award for its work in developing and promoting the White House Travel Bloggers Summit in December 2014.   The Summit attracted top bloggers from around the country and successfully advanced two Administration priorities that also hold great importance to us:  global citizenship and study abroad. Envisaged by HI USA Advancement team member Netanya Trimboli, the Summit gave HI USA a new level of mission visibility in the intercultural exchange field and within college and university circles.

HI USA is blessed with talented and committed staff talent throughout our organization, in our hostels, our regions, and the Central Office, spanning administration and finance, advancement, and programs. Compared to others in the travel sector, we are a relatively small organization with disproportionately large aspirations.  In a very real way, this year’s Adrian award recognizes our spirit and resolve in moving forward our organization and our mission ideals.  Last night’s recognition is an achievement for all of us.