The Stevie Awards Blog

A Kitchen on Wheels Proved to Be the Ultimate Recipe for Success

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Thu, Jul 19, 2018 @ 10:14 AM

There’s tailgating, and then there’s tailgating.

Meet MAXimus. He’s a 70-foot tractor-trailer outfitted with an elaborate kitchen, self-leveling stage, three giant screens, and multiple high-definition cameras. All this combines to create the ultimate go-anywhere culinary experience.

MAX (short for “mobile activation x-perience”) drew huge crowds at several culinary festivals, and it even became a favored playground for the likes of Food Network host Jeff Mauro. Chef Gordon Ramsay saw MAX as the perfect sidekick for his show 24 Hours to Hell and Back, which debuts this summer on Fox, the popular US network TV channel.

Innovative groupTo the experiential marketing firm that created MAX, he means even more than that; he’s the future. The U.S.-based Innovative Group (IG) developed the colossal cooking rig as part of its effort to push the envelope and to develop new revenue streams.

With offices in Miami, Florida, United States, the company specializes in providing immersive marketing experiences, and they have close to two decades of experience doing so. The team developed a virtual reality program for both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure at Disney Land, and they helped American Express engage audiences in Las Vegas by hiring a local illusionist to use its credit card in a physics-defying display. Its solutions have appeared everywhere from Super Bowl LI in Houston, Texas, United States, to the Major League Baseball All-Star Game last year in Miami.

“We create experiences by specializing in submersive, experiential marketing programs. These fuel and even change perceptions about a brand—all while fostering lasting relationships at every opportunity,” says Camie Dunbar, the agency’s director of marketing/experiences. “Couple that with a passion for bringing communities together in distinctively customized and uniquely engaging ways, and you’ve got a recipe for the fantastical.”

The company, now with 87 employees, prizes outside-the-box thinking as part of its DNA. Its management team, however, wanted to take this a step further and encouraged employees to create an entirely new offering capable of shaking up the industry.

The result was three unique mobile assets the company can rent out to marketers for events and even TV programs. In addition to MAX, the team dreamed up DRAFT (the “dynamic restaurant aboard fire truck”). This features two huge Southern Pride smokers, a flattop grill, and 12 beer taps.

Rounding out the fleet is GameDay Traditions (GDT), a hospitality platform that gives event and festival guests the VIP treatment with its homey atmosphere and luxurious amenities.

“Rather than rely on traditional means of advertising and marketing, companies are always looking for the next way to create memorable experiences,” Dunbar says. “For this reason, we are always looking for ways to help our clients stand out in a sea of competitors, and that is why we created our very own exclusive assets.”

The bold investment proved to be a huge success. IG evolved from a service-only agency to a company with $2 million in rentable assets—a category that continues to grow. It also helped the company, founded in 2000, earn a Gold Stevie Award for Business Development Achievement of the Year in the 2018 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service.

Dunbar says the IG staff members discovered the Stevies while Googling prestigious award opportunities where they could submit the game-changing program. Dunbar sees the company leveraging this new accolade as a powerful marketing tool.

“It means we can let our current and future clients know what separates us from the other boutique agencies out there,” Dunbar says. “We are the proud recipient of a Gold Stevie Award, and that's what makes us different.”

Tags: innovation awards, sales awards, business development

The 2018 Stevie Awards for Great Employers Final Deadline Extended through August 9

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Thu, Jul 19, 2018 @ 09:30 AM

The Stevie® Awards, organizer of the Stevie Awards for Great Employers, announced today that the final entry deadline for the third annual competition has been extended to Thursday, August 9. The Stevie Awards for Great Employers honors the world’s best companies to work for and the HR teams and professionals, HR achievements, new products and services and suppliers that help to create and drive great workplaces.

SAGE 2017 new
“We’ve received so many requests for individual deadline extensions that we’ve decided to extend the deadline for everyone,” said Stevie Awards president Michael Gallagher. The original final deadline was July 18. Gallagher emphasizes that no additional late fees will be charged for entries submitted through August 9, and late entries will not be penalized in the judging process. All organizations now have three more weeks to prepare and submit their entries.

REVIEW THE ENTRY KIT HERE.

All individuals and organizations worldwide—public and private, for-profit and non-profit, large and small—may submit nominations to the Stevie Awards for Great Employers. The 2018 awards will honor achievements since the beginning of 2017. Entry details are available at www.StevieAwards.com/HR.

Stevie Award winners in the 35 Employer of the Year categories will be determined by a unique blending of the ratings of professionals and the votes of the general public. Public voting will open on July 23.

The Stevie Awards for Great Employers will recognize achievement in many facets of the workplace. Categories include:

  • Employer of the Year
  • HR Achievements
  • HR Individual Awards
  • HR Team Categories
  • Solution Provider Awards
  • More than 50 New Product & Service Categories

Close to 100 professionals worldwide, working on a number of juries, will determine the Stevie Award winners. Finalists will be announced on August 15. Gold, Silver and Bronze Stevie Award winners will be announced at a gala event in New York City on September 21.

Tags: hr awards, new product awards, best new product or service, best new products, employer of the year

Wedding Cake Delivery Device Prevents Three Tier Tumbles

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Thu, Jul 12, 2018 @ 09:18 AM

A wedding cake is that rare culinary creation that customers remember for years to come. Naturally, bakers pour their hearts into every delicious detail, whether it’s a pattern of elaborate swirls or elegant, sugary flowers.

Then, of course, they have to transport their handiwork to the reception. That’s where things can get scary. Each unexpected stop or dip in the road has the potential to turn a masterpiece into mush.

Juli Chapin knows this as well as anyone. In the late 1980s, she started a bakery specializing in wedding cakes in the Northeast region of the United States, and she sympathizes with bakers who have to deal with this precarious transport situation. Traditionally, people like her would put each cake tier into a cardboard box and stack the tiers, one on top of the other, at the venue.

cakesafe“It’s extremely nerve-racking and limits the designs you can create since the majority of the decoration needs to be applied to the stacked cake,” she says. “Bakers have even shut down their wedding cake businesses due to the high stress involved in transportation and the risk of being sued by a bride if something happens to the cake in delivery.”

An Invention Is Born

In Chapin’s case, it helped being married to an engineer who had a knack for solving tricky problems around the house. Upon hearing about her transit issues, her husband, Scott, came up with a clever solution: a rigid container with a stainless steel dowel that ran through the center of the cake to keep it nice and secure. Thanks to a double-walled exterior, it also protected the contents from rain, wind, and scorching summer heat.

For a long time, the couple simply saw it as a convenient solution to their own business problem. The results, however, were so good (in 20 years, Chapin never had a cake damaged on its way to a reception) that they started wondering if the contraption had a broader appeal.

In 2009, the Rhode Island couple started marketing the device to bakeries around the country as the “CakeSafe.” From the start, it was clear they had struck a chord with a lot of bakeries when showing off their invention.

Chapin recalls the early days, when Scott worked around the clock at their home to keep up with demand.

“He’d run his CNC table all night long making products for orders that needed to be shipped the next day,” she says. “He'd hear the machine stop, pause the movie he was watching, and go downstairs to set up the next run on the table.”

Despite the hard work, Chapin says it’s been satisfying to help people in the same situation she was once in.

“Bakers now deliver to mountaintop venues in the snow, down gravel roads with potholes, and on congested highways, all with no stress at all.”

One baker told the couple that she slammed on her brakes on the way to an event, causing her CakeSafe to flip over in the car. She expected to see a pile of crumbs inside but instead found the dessert perfectly intact.

“We've received many phone calls from bakers crying tears of joy because they were able to reopen their wedding cake businesses or grow their businesses because they no longer had any fear of delivery,” says Chapin, who eventually scaled back her own bakery to focus on CakeSafe.

Stevie Award Is Icing on the Cake

Since starting the business nearly a decade ago, Scott hasn’t stopped innovating. The company now offers CakeSafe in a variety of sizes; a safe for cupcakes; spray booths for airbrushing desserts; and a host of other baking implements.

“Scott genuinely loves inventing products to help bakers and to make their lives easier,” Chapin says of her husband, who recently won a Silver Stevie® Award for Product Developer of the Year in The 2018 American Business Awards® . “He never turns down a custom order and is constantly inventing new product lines.”

The company’s reputation within the industry belies its small staff, which only recently moved out of the Chapins’ home into a separate location.

“Whenever customers call the office and Scott or I pick up the phone, they tend to clam up,” she says. “They might say, ‘I never expected to get to talk to you. I'm talking to a celebrity!’ Little do they know, we are only a team of six.”

To this day, the company handcrafts all CakeSafe products, but it’s all a labor of love.

“All the employees have such a passion for their jobs,” she notes. “Scott is a big reason for that.”

It’s gratifying, Chapin notes, for her spouse—and the business he started—to get the extra attention.

“Scott is a brilliant and caring man who deserves to be recognized for his outstanding achievements in the bakery product field,” she says proudly. “Winning a Stevie further legitimizes the company so customers can rest assured their products are coming from a reputable source.”

Tags: new product awards, best new products

The Stevie Awards Issues Call for Entries in 15th Annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Mon, Jul 09, 2018 @ 09:30 AM

The Stevie® Awards, organizer of the world’s premier business awards programs, has issued the call for entries for its 2018 (15th annual) Stevie Awards for Women in Business. Entry kits and complete details on the competition are available at http://www.StevieAwards.com/Women.

The awards are produced by the creators of the prestigious American Business Awards® and International Business Awards®.

Women in Biz 18 3The Stevie Awards for Women in Business honor the achievements of working women in more than 90 categories, including Entrepreneur of the Year, Executive of the Year, Mentor or Coach of the Year, Lifetime Achievement Award, Achievement in Equal Pay, Women Helping Women, Employee of the Year, Woman-Owned or -Run Company of the Year and Innovator of the Year. All female entrepreneurs, executives, employees and the organizations they run, worldwide, are eligible to be nominated.

The final entry deadline is August 22, but late entries will be accepted through September 28 with payment of a late fee. Finalists will be announced on October 4, and the Gold, Silver and Bronze Stevie winners will be revealed at a gala awards dinner at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel in New York on November 16, 2018.    

Most categories require the payment of an entry fee for the submission of a nomination, but several categories require no fee, including most of those honoring women in the non-profit and governmental sectors, Female Employee of the Year and the Startup of the Year categories.

Marty Stanley, President of Dynamic Dialog and a 2017 Silver Stevie winner, said of her win: “Winning a Stevie Award is really fabulous because 18 years ago I left the corporate world to start out on my own, and I wanted to start coaching. People would ask me “Can you really make a living doing that?” so receiving the Stevie Award for Executive Coaching and Coach of the Year is testament to my personal success. The Stevie Awards raise the bar for every industry so women can keep making a difference in all organizations.”

Other winners of the 2017 Stevie Awards for Women in Business included, among others: 

  • Amy Tiller, Co-Founder and President of Growth, Inspired Results, Portland OR, USA
  • Inga Hlin Palsdottir, Director of Visit Iceland and Creative industries, Promote Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland
  • Marsha Couch, CFO, Creating Lodging Solutions, Lexington KY, USA
  • Kerry Small, Head of Customer Service Operations, Vodafone PLC Group Enterprise, Newbury, United Kingdom
  • June Howards, SVP Financial Services and Chief Accounting Officer, Aflac, Columbus, GA USA
  • Galileo Research and Strategy Consultancy, New York, NY USA
  • Simple Mills, Chicago, IL USA
  • Tavuu Welfare Associate, Karachi, Pakistan
  • She Prosperity, Auckland, New Zealand
  • Sari Bari Private Limited, Kolkata, India
  • Microsoft, Redmond, WA USA
  • Travelzoo, New York, NY USA

The 2017 Gold, Silver and Bronze Stevie Award winners reflected a diverse group of large and small organizations around the globe. The 2018 Stevie Awards for Women in Business will be judged by more than 200 leading professionals around the world, and nominees will have access to all of the judges’ comments and suggestions about their nominations: an invaluable resource.

Tags: marketing awards, Female Entrepreneur of the Year, female entrepreneurs, women entrepreneur awards, women helping women

Stevie Winner Makes Employee Happiness Possible at all Companies

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Thu, Jul 05, 2018 @ 11:31 AM

It’s a well-known business adage that happier workers are more productive workers, and lately a lot of evidence has emerged to prove it. An experiment at Britain’s University of Warwick, for example, showed that more satisfied employees were, on average, 12% more productive than their peers.

This also happens to be the philosophy behind a growing Australian firm Career Money Life. The tech company, based in Melbourne, Australia, is making it easier for businesses to support their employees’ personal and professional needs through its innovative platform.

Clients can choose between hundreds of different pre-vetted and peer-reviewed services and service providers for their employees, including everything from career transition and parental leave to financial education and rewards programs.

By evaluating the third-party providers ahead of time, Career Money Life won the Gold Stevie Award for Innovative Use of Technology in Human Resources in the 2018 Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards. They say clients are able to enjoy a more consistently positive experience. The company boasts that employers save considerable time and money because the platform removes the administrative work associated with vetting, paying, and managing suppliers.

career money lifeA Simple, Comprehensive Platform

For Sandy Hutchison, the company’s founder, the perilous nature of the modern workplace became all too apparent in 2013. A successful veteran of the human resources field, she was a partner at Mercer and served as HR director at the Marsh & McLennan Companies. Even so, her company cast her as “redundant,” and she was suddenly faced with the uncertainty many unemployed workers feel.

Hutchison’s experience in HR led her to believe that most companies simply didn’t have the resources to manage multiple service providers to help employers in her situation. She saw Career Money Life as the solution: a pre-vetted list of offerings that companies could adopt with significantly less time and effort.

The firm’s marketing proposition is all about simplicity. Employers get to choose the programs and services they want to offer, and they set a budget for each worker. Clients can manage their spending limits, invoices, and account activity directly through the portal.

“Compared to other professions, the uptake of digital technology and its capability in HR has been quite slow,” says Hutchison, who continues to serve as the company’s top executive. “We feel our progress to date has shown that HR is slowly starting to adopt digital technology and realize its benefits.”

Since its inception in 2014, the organization’s rise has been nothing short of remarkable. Proving to be a breakthrough year, 2018 has seen the onboarding of several high-profile clients, including New Crest Mining, the wealth management provider MLC, and the online apparel and art retailer Redbubble.

A Bigger Role for Women

Given its mission, it’s fitting that Career Money Life has tried to make work-life balance part of its ethos. Hutchison says her employees are encouraged to pursue outside interests, including travel, family, and educational pursuits. She also adopts a flexible approach when it comes to working remotely. The company allows team members to be wherever they want, as long as they’re able to perform well.

“At Career Money Life, we built the business from its inception to operate in a virtual way, leveraging all the digital tools and technology available to make us lean and efficient,” says Hutchison. “This approach is successful for us, due primarily to our clear processes and use of collaborative technology, which ensure everyone is aware of what is happening.”

Not surprisingly, the female-led firm cites inclusion as one of its primary values. It not only offers its clients programs for parental leave and diversity, but it’s building a workforce that takes those issues to heart.

Hutchison is also using her platform as a successful businesswoman to advance female leaders across the country. To that end, she holds board positions on the Australian Gender Equality Council and Women and Leadership Australia.

She’s hoping the Stevie Award shows other women how much they can accomplish.

“Through the recognition we receive, I want to inspire more females to try tech entrepreneurship, even if they don’t come from tech backgrounds,” she says.

Tags: hr awards, Human Resources Team of the Year

Bills From Health Care Providers Are No Longer Confusing With Stevie-Winner Patagonia Health

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Thu, Jun 28, 2018 @ 10:59 AM

Effective Software in a Rapidly Evolving Industry

Patagonia Health Inc. offers cloud-based and app-based software solutions for health care providers. This includes integrated, federally certified Electronic Health Record (EHR), Practice Management (PM), and billing software.

The innovative software is easy to use and affordable, and it also addresses the customer’s biggest problem: billing. The apps provide timely data that allow organizations to improve workflow, streamline operations, and take their organizations to the next level.


Because government regulations drive the EHR market, most health care agencies have a difficult time keeping up with the changes. Patagonia Health helps clients stay up to date by advancing the software to comply with the regulations and to further customer support with excellent and accessible customer service.

Expert Beginnings

patagonia healthPatagonia Health was founded in 2008 in Cary, North Carolina, USA, by three expert software and computer engineers: Mr. Ashok Mathur, Mr. Abhi Muthiyan, and Ms. Sonali Luniya.

Luniya, the current vice president of customer experience, earned her PhD in electrical and computer engineering from North Carolina State University in 2006, and she earned her BE in computer engineering from Pune Institute of Computer Technology, Pune, India, in 2000. She began her career in the telecommunications industry and developed her analytic and software engineering skills here.

Abhi Muthiyan, the CTO, has an MBA in new product development from North Carolina State University and a BS in computer engineering from the College of Engineering, Pune, India. He began his career working for Symantec, where he identified potential product opportunities. As an architect and innovator, he designs products and features that solve real business problems.

CEO Ashok Mathur served as head of North America software development for Sony Ericsson Mobile and as managing director for Nortel Networks, international software operations. Mathur gained his health-care prowess from serving as the director of software development at Misys Healthcare Systems for five years. His deep understanding of the health care IT market and the emerging Software-As-A-Service business model contributed to the foundation for Patagonia Health.

Mathur recognized the gap clients experienced between the product and the necessary customer service support. While traveling through South America, he identified what would become the core of the customer service model at Patagonia Health.

“People want to be treated as people, and they deserve to get a quality product that is backed by a high level of product support,” Mathur says. “They deserve a holistic approach to training and to implementation and a vendor that is accessible to them at all times.”

Good Service Yields Success

After a decade of service, Patagonia Health won the 2016 Bronze Stevie® Award and the 2017 Silver Stevie Award for Customer Service. Their small company of 25 employees is honored to win the 2018 Gold Stevie Award in the 2018 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service.

“It reinforces the efforts we purposefully put forth every day to support our customers. It acknowledges the level of service we aim for. Our customers and future customers need to know that,” Mathur adds.

Patagonia Health also earned a spot on Inc. magazine's list of fastest-growing companies two years in a row (2015 and 2016) and on Healthcare Tech Outlook magazine's top-10 most promising EHR solutions for 2017. They recently made Insights Care magazine's top-10 most trustworthy EHR vendors.

“We don't just sell our customers a great product; we coach them through the people, process, and product strategy to help them achieve success in the transition process.” Mathur states. “We also provide ongoing training, so they can fully utilize the EHR and, ultimately, provide better patient care.”

Tags: customer service awards, sales awards, top customer service, sales growth achievement

Stevie Winner HomePay's Unique Service Helps Families Save Time

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Mon, Jun 18, 2018 @ 09:10 AM

When families are in need of nannies, senior caregivers, personal assistants, or other household caregivers to help those in need, it’s important to help those families and individuals to find and to select the best care available. Care.com HomePay (formerly Breedlove & Associates) is based in Austin, Texas, United States, and has fulfilled these needs for more than 60,000 families. They do so through employment payroll, taxes, and HR support. They won the People’s Choice Stevie® Award for Favorite Customer Service and a Silver Stevie Award for Customer Service Department of the Year in the 2018 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service.

Homepay

Receiving Great Feedback

HomePay provides comprehensive services for busy families so they can save time and focus on their loved ones. Eva MacCleery is the director of consulting at HomePay, and she comments on the impact of winning two Stevies.

“To say it was a morale boost for our consulting team is an understatement. We consistently get great feedback and reviews from the families we serve, but to have them vote for us in the People’s Choice Awards speaks volumes.”

Making Life Easier

HomePay wouldn’t exist if not for the dilemma faced by their cofounders, Stephanie and Bill Breedlove. When they hired their first nanny, they had no idea how payroll and taxes worked for a household employee, but they knew it was their responsibility to pay her legally. They soon realized how complex this was and knew there were probably tens of thousands of families across the country struggling with the same challenges.

“Most tax professionals didn’t want to take on the additional labor law and HR-related compliance requirements that come with hiring a household employee,” explains MacCleery. “So Stephanie and Bill made sure our service would always be a truly comprehensive solution that families could feel comfortable using.”

While every HomePay employee is unique, each one truly enjoys the feeling of helping another person. 

“In a niche industry, where the majority of our clients have no idea how to handle federal and state payroll and tax responsibilities, HomePay facilitates that part of the process to make their lives easier,” MacCleery adds. 

Keeping Them on Their Toes

Many states and cities have recently enacted incredibly strict laws regarding household employment. In many cases, these laws even exceed the requirements of existing federal laws. Because of the complex nature of household employment, clients seek to speak with real people when they need help. 

“These laws result in giving additional benefits to workers,” says MacCleery. “We’ve seen higher minimum wage and paid-time-off requirements go into effect in municipalities all across the country.”

HomePay makes sure their clients know the laws and provides the tools they need to stay in compliance, and these legal changes constantly keep them on their toes.

When someone calls HomePay, one of their consultants usually answers the phone on the first ring. All team members are well trained, meaning they can answer any question that arises. Detailed notes are always taken. This way, if a client calls back, whoever helps that person can pick up where the last consultant left off.

Tags: customer service awards, award-winning customer service, customer service department, top customer service

Stevie Awards Extends International Business Awards Final Deadline Through July 11

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Thu, Jun 14, 2018 @ 10:51 AM

The Stevie® Awards, organizer of The International Business Awards®, announced today that the final entry deadline for the 15th annual IBAs has been extended to Wednesday, July 11. Recognized as the world’s premier business awards program, The IBAs attract nominations from organizations in more than 50 nations and territories each year.

 “We’ve received so many requests for individual deadline extensions that we’ve decided to extend the deadline for everyone,” said Stevie Awards president Michael Gallagher. The original final deadline was June 13. Gallagher emphasizes that no additional late fees will be charged for entries submitted through July 11, and late entries will not be penalized in any way in the judging process. All organizations now have an additional four weeks to prepare and submit their entries.

IBA18_eMailHeader4_600x250

REVIEW THE ENTRY KIT HERE

All individuals and organizations worldwide -- public and private, for-profit and non-profit, large and small -- may submit nominations to The International Business Awards. The 2018 awards will honor achievements since the beginning of 2017.  Entry details are available at http://www.StevieAwards.com/IBA.

Juries featuring more than 150 executives will determine the Stevie Award winners. Results will be announced August 9. Stevie Award winners will be presented their awards at a gala banquet in London, United Kingdom on October 20.

The International Business Awards recognize achievement in every facet of the workplace. Categories including , Management Awards , Company of the Year Awards, Customer Service Awards, Entrepreneur Awards, PR Awards, Web Awards, and much more.

A variety of new categories are introduced for the 2018 competition, including a new group of categories to recognize the Entrepreneur of the Year and Founding Teams in many industries. In addition to seven new Software Solution categories in the New Product & Services section, there’s a new selection of categories to recognize Content Solutions. There is one new category, Best White Paper or Research Report, in the Publication categories and one new category, Engaged Community of the Year, in the Marketing categories. There are two new PR Campaign categories in the Public Relations section. Finally, there are four new Lifetime Achievement Awards categories in the Management section.

Tags: international business, top business awards, womens awards

Who's Coming to The 2018 American Business Awards on Monday?

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Thu, Jun 07, 2018 @ 11:30 AM

The 2018 (16th annual) American Business Awards® - the U.S.A's top honors open to all organizations operating in the U.S.A., and feature a wide variety of categories to recognize achievement in every facet of the workplace- will be presented this Monday, June 11 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City.  More than 650 nominees and their guests will attend to be presented with their Grand, Gold, Silver and Bronze Stevie Awards.

The presentations will be broadcast live, beginning at 6:45 pm ET.

ABA 2017 new3

Here are the organizations that as of this writing will be represented at the event on Monday:

3Dazer
4Life Research
A.wordsmith
ACES
Advance Financial
Aflac
AIG US Life
Allianz Global Assistance
Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America
Allscripts
Anthem Foundation
Aragon Advertising
Arise Virtual Solutions Inc.
ArmadaCare
ASG Technologies
Association of International Certified Professional Accountants
Asure Software

Avasant
AXA
Barclays
BD
Best Western Hotels & Resorts
BetterAir
BGRS
BIA
Blis
Bloomberg Environment
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina
BluePay Processing
BlueToad Inc.
botkeeper
Brightstar Corp.
Brillio
Burst
Cathy Turney
Century Business Solutions
Church & Dwight
Cigna
Cisco
Citi
CityOf.com
Clevens Face and Body Specialists
Company
Concentrix
Condeco
Constant Contact Waltham MA
CoverMyMeds
Create Health Plans
Cruise Planners an American Express Travel Representative
Cummins
Cytellix
Davies
Deloitte
Delta Dental of California
DGC International
DHL
Diligent Corporation
DirecTv
Dow Jones
DraftKings
Dynamic Blending
Eff Creative Group
Emory University
Entercom
EpiFinder
Estee Lauder
Evergage
Fidelity Investments
FIS
Fiserv
FlightScope
ForeverCar
Formativ Health
Foxwoods Resort Casino
Geisinger Health
Generali Global Assistance
George P. Johnson
GL group
Globalization Partners
Glossive Technologies
GN Hearing
Gorilla Safety
GREAT WINE Inc.
Gregory FCA
GuideWell Connect
Hannaford Supermarkets
HCL America Inc. - Ritesh Jain
Health4TheWorld
Heraeus Incorporated
Hire For Hope LLC
HMS
HomeServe USA
IGEL
Ignite Sales
IGT
InfinityQS International
Information Builders
Intel Corporation
International SOS
Invesco
ISG
Jefferson County in Golden CO
John Hancock Financial Services
JVZoo
Karmic Labs Inc.
Keriton
LanguageLine Solutions
Lightcast.com
Lighthouse Worldwide Solutions
Lycored
Makers Nutrition
Makovsky
Marriott International
MDwise
Mercedes-Benz USA
Merck
Meritor
Merkle
MetTel
MONAT Global
Motus
Movember Foundation
Mphasis
NBCU
nCino
NFL Player Benefits Office
Nutrisystem
Oncor Electric
OptumCare Operations
Outreach Process Partners LLC
Pacific Expeditors
PAIRELATIONS LLC
PAN Communications
Panasonic Automotive
Panda Restaurant Group
Parkmobile
Paychex Inc.
Port It Global Inc
Primrose Schools
Progrexion
Public Employees' Benefits Program
QLess Inc.
Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems
RB
Realtor.com
Relic
Revenue Optimization Companies, The
Roth Staffing Companies L.P.
Safeguard Business Systems Inc. Dallas TX
SamsonPR
Scaffidi Restaurant Group
SCAN Healthplan
Scott Hospes
Shade Tree Auto
Sharpen Technologies
Social Finance Inc
SoftPro
Soleo Health
Spark
SparkPR
Spartan Invest
State Street Corp
Sterling Staffing Solutions
STYLE Advertising
Symantec
T and T Consulting Services Inc.
T. H. Easter Consulting LLC
TCS
TekLeaders
Terra Dotta

TGI Fridays
Thomson Reuters
Toshiba America Business Solutions
Transfermate
Trianz
TriNet
TrustLogics
Truth Initiative
TycoonAdvertisingGroup
U.S. Army Headquarters Installation Management Command
UBS
United Educators
United Way Worldwide
UnitedHealthcare
Upsher-Smith Laboratories
Valley Forge Fabrics
Vanguard
Verizon
WebPT
Worldwide Clinical Trials
Xperiel Inc.

Tags: marketing awards, new product awards, entrepreneur of the year, communications manager, female entrepreneurs

Travel Firm Helps Customers Explore Europe in Style on a Budget

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Wed, Jun 06, 2018 @ 01:21 PM

Hospitality, you could say, is in Vyacheslav Shirokov’s bones.

He grew up in the vast eastern region of Siberia, Russia, where his parents ran a small hotel. To say the lodging was remote is an understatement. The nearest buildings were 500 kilometers away.

As the only one at the hotel who spoke English, it fell on Shirokov to help the occasional tourist from the United States, Canada, Australia, or the United Kingdom. Even back then, he enjoyed teaching visitors about Russian culture and playing the role of tour guide.

After receiving a master’s degree in the United States from New York University, he decided to help Americans and other foreigners explore his native country. He created a company named Travel All Russia to do just that.

A New Way to Explore Europe

Firebird toursShirokov’s organization was a far cry from the stodgy bus companies that once dominated the Russian tourism sector. The company, since renamed Firebird Tours, prides itself on putting customers in top-tier hotels and offering more convenient travel options, such as private transfers and high-speed trains. Customers can trek from city to city privately or with small groups.

From its inception a decade ago, the U.S.-based tour operator—with its main office in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States—has worked to deliver a great travel experience to the masses. To drive down costs, the Firebird team works with local suppliers to get lower rates on transportation and hotel fees. Small-group tours cost about $200 per day, while private tours cost about $300 per day.

“The quality of the tours is better than any bus tour, and it’s half the price of similar luxury tours,” says Morta Jablonskaitė, marketing specialist for Firebird Tours.

Going one extra step for its customers, Firebird does something a lot of its competitors won’t: It helps clients obtain proper visas, which eliminates a key hurdle to overseas travel.

While the company started with a focus on Russia’s historic cities, it has since expanded to cover all of Europe, as well as Mongolia and Morocco. In addition to its Florida, United States office, Firebird now has satellite offices in Saint Petersburg, Russia; Minsk, Belarus; and Vilnius, Lithuania. By having experts on the ground, the Firebird team believes it can design better trips that steer customers to the most compelling locales.

By offering its products online, Firebird is also trying to shed the exclusivity that once plagued the European travel industry.

“The right use of technology helps us make upscale traveling available to all people who want to discover the beauty of the world on their terms,” Jablonskaitė says.

Impressive Growth

Firebird users clearly believe the operator is making good on its promise to offer more bang for your buck. The company has an average rating of 5.0 and 4.9 on Google and Facebook, respectively.

Those high reviews are helping the organization, expand at a robust rate—the company now has 88 employees. In February, its leadership team was handed a bronze Stevie Award for Sales Growth Achievement of the Year at the 12th annual Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. Jablonskaitė sees the honor as validation of the company’s business model.

“It shows that our sales team did excellent work in crafting itineraries and communicating to our clients,” she says. “This comes from ongoing training, a team-first culture, and, of course, a comfortable working environment.”

Going forward, Firebird hopes the award will help pave the way for continued growth.

“Winning the award helps us assure potential and current partners and suppliers that working with Firebird Tours is the right business choice for them,” she says. “The bronze in Sales Growth Achievement is a credibility mark we are excited to have.”

Tags: sales awards, best sales team, sales growth achievement

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