Park City Area Lodging Association awards aim to unite community | ParkRecord.com

Park City Area Lodging Association awards aim to unite community

The Park City Area Lodging Association created the Black Diamond Awards a year ago largely to honor people who don’t typically see the spotlight but are nonetheless vital in providing memorable experiences to Park City’s winter guests.

In the estimation of Chris Eggleton, the association’s president, and many others involved, the inaugural event was a resounding success.

"All of the feedback we got was overwhelmingly positive," Eggleton said. "Different constituencies within the community acknowledged some of what the association set out to do, which was to bring attention to all areas of the hospitality industry but to focus on housekeepers and managers and vendors. It was a lot of fun and there’s a ton of excitement for this year’s awards."

The awards return this year, and Eggleton said the community is eager to gather again to celebrate those who fulfill the town’s reputation for top-notch hospitality. The Black Diamond Awards will be held Wednesday Jan. 6 at noon and have been moved to Stein Eriksen Lodge, in part to accommodate a larger group of attendees. About 200 people went to last year’s event.

Eggleton said people have latched onto the event so quickly in large part because it celebrates those who are typically behind-the-scenes.

"People had a lot of gratitude," Eggleton said. "There are a lot of award ceremonies and functions and non-profit galas, but that tends to be honoring a lot of the same people in the community. So when we’re able to recognize some other people, everyone said it felt really great."

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Additionally, the awards are being embraced by more than simply those in the lodging industry. Anyone in the community can nominate recipients, and that inclusiveness strikes a chord with people, Eggleton said.

"To have the community reach out and make some nominations — from something as simple as a housekeeper or ski valet — is so great," he said. "That was the overarching goal, to create a platform where everyone can get involved."

The awards come at a time when the association is trying to expand its influence. Eggleton said membership has climbed into the triple digits, and the organization is spending much of its time on efforts such as lobbying lawmakers — at the state and local levels — to support the tourism industry. The goal is to create a group that represents the community as well as possible.

"We have the highest number of members we’ve ever had, both lodging and associate members," Eggleton said. "We’ve done a good job, I think, of throwing the net out to the community and bringing a diverse group of lodging and hospitality professionals into the organization. We are proud that we have a really diverse membership base.

"When we can bring expertise and individuals in the community together to collaborate, that’s a big thing," he added. "We can share information and share best practices, and that delivers a better guest experience."

For more information on the awards, visit pcala.org. Nominations have closed but reservations are still available.