Each year the tourism community comes together to honor some of the exceptional standouts in tourism and hospitality, and Old Town Trolley Tours of Savannah has been truly honored this year to not only be nominated for such wonderful awards but to win a number of them.
We were honored to be nominated along with our fellow tourism community members for this year’s Tourism Leadership Council (TLC) Awards at the 21st Annual Tourism Awards & Scholarship Dinner on March 28, 2019.
We were even more excited to win the Best Tour Guide Award, awarded to Conductor Ben Lawson, and the Community Champion Award, awarded to OTT Regional Manager Charlie Brazil. Charlie was the twentieth individual to receive this award, which is presented to individuals who initiate projects to enhance the City of Savannah and who strongly support and actively promote tourism in the Savannah area. OTT Sales Rep Wanda Raimo and Conductor Gordon Bartholf were also presented with the Heart of Service Award. The Heart of Service Award was given to these cast members for a particular event that involved Wanda, Gordon, and one of our guests, Mr. Jack: a 92-year-old WWII veteran who was in town for a short period of time and was inquiring about taking a tour at our Welcome Center. Mr. Jack found himself stranded at Savannah’s Greyhound bus terminal waiting on a layover. His short-term layover quickly became an overnight layover and, as he wasn’t prepared to spend the night, he was going to have to sleep in the bus terminal. That is when Gordon and Wanda leaped into action. They secured a room at the Thunderbird Hotel for Mr. Jack and also made sure he was up in time to catch his 6 AM bus ride home. Mr. Jack made it home safely and called to let Wanda know how much he appreciated what she and Gordon did for him and how they had turned a bad experience into a great experience.
Upon being nominated for this award, Wanda said she was excited and elated to be recognized in such a capacity. “Once we were invited to the ceremony and they announced that we won the award I began to feel overwhelmed with joy—the tears started to come down with appreciation and gratitude. It was wonderful to be recognized for just doing what I knew to do best: customer service!” she said.
At Old Town Trolley we have been fortunate to have won two additional awards this year: Best Tour Company by the readers of Connect Savannah for its annual Best of Savannah awards, which are voted on directly by locals, and the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce’s Environmental Excellence Award, which is presented to a company that has demonstrated outstanding performance in its efforts to maintain a quality environment for Savannah in 2019. Examples of the criteria for this award include achievement in any of the following areas: reduction of emissions, pollution prevention projects, reduction in hazardous waste generated, reduction in usage/storage of EHS chemicals, water conservation, waste recycling, and special products.