US Virgin Islands Hotel & Tourism Association

LISSA CUFFYThe Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) recognized the stars of the Caribbean hospitality industry at this past weekend’s Caribbean Hospitality Industry Exchange Forum (CHIEF), which took place Oct. 2 – 4, 2015 at El Conquistador Resort, A Waldorf Astoria Resort in Puerto Rico. Those honored, include:

  • Caribbean Tourism Employee of the Year: Andre James, Hyatt Regency Trinidad
  • Caribbean Tourism Supervisor of the Year: Lissa Cuffy, Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort
  • Caribbean National Hotel Association Executive of the Year: Neil Forrester, Antigua Hotels & Tourist Association
  • Caribbean Allied Member of the Year: William “Bill” Clegg, Choice Hotels International

“These individuals reflect the true spirit of Caribbean tourism professionals. We are proud to have these four individuals representing the Caribbean region by demonstrating exemplary skills and going above and beyond their job description to enhance the overall guest experience,” said CHTA President Emil Lee.

Caribbean Tourism Employee of the Year

Andre James has been with the Hyatt Regency Trinidad for eight years in the Food & Beverage Department. In addition to an outstanding work ethic and commitment to excellent customer service, James is part of the “Diversity and Inclusion Committee” at the resort. The committee actively celebrates different nationalities at Hyatt and the various holidays throughout the year.

As a department trainer, James visits new hire orientations, makes presentations on Hyatt’s values to new employees and shares success stories. He was nominated to be part of a prototype team that used design thinking principles to create an incentive to deal with employee absenteeism. James excels at communication as he is a department trainer and is accustomed to training new employees and presenting at monthly department meetings. “He is resourceful and can find quick solutions to delight his guests,” said a member of the nominating committee.

Caribbean Tourism Supervisor of the Year

Lissa Cuffy has been with Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort as a Guest Service Supervisor and, most recently, Housekeeping Manager. In addition to achieving outstanding success in her position and understanding the importance of the tourism industry, Cuffy stands out with her simple, yet important, mantra that management is the act of providing supportive and effective leadership. Such leadership offers a multitude of guidance and conveys information and ideas to others in a convincing and engaging manner through a variety of methods. “Management sets standards of performance, assumes responsibility for work objectives, initiates focuses, and serves as motivators for employees for the purpose of achieving the company goals. Management also aids in the development and growth of its employees,” Cuffy explains.

National Hotel Association Executive of the Year

Neil Forrester is the General Manager of the Antigua Hotels & Tourist Association and vice president of the Caribbean Society of Hotel Association Executives (CSHAE). He was recently named to the Board of Trustees of the CHTA Education Foundation (CHTAEF) for a three-year term where he will be involved with awarding scholarships to Caribbean nationals pursuing higher education and professional development in the tourism and hospitality field. Additionally, he will cultivate relationships with potential corporate and individual donors.

Caribbean Allied Member of the Year

William L. Clegg, Jr., CHA, is with Choice Hotels International as a Regional Vice President of Franchise Service. Clegg manages franchise service delivered to 10 Choice Hotels brands in the northeast U.S. and the Caribbean, directing a staff of Area Directors of Franchise Service as they monitor performance and assist hotels in enhancing guest satisfaction, increasing revenues and market share, and ensuring brand standards compliance. He joined Choice Hotels in 1991, and has held numerous marketing and franchise service operations and management positions in support of hotels in regions including the gulf coast, southeast, eastern seaboard, and northeast U.S.

Prior to joining Choice Hotels, Bill rose through the ranks after beginning his hospitality career as a bellman at a Marriott Hotel. He has served in operations, marketing and general management positions at Marriott, Sheraton, Best Western, and Choice Hotels branded properties.

He received a B.A. in Communications Studies from Virginia Tech, and in 1986 he received the CHA certification from the AH&LA. During his career, he has been pleased to serve on numerous industry panels and to speak on career-related topics to college students at two universities. He has served for four years as a Regional Vice President for CHTA and chairs the CHTA Membership Committee. In 2013, he was presented with a Leadership Award from Caribbean Media Exchange (CMEX) in recognition of his support of CMEX’s mission to support and develop the ability of the media, government, the travel and tourism industry and communities to consider the importance of tourism in sustainable development, while lending a hand to the communities involved by sharing relevant expertise, financial and in-kind assistance.

CHIEF offered a variety of educational tracks lead by experts from a variety of travel, tourism and hospitality industry segments featuring panels with one-on-one discussions in Sales & Marketing, Operations and Sustainability.

CHIEF offered peer-to-peer exchange sessions in Operations, Sales & Marketing and Sustainability, which were focused on helping businesses generate revenue, reduce costs and increase efficiency. Hoteliers attending walked away with practical business tips and learned of best practices for tackling operational and marketing challenges. The educational were led by experts from a variety of travel, tourism and hospitality industry segments.

CHIEF was organized with the support of hosts Interval International and MasterCard; platinum sponsors Cable and Wireless, JetBlue Getaways, Travelzoo and TripAdvisor, gold sponsors Adara, Aireko, AskMe, Best Doctors, Bonnier Corp,, Choice Hotels International, Expedia, JackRabbit Systems Inc., Lutron Electronics, MobiManage, OBMI, Oracle, Sojern, STR, The New York Times, travAlliancemedia and World Media.