Tourism Employee of the Year Award Winner “Stands Out from the Crowd”

Tourism HR Canada is delighted to recognize Tony D’Ariano, who recently celebrated his 15th anniversary as Maintenance Manager at the Residence Inn by Marriott London Downtown.

Tony was announced as the 2019 winner of the Tourism Employee of the Year Award at the Canadian Tourism Awards, a gala evening held during the Tourism Industry Association of Canada’s Tourism Congress. The award recognizes a frontline professional whose leadership, dedication, and high quality of service exemplify excellence in the tourism industry.

“It was a pleasant surprise finding out that I won the award for Employee of the Year,” states Tony. “I am so humbled and extremely appreciative for being selected as the winner. My hotel journey began 15 years ago and has been a positive experience on my life to this day. I have met many wonderful people that have moulded me into the service fanatic that I am today.”

Nominated by General Manager Anna McNutt, Tony consistently goes above and beyond to provide service excellence to guests and colleagues alike.

“Tony is an integral part of the Residence Inn team and is as passionate today as the day he started his Marriott Journey,” shares Anna. “I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this award. Tony contributes to training, team building, cost savings, sales efforts, especially repeat opportunities, guest relations, staff relations, innovative solutions, service recovery, and—above all—the passion to excel with a positive influence to the overall team environment.”

Anna details that Tony is on call to help guests day or night, no matter what the issue is. If he is unable to fix it, he’ll research until he finds a solution. She explains, “He will be the first to make recommendations to a contractor, project manager, or owner if it is going to improve the overall guest experience for the long term. He will stand up for continuous improvement resulting in minimal deficiencies during unexpected property visits.”

He is laser focused on efficiencies, keeping track of warranties and recycling and reusing every item he can. Items that can no longer be used by the hotel are found new homes through charities or recycling companies. He collaborates with outside contractors to keep costs low and minimize disruptions to staff and guests.

The safety of everyone at the hotel is top priority to Tony. He is head of the Health & Safety Committee, taking the lead on training. He is also a member of the Workplace Safety & Insurance Board (WSIB) Safety Group. He keeps an eye on the hotel camera system outside his working hours and stays up New Year’s Eve to converse with returning partygoers to ensure no unregistered guests enter. Says Anna, “He was instrumental in the success of the hotel receiving Gold as Canada’s Safety Champion for two consecutive years through Occupational Safety.”

His passion for excellence extends beyond his regular duties. He’s driven guests to the airport when they were unable to squeeze into a taxi; he’s changed flat tires on guests’ cars; he’s coordinated a windshield replacement; he’s helped guests who’ve had a car accident miles from the hotel; he’s gone to pawnshops to track down lost items; he’s even helped a guest solve a plumbing problem they were having…at home…and provided the parts and tools for the guest to make the repair.

“As a manager, Tony leads by example through his Service Frame of Mind,” adds Anna. “He excels in teamwork and inspires his staff because he ‘walks-the-talk’. He is the first to volunteer, taking the lead in staff functions, event set-up, food and decoration pick-up, and in rallying the troops. He is the first one on site for our fund-raising or social events with a donation in hand, and the last one to leave in order to assist his team with the take-down and clean-up. As importantly, he gets us going in the wee hours by showing up with coffee for everyone. If anyone needs a drive home, he looks after that too.”

“Tourism is about creating experiences. Tony stands out by creating moments for both internal and external customers. He is the go-to guy and everyone on the Residence Inn team appreciates his contribution each and every day.”

Professionals with Tony’s passion to consistently go above and beyond are what make Canada a leading global tourism destination. His dedication to helping guests and colleagues offers a shining example of the more than 1.8 million individuals working in tourism, daily creating incredible memories for visitors from around the world. Congratulations, Tony!