About Stars of the Industry

Employee recognition and retention are invaluable elements to the success of hotels. IHLA's Stars of the Industry Awards Program was established in 1996 to honor IHLA member hotel employees for their outstanding accomplishments, service, and leadership in the hospitality and lodging industry. Illinois has thousands of exceptional hotel and lodging employees who help our visitors enjoy their stay, and the Stars Program recognizes the best of the best, those who truly go above and beyond and whose incredible hard work, dedication, attentiveness, and genuine kindness towards both guests and fellow colleagues is an inspiration to their peers.

To honor the talent and performance of employees who go that extra mile to provide extraordinary service to their hotel guests, each year, awards are presented to individuals in 11 categories from IHLA member hotels in 3 regions: 

IHLA hosts 3 annual Stars of the Industry events:

Stars of the Industry Central Illinois Regional Luncheon | Wednesday, October 23, Bloomington 
Stars of the Industry Chicagoland Regional Luncheon | Tuesday, October 29, Schaumburg 
Membership & State Stars of the Industry Holiday Luncheon | Friday, December 13, Chicago | REGISTER

Each year, a dedicated team of judges review hundreds of nominations to select the Regional then State winners of the award categories listed below. Our members then gather as an industry to recognize these exceptional individuals who best represent the service and spirit of the lodging industry.

The Regional Stars of the Industry Awards Luncheons take place in the fall. At the Central Illinois Regional Luncheon, one set of winners is selected from nominees in Central, Northern, Southern, and Western Illinois. At the Chicagoland Regional Luncheon, two sets of winners are selected: Chicago and Suburban Chicago. 

Those who win at the Regional level then compete for the State level awards that are announced at the Membership & State Stars of the Industry Holiday Luncheon in December. During the State Luncheon, in addition to the 11 hotel employee categories, awards are presented for Allied Member of the Year, Community Service, and Good Earthkeeping. 

  Central IL Regional Winners 2019
  Event Album 
     Chicagoland Regional Winners 2019
Event Album
  State Winners 2018
  Event Album


Central Illinois Regional | Suburban | Chicago



Participating in Stars of the Industry

We encourage all of our members to participate in this high profile employee recognition program; to nominate and show appreciation for their outstanding team members and give them the opportunity to be recognized by their peers at an entertaining celebration they will never forget. There is no cost to nominate an IHLA hotel member employee. 

All nominees will be listed on our IHLA website and in the Regional Stars Program Book and will receive an IHLA Stars of the Industry Recognition Certificate. New Hotels that nominate employees for the first time will receive recognition in the Regional Stars Program Book and at the Regional Luncheons. It is IHLA's privilege to celebrate the accomplishments of all the nominees, finalists, and winners presented each year. 

To submit nominations, complete the online application AND submit completed 2019 Stars PDF Nomination along with one additional page explaining why the nominee deserves the award. Additional supporting materials may include two individual documents such as testimonial letters, guest comment cards, or digital pictures of nominees in action. Please upload supporting materials as ONE PDF. Nominees must have worked a minimum of one year in the hotel or lodging industry. Resubmitting updated applications for previous year's nominees is encouraged. Regional winners are not eligible to be nominated again in the same category if they have won within the past three years.

Regional Level Awards

  1. Hotelier of the Year
  2. Department-Division Head Employee of the Year
  3. Manager of the Year
  4. Administrative Employee of the Year
  5. Bell Staff Employee of the Year
  6. First-Level Supervisor Employee of the Year
  7. Food & Beverage Employee of the Year - Front of the House
  8. Food & Beverage Employee of the Year - Heart of the House
  9. Guest Service Employee of the Year
  10. Housekeeping Employee of the Year
  11. Maintenance Employee of the Year

State Level Awards

  1. Allied Member of the Year
  2. Community Service Award
  3. Good EarthKeeping Award 
  4. Paul R. Bauer Security Practitioner Award

Submitted 2019 Nominees




For questions about the Stars of the Industry Program, Events, & Nominations, contact:
Jennifer Chase            
Managing Director, Events
JChase@IllinoisHotels.org | 312-346-3135 x222