Lou Hammond & Associates was the biggest award winner in the PR category at the annual Hospitality Sales & Marketing Assn. International’s banquet Jan. 31 at the New York Marriott Marquis.

The Hammond firm, which has been a perennial front runner in this contest, took home six golds, seven bronze and six silver awards for a total of 19. Five awards were given for its work for the Panama City Beach (Fla.) Convention & Visitors Bureau -- two golds, two silvers, and one bronze.

“This is a stunning endorsement of the destination and its prominence on the national scene,” said Lou Rena Hammond, chairman.

A highlight of the year was a visit by President Obama and his family. The firm also handled the crisis communications for the city, which is on the West coast of Florida and which was affected by the BP oil spill.

Weber Wins Two Platinums

Weber Shandwick won platinum awards for its work for the Royal Caribbean International, the world’s biggest cruise ship, and InterContinental Hotels Group. It won eight golds, six silvers and three bronze awards for a total of 17.

The platinums are conversions of gold awards and are not counted twice.

Weber Shandwick now has 15 platinums which it believes is the record for this award.

In addition to the awards, two of Weber Shandwick's clients, Tracy Quan, director of brand communications at Royal Caribbean International and Kelly Schulz, VP of communications and PR at the New Orleans CVB, were recognized among HSMAI's "Top 25 Most Extraordinary Minds in Sales and Marketing," which honors the best sales and marketing professionals in the hospitality, travel and tourism industries.

“We are honored for our work to be so widely recognized by some of the industry’s most influential people," said Rene A. Mack, president of Weber Shandwick's Travel & Lifestyle practice. "It is clients like Tracy and Kelly that compel and inspire us to create award-winning campaigns and we couldn’t be prouder of their accomplishments."

The 2010 Weber Shandwick winning client campaigns are:

Platinum PR Awards
• Campaign: Special Event – “Holiday Inn Stacks a Full House, The Holiday Inn Key Card Hotel” (InterContinental Hotels Group) – a five-day promotional event that, with a 400 sq. ft. Holiday Inn Key Card Hotel as the centerpiece, engaged consumers and media alike and underscored Holiday Inn’s key message of change.
• Campaign: New Opening/Launch – “Launching Oasis of the Seas” (Royal Caribbean International) – a multi-faceted, diverse consumer campaign that utilized both traditional and new media resources to launch the world’s largest and most revolutionary cruise ship, culminating in a debut that commanded international attention and made “Oasis of the Seas” the most Googled word on the day she arrived into the U.S.

Gold PR Awards
• Feature Placement, Television – Matt Lauer (Canadian Tourism Commission)
• Feature Placement, Online – Consumer Media – “Priority Club Rewards' Luckiest Loser Competition” (InterContinental Hotels Group)
• Feature Placement, Television – “Who Dat? It’s NBC TODAY in New Orleans” (New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau)
• Campaign: Marketing Program, Consumer – “Omni Hotels & Resorts Launches 72-Hour Sale” (Omni Hotels & Resorts)
• Feature Placement, Television – “GMA’s Biggest Getaway” (Royal Caribbean International)
• Feature Placement, Online – Consumer Media – “Airline Food Doesn’t Always Have to Suck” (Singapore Airlines)

Silver PR Awards
• Feature Placement, Print – “Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue Feature Steamy, Sexy…Canada…” (Canadian Tourism Commission)
• Campaign: New Opening/Launch – “InterContinental New York Times Square Takes Center Stage” (InterContinental Hotels Group)
• Feature Placement, Radio – “Oh, When the Saints Go Marching In” (New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau)
• Campaign: Crisis Communication/Recovery Communication – “Not Such Easy Going in the Big Easy” (New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau)
• Campaign: Special Event – “Omni Dallas Hotel Ground Breaking” (Omni Hotels & Resorts)
• Campaign: Marketing Program, Consumer – “Fine Wining and Dining in the Sky” (Singapore Airlines)

The firm also picked up three Bronze honors for the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Omni Hotels & Resorts Select Guest in USA Today” (Omni Hotels & Resorts.

NFJPR, headed by Nancy Friedman, who was honored at the HSMAI dinner for lifetime achievement in PR, won eight gold, six silver, and three bronze awards.

Click for previous story listing all gold winners.