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Hospitality industry awards honors extraordinary customer service

By Staff | Aug 31, 2017

Hundreds of people celebrated exceptional customer service at the Elaine McLaughlin Outstanding Hospitality Service Awards today.

The 17th annual “E Awards” ceremony at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa in Bonita Springs recognized nearly 500 local employees who exceeded visitor expectations.

Guests from around the world submitted almost 850 nominations, giving high praise to employees who provided outstanding care.

Produced by the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau (VCB) and The News-Press Media Group, the “E Awards” is a collaboration with local businesses to encourage and award customer service excellence. The ceremony honors the area’s unsung heroes.

Nomination criteria included service satisfaction, leadership, work ethic, job knowledge, performance skills, familiarity with the destination and assistance during an emergency.

Selected for their distinctive service and dedication:

Honor of Distinction Winner:

Dilya Gabdrkhmanova, Beachview Cottages of Sanibel Island


Christopher Accinno, Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa in Bonita Springs


Pete Cangialosi, Lee County Parks & Recreation


Bess Charles, LadyCakes Bakery in Cape Coral


Mark Melnikoff, MBA Airport Transportation

Other Services/Businesses:

Veronica Martorelli, Bailey’s General Store on Sanibel Island

Good Samaritan:

Matthew MacDonald, Holiday Inn Express & Suites Fort Myers East The Forum

Best Tourism Boss:

Kari Cordisco, Sanibel Moorings Condominium Resort on Sanibel Island

For summaries on the individual stories of the above-mentioned award recipients, visit


Geraci Travel sponsored the 2017 Honor of Distinction award given to Dilya Gabdrkhmanova, housekeeping supervisor at Beachview Cottages of Sanibel Island, for being the best overall representative of outstanding service for the year.

Gabdrkhmanova received several nominations from around the country. A nominator described her as “someone who makes you feel like part of her family.”

Another nominator described her positive impact on new and returning visitors. One guest noted that her gestures and kindness brought people to tears. Another wrote that she even made pets feel welcome.

One example of her great customer service included a nomination from a retired physician who visits Sanibel frequently. Despite recovering from major heart surgery, the 82-year-old guest decided to make her annual trip to Sanibel with her dog. She received moral and physical support from Gabdrkhmanova. The nominator wrote that Gabdrkhmanova made her breakfast every morning, made sure she took her medicine, helped her get dressed and did her laundry. She wrote that Gabdrkhmanova showed her that “even at 82 life is still full of wonderful surprises.”

“The time and care Dilya gave me made me feel wonderful and put a smile on my face in this difficult time,” the nominator wrote.

Source: Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau