MCLEAN, VA (Dec. 18, 2007) - Making the "hot list" of the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International's (HSMAI) "Top 25 Most Extraordinary Minds in Sales & Marketing" for 2007 is Speros A. Batistatos, President/CEO of the Lake County Convention and Visitors Bureau.  The annual ranking pays tribute to the best minds in hospitality, travel and tourism sales and marketing, saluting outstanding individuals who define innovation, vision and achievement, and whose work gets great results.

"With the ‘Top 25’, we get to honor the individuals behind those outstanding campaigns and smart strategies we see all year long. It is our opportunity to shine the spotlight on those who stand out in the industry for their creativity, intelligence, and passion for their work,” states Robert A. Gilbert, CHME, CHA, President and CEO of HSMAI. "We are looking to honor those whose work has really made a difference and raised the bar for the industry, and Speros Batistatos is a very worthy recipient" he added.  Recipients were nominated through a "call for entries" to the industry-at-large, and judged by a panel of senior industry executives. Individuals were judged for their work over the last year based on the following criteria: creativity and innovation; cutting edge sales or marketing campaigns; triumph in challenging situations; and sales effort that resulted in dramatic gains.

Batistatos and the Lake County CVB team have received many awards and certifications in the past two decades. Most recently LCCVB was recognized as the 6th Best Place to Work in Indiana. At age 35 Batistatos received the esteemed Sagamore of the Wabash presented to him by former Indiana Governor Frank O’Bannon.  The "Sagamore" is Indiana's highest civilian honor.  He has completed the International Association of Convention & Visitor Bureaus’ professional certification program earning him the distinguished designation of Fellow Certified Destination Management Executive (FCDME). He has also been honored with a variety of other awards throughout his 27 year career in hospitality.

Chairman of the LCCVB Board of Directors, Victor E. DeMeyer stated, “On behalf of the Board of Directors I would like to congratulate Speros on this prestigious award. To be recognized by your peers is one of the highest honors one can achieve. This award pays tribute not only to Speros but to a dedicated, committed and innovative staff at the Bureau. Awards of this nature reflect well on our community, our goals and mission and the importance that the tourism industry brings to the South Shore.”

Bruce White, Chairman/CEO, White Lodging, also commented, “Those of us invested in and reliant on the tourism industry in Lake County recognize the difficult market challenges we compete in daily and that is why we are fortunate to have the leadership of Speros at the Convention and Visitors Bureau. Speros understands the issues and takes them ‘head on’ to create positive change and opportunities for all in our industry, and I appreciate the efforts of the LCCVB.”

“On behalf of the Horseshoe Casino Hammond and its 2,300 employees, we would like to send our heartfelt congratulations to Speros for winning this prestigious honor. Speros has been a stalwart advocate for tourism in Lake County. He continues to think "outside the box", and is willing to propose initiatives that will separate us from our neighbors and provide a unique strategic advantage for our community. This national recognition is further evidence of the tremendous talent that exists in our region. We are thrilled to work with Speros and honored to call him our friend,” said Rick Mazer, Senior VP and General Manager, Horseshoe Casino.

The Top 25 will be honored on stage at the HSMAI Adrian Awards Gala on January 28, 2008 at the New York Marriott Marquis. In addition, these individuals will be featured in the spring issue of HSMAI Marketing Review and receive a personalized plaque.


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HSMAI is an organization of sales and marketing professionals representing all segments of the hospitality industry. With a strong focus on education, HSMAI has become the industry champion in identifying and communicating trends in the hospitality industry, and bringing together customers and members at annual events, including HSMAI's Affordable Meetings®.  Founded in 1927, HSMAI is an individual membership organization comprising of more than 7,000 members worldwide, with 39 chapters in the Americas Region. For more information on HSMAI contact the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International, 8201 Greensboro Drive, Suite 300, McLean, VA  22102, phone (703) 610-9024; fax (703) 610-9005 or visit the web site at www.hsmai.org.