Po'okela Award

Po'okela Awards
Description & General Rules

Download the 2017 Po'okela Awards Official Entry Form

The Po‘okela Awards are designed for the Maui Hotel and Lodging Association to honor certain individuals as well as a superior overall property and business that contribute to Maui’s hospitality industry through exceptional service, professionalism, and the “Aloha Spirit”. We have always been an organization that represents Maui County’s visitor industry, and therefore, we would like to give recognition and show our appreciation for those who continue to make Maui a premier destination.

Recipients of the 2017 Po‘okela Awards will be honored at this year’s MHLA Annual Membership Meeting in September.

  1. Participants may submit one entry per category
  2. All entries must be submitted by a MAUI HOTEL & LODGING ASSOCIATION MEMBER in good standing, or a public-relation agency acting on behalf of a MHLA member property.
  3. All nominees must have served in the lodging industry for a MINIMUM OF THREE (3) YEARS; MINIMUM OF FIVE (5) YEARS FOR LEGACY AWARD.
  4. EXPLAIN IN DETAIL (no more than two pages) why this nominee should be honored for exemplary professionalism and exceptional service. Include your nominee’s name on the write-up.
    • Be very specific and detail-oriented on your write-ups by citing as many detailed examples and stories on why your nominee should be selected for the award.
    • All materials should be submitted in an organized, easy-to-judge format with the NAME OF YOUR NOMINEE ON ALL INFORMATION SUBMITTED.
    • All category write-ups should be well thought out since they will be compared to everyone else in that category.
    • Original Write-up
    • Support materials that substantiate the award entry such as: guest comment cards and letters, news clippings, certificates, awards, and other materials for judging consideration(e.g. company newsletter, advertisements, videos, etc.).
    • One color photo/head shot of nominee and/or property
    • Official Entry Form
    • And submit to:

1727 Wili Pa Loop, Suite B
Wailuku, HI 96793

Or for additional information, please contact us.

DEADLINE FOR SUBMITTING ALL ENTRIES IS JULY 21, 2017 . All entries must be received in the MHLA office by 4:00pm or postmarked no later than the deadline date. THERE WILL BE NO EXTENSIONS!

Download the 2017 Po'okela Awards Official Entry Form

Po'okela Awards Categories


The Outstanding Property award is extended to all properties of the Maui Hotel and Lodging Association (MHLA) in good standing.

Overall ranking of property as a whole based on aesthetics, cleanliness, friendly, courteous, and knowledgeable staff, etc.


The Outstanding Allied Member award is extended to all Allied Members of MHLA in good standing.

This award is based on the overall ranking for Allied Members when doing business with MHLA properties.


The Outstanding Employee award is extended to all non-management employees.

This category gives lodging properties and allied members the chance to recognize exemplary professionalism and exceptional service by non-management employees or supervisory employees.

All nominees are judged on performance that goes “above and beyond” normal job responsibilities and outstanding and unusual service to the property, guests, and/or community. Some examples of outstanding service include taking on special services, showing outstanding leadership qualities, performing heroic deeds, and/or consistently adding to the general well-being of guests, fellow employees, and clients/associates.


Open to all current or previous employees in the industry who have worked for at least 5 years.

The Legacy Award honors one who exemplifies visionary leadership and/or who has made a lasting contribution to Maui’s hospitality/visitor industry.

Our 2017 Award Winners!

The Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas

First Hawaiian Bank

Our employees are our most important asset. They are the initial touchpoint with our visitors, the ones that assure dreams come true and visit our island go smoothly.

Ernesto Cabrera, Bellman

Maui Beach Hotel

Ernesto has been in his current position for 11 years and goes above and beyond to assist both guests and fellow team members. He has no problem assisting others with their job duties including picking up a broom and keeping the lobby tidy, helping with maintenance issues, assisting security. His aloha to guests is even greater: making a run to the airport to find a guest’s luggage that she had assumed was lost; finding a lost wallet for a guest that had traveled from Japan. This employee is always at the ready to assist with any guest issues and has received countless comments from guests who take time to recognize his outstanding efforts.

A significant award and honors one who exemplifies visionary leadership and/or who has made a lasting contribution to Maui’s hospitality/visitor industry

Joyce Tihada, PBX Operator

Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa

Joyce has been with The Sheraton since 1966. She is an ambassador not only for her property but for the island – always at the ready to share the history of the property with the guests as well as fellow employees. Joyce is also the shop steward and Union Representative and is quick to see not only the employee’s point of view but the view of leadership. A cancer survivor, this employee devotes a lot of time and energy giving back to the community through Relay for Life. Her team describes her as someone who is synonymous with “Aloha” and “Ho’okipa”.

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