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Brainerd lakes area dominates tourism award ceremony

This year's best of awards were a showcase for Brainerd area resorts and tourism organizations. The event was held April 2 at the WINDOWS on Minnesota at the Marquette Hotel. There were many local resorts, tourism and social media efforts not onl...

A boat carrying guests glides in to shore at Cragun’s Resort on Gull Lake. (Kelly Humphrey, Brainerd Dispatch)
Boaters enjoy a summer day on Gull Lake. (Kelly Humphrey, Brainerd Dispatch)

This year's best of awards were a showcase for Brainerd area resorts and tourism organizations.

The event was held April 2 at the WINDOWS on Minnesota at the Marquette Hotel. There were many local resorts, tourism and social media efforts not only nominated, but also awarded with some of top honors outside the metro area. All awards are decided by Reader's Choice for the Minnesota Meetings + Events Magazine Best of the Industry Awards winners and are highlighted in the publication's spring issue.

"This year showcased another ceremony where the Brainerd lakes area is becoming the destination of choice in the state," said Frank Soukup, director of marketing at Grand View Lodge, in a news release. "Many of the nominations included lakes area businesses and our community truly dominated the destination awards. This means a lot to driving more tourism to our area."

Winners included Visit Brainerd, which for the third consecutive year took home the Best Convention + Visitors Bureau award (less than­­ 25,000 in population). Visit Brainerd is the tourism bureau for Brainerd and Baxter and is known for its aggressive marketing of the lakes area and strong social media presence.

"Visit Brainerd and its partners are committed to making every visit a successful and memorable one," said Richard Polipnick, executive director, in a news release. "We try to focus on the information travelers want and need and provide it to them through multiple platforms throughout the travel cycle."

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Also winning for the second year in a row was Madden's on Gull Lake for the Best Social Media Presence (convention visitors bureau, venue or company).

"Our guests are extremely passionate about our brands, and social media is such a great way to continue the Madden's experience before and after your visit," said Kathy Reichenbach, marketing director.

Grand View Lodge won the "trifecta" again this year, duplicating their wins from last year including Best Resort with Meetings/Event Space, Best Venue Outside of Metro, and Best Golf Venue. Grand View was cited for having the best year-round activities, atmosphere and best service.

"I can't tell you how proud I am of the team we have at our resort," said Cindy Baysinger, director of sales for Grand View Lodge. "This being a reader's poll, shows just how well our staff does at service and catering for groups and guests that come to our area. It just shows how well we treat our guests to make them want to come back - year after year."

Also representing the Brainerd lakes area were Destiny Cruises, Nisswa Chamber of Commerce, and with multiple nominations, Breezy Point Resort and Cragun's.

Related Topics: TOURISMBRAINERD LAKES AREA
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