Above:“Discover Oklahoma” Executive Producer Jenifer Reynolds (left) and Oklahoma Lieutenant Governor Matt Pinnell (right) presented the Oklahoma Travel Industry’s top RedBud Award to Shangri-La Resort as the “Outstanding Attraction in Oklahoma.” Pictured with the two presenters are (from left) Shangri-La Director of Sales Dana Able, Director of Catering Linda Wall, Grove Area Chamber of Commerce President Donnie Crain (who nominated Shangri-La for the award), and Shangri-La Director of Communications Mike Williams.
Grand Lake’s Shangri-La Resort took top honors at the June 14 “RedBud Awards Gala” hosted by the Oklahoma Travel Industry Association. The resort was honored as “Outstanding Attraction in Oklahoma.”
A total of 37 awards were presented in 17 categories, honoring a variety of websites, events, publications, promotional materials, and agritourism facilities; but the biggest honor went to Shangri-La Resort, which was nominated for the award by Grove Area Chamber of Commerce President Donnie Crain. Awards were presented by “Discover Oklahoma” Executive Producer Jenifer Reynolds and Oklahoma Lieutenant Governor Matt Pinnell at the gala event which was held at the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City.
“This year’s RedBud Award submissions were highly competitive,” said Debra Bailey, OTIA President and CEO. “With travel picking back up, each submission is an example of why Oklahoma is a perfect travel destination, and we are thrilled to be honoring these entries.”
“This is the ultimate honor for our resort,” said Barry Willingham, Shangri-La President & CEO Barry Willingham. “It was a big night for us, for sure. Simultaneous with the awards presentation, KOTV, Tulsa’s Channel 6, was also airing a travel special, ‘Summer Attractions’ which featured a great story by ‘Six in the Morning’ anchor LeAnne Taylor who spent a day with us at Shangri-La. We couldn’t have had a bigger night.”
Competition entries must have been produced, published, broadcast or held between January 1, 2021 and December 31, 2021. All entries were evaluated by a slate of tourism professionals on specific criteria including customer service and experience, marketing effectiveness, media relations, variety of audiences reached, value and overall creativity.
“We couldn’t be more excited,” said Shangri-La Director of Communications & Government Relations Mike Williams, who was on hand to accept the award with the resort’s Director of Sales Dana Able and Director of Catering Linda Wall. “We are grateful, indeed, to Donnie Crain for his nomination. We have a fabulous team operating a wide variety of entertainment options at Shangri-La; and we are so proud that their hard work and dedication is recognized by the travel & tourism professionals who judged the entries.
The prestigious RedBud Award was not the only honor of the week for Oklahoma’s premier destination, though. Just one week after announcement of the RedBud Awards, The Tulsa World announced that its readers had also voted Shangri-La as “Best Lake Resort” in their “Best in The Burbs” competition.
“We aren’t letting off the gas,” said Willingham. “The opening of The Anchor activity park at Shangri-La last year has been a true game-changer. We anticipate that the opening of ‘The Battlefield,’ our new 18-hole par 3 golf course in the spring of 2023 will be equally impactful. It is a perfect supplement to our 27 holes of championship golf.
Shangri-La Resort also features a 119-room luxury resort hotel with an expansive outdoor resort pool, and indoor pool, 9,000 square feet of meeting space, a medical spa, fitness center, and four restaurant options.