Courtesy photo: The George S. Mickelson Award was presented to members of the Swiftel Center staff at the 2019 South Dakota Governor’s Conference on Tourism. From left are South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, Swiftel Center Event Manager Ashley Biggar, Swiftel Center Sales & Marketing Manager Kristina Lankow and South Dakota Secretary of Tourism Jim Hagen.

By: Swiftel Center

Midwest hospitality at its best.

That’s the philosophy at the Swiftel Center. That motto has rung true as the Swiftel Center has been awarded the 2018 George S. Mickelson Great Service Award. 

The award was presented to members of the Swiftel Center staff by South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem and South Dakota Secretary of Tourism Jim Hagen at the 2019 Governor’s Conference on Tourism.

“The Swiftel Center is taking a unique look at motivating and educating their staff to provide high levels of customer service,” Gov. Kristi Noem said. “Whether a full-time or part-time employee, they are demonstrating what people-first service looks like and are seeing the benefits of their excellence.”

Team members – including all Swiftel Center full-time and part time staff – are encouraged to continuously consider the four basic needs of any guest: to feel welcome, to feel important, to be understood, and to be safe and comfortable. The staff at the Swiftel Center strives to provide excellence customer service that upholds these four needs.

“We are honored to be recognized by the Governor of South Dakota for the George S. Mickelson Great Service Award,” Swiftel Center Executive Director Tom Richter said. “The Swiftel Center team takes great pride in consistently putting service first for our customers and patrons.”

At the Swiftel Center, each department hosts an annual training to introduce part-time staff to new hospitality materials and review policies and procedures. The Swiftel Center also provides yearly training to motivate and teach new customer service skills.

“Every staff member can provide a moment of impact for our clients, whether it is opening a door, setting up a table, serving a meal, or just offering a friendly welcome,” Swiftel Center Sales and Marketing Manager Kristina Lankow said. “We always need to be on top of our game. The George S. Mickelson Great Service Award is a major honor for our facility and will motivate us to continuously demonstrate our commitment to our guests to always be our best.”

To collect feedback from customers, patrons, guests and clients, the Swiftel Center sends a client satisfaction survey. Employee appreciation parties provide an opportunity to recognize staff achievements, while “high five” cards are used to let staff members know when they are doing an awesome job. 

“We are committed to provide the very best experience for every guest who enters our doors,” Event Manager Ashley Biggar said. “Our team is nothing short of amazing. Feedback from both our staff and guests is not only heard but is used to take action to make our events better and better. We look forward to utilizing our current training to continue to provide ‘Midwest Hospitality at its Best.’”

The George S. Mickelson Great Service Award honors businesses or organizations that have done an exemplary job of exceeding visitors’ expectations in customer service. It marks the culmination of a yearly hospitality program that involves hospitality training, customer comment cards, an employee recognition program, and an application for the Great Service Star designation. 

To learn more about the award and view a list of recipients, visit

For more information on the Swiftel Center, visit, call 692-7539 or follow at

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