“That’s a big improvement,” said manager Misty Hughey.
She added, compared to 2009, the hotel is doing better and the Timken Sports Complex has played a large role in the increase in business. Hughey said there hasn’t been a weekend since the complex opened at the end of February the hotel hasn’t been booked when a tournament was scheduled there.
“For the sports complex just opening, that’s great,” she said.
The Union hotel has answered the call of its customers, though, even while there have been saws, hammers and a host of other tools inside the building for the last several months.
It’s for the customers all the work is being done.
America’s Best Value Inn & Suites — located at 315 N. Duncan Bypass — is getting a facelift, inside and out, and soon travelers and motorists will know it by a different name.
The hotel — still owned by Nishant Enterprises and managed by Karm Investment Inc. — will become a Quality Inn hopefully by the end of June. The brand change not only brings with it a change in look for the long-time Union hotel, but also a reinvigorated approach to customer service and quality the staff is embracing.
The new Quality Inn will be a part of the Choice Hotels chain which includes at least seven hotel brands such as Comfort Inn, Sleep Inn and Comfort Inn & Suites.
The hotel has undergone several changes since work began back in November to make the transition. The main thrust of the changeover started at the first of this year.
Since then, work has been ongoing while the hotel remained open to serve customers. Several changes have been made, including the introduction of all new Serta mattresses in each of the hotel’s rooms which span two floors and all new bed linens, new artwork, new ironing boards and irons, new coffee pots, fresh paint, new carpet and tiling and other options.
Work also has been done to bring new amenities to the hotel. As a Quality Inn, the hotel will offer a small business center for its guests which will consist of a computer, desk, printer and supplies. The new brand brings with it a new guest laundry room and also a newly refurbished exercise room.
Other changes guests will notice when they stay at the Union hotel will be the introduction of a complimentary new warm deluxe continental breakfast bar which will offer food such as bagels, English muffins, fruit, biscuits and gravy, danishes, cereal, juice and the waffles with which some guests of America’s Best Value Inn & Suites have become familiar.
“It’s a pretty good breakfast bar,” said hotel maintenance manager Trent Moore.
The brand change also comes with the continuation of free WiFi access for guests in all of the hotel rooms and new cable TV from Charter Cable which includes 70 channels, even free HBO.
By 2011, every room at the hotel also will have new carpet and new flatscreen televisions for guests to enjoy the new Charter Cable.
But above all the physical changes will be the difference in customer service and quality, the two areas Hughey — as a hands-on manager — is focusing on.
“We’ve always had great customer service,” the manager said. “But we’re going to go above and beyond.”
The change to Quality Inn brings a better reservation system and the 100 percent customer satisfaction guarantee Choice Hotels have become well-known for. The new reservation system will not only allow guests to reserve rooms in Union online — either at its own Web site or through others like Expedia and Travelocity — but also keep management and staff at the hotel aware of how many rooms they have left to fill, leading to better customer service before a guest’s stay ever begins.
It also means stringent Choice Hotels cleaning standards and Hughey said the hotel’s housekeeping department already has dedicated itself to going above even those to make sure guests are happy with the cleanliness of their room while enjoying their quality stay.
Even better news, however, is that just because the hotel is upgrading to a Quality Inn doesn’t mean the rates to stay there are doing the same.
Hughey reported the nightly rate will remain at $69. The hotel also will honor any and all discounts and offers group and weekly rates among other specials.
Moore said plans for changing brands have been in the works for a few years.
The hotel building currently occupied by America’s Best Value Inn & Suites was constructed 13 years ago and started out as a Comfort Inn. It then became a Regency property prior to becoming an America’s Best Value Inn & Suites.
Nishant Enterprises has put $250,000 into the conversion to Quality Inn. The change over to Quality Inn is hoped to be finished by the end of this month with the new sign going up after the hotel has passed all inspections through Choice Hotels.
A grand opening is planned for sometime shortly after the conversion has been completed.
Unfortunately, the change doesn’t necessarily mean more jobs at the Union hotel. Hughey said that depends on the number of guests the hotel gets which is a number it needs to increase throughout the week. She said weekends are great, but it would make a huge difference to get more guests throughout the week.
“If we can get some more business,” Hughey said.
And the hotel is well on its way with the business it picked up after the sports complex opened. The building was built for future expansion and could easily be a four-story hotel with an elevator if business called for an expansion.
Hughey, Moore and the staff of America’s Best Value Inn & Suites are excited about the conversion to Quality Inn and look forward to serving their guests with an increased emphasis on the great customer service and quality the hotel has continued to offer.
The manager said as long as her guests have a quality stay and experience the best possible customer service, then her and the staff’s jobs have been done.
It also goes a long way when people are thinking about where to stay when they come back to Union and Union County.
“I think they will enjoy coming back,” Hughey said.