April 6, 2012
Hotels gain recognition
Country Inn & Suites, Hope Lake Lodge receive industry honors
Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Hope Lake Lodge in Virgil was recently named the third best large family hotel by the website TripAdvisor.com.
Two local hotels, Hope Lake Lodge at Greek Peak Mountain Resort, and the Country Inns & Suites on Route 281 in Cortlandville, announced they have received prestigious industry awards.
Officials from both hotels say they are excited and pleased by the recognition, but gave all of the credit to their employees.
Jim Dempsey, director of the Cortland County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, said having two local hotels receive recognition like this speaks volumes about the quality of service in Cortland-area hotels.
“It’s really impressive,” he said. “For the size of our hospitality industry, it really speaks to the caliber of service and the caliber of the people they employ.”
Country Inns and Suites was named Hotel of the Year for the entire Country Inn and Suites chain. There are 484 Country Inns and Suites worldwide.
Greek Peak’s Hope Lake Lodge was named the third best Large Family Hotel in the U.S. and fourth overall in the world by TripAdvisor.com.
Trip Advisors is one of the largest travel websites and relies on rankings and advice from fellow travelers. The company operates 19 other travel sites around the world and generates 69 million unique visitors monthly.
A large hotel has more than 100 units. The average nightly stay in a large family hotels and resorts cost $292.
Lesley Carlin, an etiquette and travel expert with TripAdvisor.com, said the rankings are unique because they are based on data, rather than editorial opinions.
“All the information is plugged in to an algorithm,” she said. “It’s based on reviews and opinions of travelers who are traveling with their family.”
This is the first year the website put together a list exclusively for traveling families.
Gayle Kryger, vice-president of Real Estate Sales, Marketing and Special Projects for Greek Peak, said the resort is very excited about the award.
“We’re jumping for joy,” she said. “We’ve received tons of customers reviews and we’ve just been blown away by the response.”
Hope Lake Lodge ranked higher than resorts such as Disney’s Wilderness Lodge in Orlando.
Under many of the Greek Peak reviews on TripAdvisor.com, Kryger replied to the travelers’ comments, thanking some of them and accepting the criticisms of others.
When Greek Peak opened Hope Lake Lodge in 2009, it made a point to hire local workers for the hotel, which made all the difference in customer service, Kryger said.
“A lot of people wanted us to hire professionals from outside the area,” she said. “But we decided to hire locally and it shows. There’s always a smile and eye contact. It says a lot about how we raise our children in Cortland.”
Teri Tarshus, general manager at the County Inn and Suites, said the hotel was named the company’s Hotel of the Year for meeting several company benchmarks, including guest satisfaction, increased revenue stream and quality performance.
“A lot of our guests are attending events at SUNY Cortland,” Tarshus said. “While other hotels have just been trying to stay flat, our business has been increasing.”
Country Inn and Suites District Director Guy Beaulieu said in an emailed statement that the Cortlandville County Inns and Suites is everything the company looks for in a hotel.
“The Country Inns & Suites is deserving of the Hotel of Year Award and best meets the epitome of our definition of being able to balance all areas of satisfaction and revenue to achieve the highest results for our guests, for our staff and for our owners,” he said.
Cortland’s County Inn and Suites franchise is owned by Corning-based Visions Hotels, which operates 21 hotels in New York, including the Hampton Inn at 26 River St. in Cortland.
The brand is owned by Minnesota-based Carlson Corp.
Tarshus received the award in February. The hotel held a recognition dinner for its employees Thursday night.
It is those employees that made the award possible, Tarshus said.
“I have a great team of people,” she said. “When you walk in to a hotel, you have expectations. We want to exceed those expectations and compare us to other hotels when you leave.”
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