Hotel receives award
Published 7:00 am Thursday, June 12, 2014
Picayune’s Holiday Inn Express was recognized by their parent corporation for their work to resolve customer complaints quickly.
Owner and manager of the local franchise Nikhil Ajmera and his staff received the “Best increase in problem resolution” award form InterContinental Hotels Group Senior Area Manager Wayne Farwell Tuesday.
Farwell said the award was presented to Ajmera’s hotel because of the staff’s efforts to ensure customer satisfaction. Hotels that can address and solve customer complaints increase business because positive experiences create repeat customers.
Ajmera’s region includes 45 hotels throughout Mississippi and west Tennessee, Farwell said.
Worldwide IHG owns 4,500 hotels and their largest growth market is China, Farwell said.
Ajmera said typical customer complaints deal with air conditioning, television problems or the breakfast selection. The key is to respond to and address every problem as quickly as possible.
While the problems may seem minor, weary travelers see them as major issues, Farwell said.
“Our whole goal is to take a problem and not just solve it, but they think more of us because we went out of our way to do it,” Ajmera said.
Picayune’s location is a bit hard to find for those unfamiliar with the area, so staff will go the extra mile to provide driving directions to lost travelers.
Providing that information, especially when the staff is busy, is essential to customer satisfaction.
Maintaining appearances is also vital. Ajmera said even thought the hotel is only five-years-old, he continuously invests in its maintenance.
Such work includes landscaping and changing pillows.
“We are continuously putting money back into the hotel to keep it up to date,” Ajmera said.
A few additions have been added to the lobby, including a small library, baked goods from Paul’s Pastry and healthier snack options in the vending machine.
Currently the hotel receives a lot of business from contractors working at John C. Stennis Space Center, Ajmera said.
The recent youth baseball tournament also brought in a lot of business, leaving the hotel booked all weekend, Ajmera said.
Community spirit is practiced at the hotel. Ajmera said he provides sponsorships to many local organizations, including Partners for Stennis, Greater Picayune Area Chamber of Commerce, local school districts and also local youth sports organizations.
Ajmera said he would like to thank his Director of Operations Earline Williams, Sales Manager Shelbie Lee and Director of Front Office Operations Jessica Clabaugh for their hard work in receiving this award.