When traveling for business you want a clean, efficient hotel with easy access to your destination. Good business hotels are often so professional, their efforts seem almost invisible. But a lot goes on behind the scenes to create that efficient comfort.
In Chehalis, the Holiday Inn Express & Suites and Best Western Plus Park Place Inn & Suites take their responsibilities very seriously. They work hard for not only their customers but also for the local community. Holiday Inn Express manager, Todd Chaput, explains that each hotel is more than just a place to stay, it’s a family. “We work well together and we work for the common good. Economic development is important to Lewis County and we’re trying to do everything we can to encourage growth. We’re very socially active in the community.”
Both Todd Chaput and Best Western manager, Kelly Robinson, look for every opportunity to support local charities, groups and organizations.
“Each hotel, as well as the management company, fully supports our activities,” Todd tells me. “It’s included in our budget to make sure that we’re active in the community.”
Todd is the President of the local Centralia-Chehalis Chamber of Commerce and is on the board and past president of the United Way. Kelly has served as president for Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors. Both volunteer with the United Way of Lewis County, Twin Cities Rotary and the Boys and Girls Club.
“We’re a drop-off point for community collections, like school supplies for local kids,” Todd says. “The United Way meets here, at the Holiday Inn Express, as does the Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary and the Boys and Girls Club.”
“We donate our linens to the local homeless shelter,” Kelly adds. “We’ve worked with the Red Cross too.”
The Holiday Inn Express was built in 2009 and Todd was the original manager. Kelly was hired soon thereafter and has been managing the Best Western since 2016.
Todd explains that the key to good service is good staffing. “Making sure we have a content and well-trained staff comes first,” he says. “In the interview process we look for people that you’d like to be friends with. You can train anyone to do the job, but you can’t train a good personality. Once you’ve got a good staff it’s easy to provide great customer service.”
A beneficial work environment encourages people to stay with the company. “We have the same people at the front desk for years,” Todd says. “They go away to college and come back to work during school holidays. They’re here when I need them and they’re making money when they need to make money. This might not be their ultimate goal but it’s a stepping stone to where they want to be.”
The Holiday Inn Express and the Best Western focus on business travelers during the week and visitors for sport events and weddings on the weekends. “Our busiest days are Tuesday and Wednesday,” Todd says. Both hotels offer hot breakfasts, free Wi-Fi and free parking. “We’re not going to have all the amenities that you’ll see in a 5-star hotel but here, everything is included in the price. We won’t nickel and dime you.” Besides the basics, the Holiday Inn Express has an 1,800-square foot meeting space, on-site catering and a 24-hour Business Center.
The Best Western also caters to business travelers but has a wider range of clientele. “My hotel is really designed more for leisure travel,” Kelly explains. “It’s a family friendly hotel, more personalized than the Holiday Inn Express.” That means extra-special touches for customers. “We have a chef creating made-to-order omelets in the morning,” Kelly says. “That’s not something a lot of hotels can offer.” They also cater to motorcyclists, offering 24-hour parking surveillance and a wash station.
In either hotel, “It’s all about going the extra mile and recognizing, in advance, what a customer’s needs might be,” Todd says. “And the relationship between the two hotels helps both to excel.”
The hotels are managed by Hotel Services Group, a full-service hospitality management company out of Mount Vernon, WA.
“We interact with them on a daily basis,” Todd says, “They handle a lot of organizational details for us like book keeping, payroll and they assist with sales and marketing.”
“They’re here to make sure our hotels make money and run efficiently,” Kelly adds.
Hotel Services Group has nine hotels in their portfolio, all along the I-5 corridor in Washington. Holiday Inn Express and Best Western Plus Park Place Inn are the southern-most hotels in the Hotel Services Group.
So the next time you are traveling for business or leisure, or have company visiting from out of town – book a room at one of these great hotels. You’ll feel right at home and you’ll sleep well knowing that you’re supporting a company that supports our community.