Hotel Online  Special Report



Hilton Garden Inn Names Performance
Award Winners for 2003;
Rita Arnold, Hilton Garden Inn Orlando East, Receives
Brand's General Manager of the Year Award


BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., Feb. 4, 2004 – Hilton Garden Inn®, the upscale mid-priced brand targeted to today’s growing segment of mid-market travelers, proudly saluted its top hotel performance award winners for 2003, during a presentation held last week at the brand’s Focused-Service Brand Conference in New Orleans. 

“We are very proud of each of our hotel’s accomplishments during 2003 and hope that the Hotel Performance Awards will be great incentives for all of our 180+ properties across North America to continue to give their all and strive to be the best in the mid-market hotel segment,” said Adrian Kurre, senior vice president - brand management, Hilton Garden Inn. “I’d like to commend this year’s recipients for their remarkable efforts and applaud them for making the Hilton Garden Inn brand the preferred choice for business and leisure travelers.”


Jeannie Berg, general manager of the Hilton Garden Inn Spokane Airport -- Washington, accepted on behalf of the hotel.  The Hilton Garden Inn Spokane Airport was recognized, as a result of their top overall 2003 results on the Balanced Scorecard.  The hotel ranked above all other 180+ Hilton Garden Inn hotels, in loyalty, brand standards compliance, cleanliness, physical condition and overall service and had zero brand standard violations.  The airport property excelled despite customers length of stay patterns and the nature of airport business.


Rita Arnold, general manager of the Hilton Garden Inn Orlando East -- Florida, received the brand's General Manager of the Year Award.  Ms. Arnold was selected from several nominations by Hilton Garden Inn hotel owners, regional directors and brand support teams across the country. “Ms. Arnold is a general manager who has the strength and dedication that is almost impossible to match both in her personal and professional lives,” said Kurre.  “Not only does her hotel have high loyalty scores, but her personal loyalty score from team members is off the charts as the hotel has been opened now for two years, and she has retained close to all of her opening team members.  Her team members tell us that her heart is the biggest of all…she rules with an iron fist and commands the troops with authority yet at the same time with compassion and grace.”

The following Hotel Performance Awards were presented as a result of year-end 2003 scores and results from the Hilton Garden Inn Balanced Scorecard, a tool used by the brand to measure and track overall performance of each Hilton Garden Inn hotel in various key performance indicators: Customer Loyalty Tracking Survey, Quality Assurance, and Brand Management and Product Standards.


Our Pride Merit Award represents our second and third position on the Balanced Scorecard.  Our second place Pride Merit Award for overall 2003 results was presented to Steve Steinberg, general manager of the Hilton Garden Inn Fairfax – Virginia, whose team says that he demonstrates Ultimate Service in every aspect of the operation.  The third place Pride Merit Award went to the Hilton Garden Inn Dallas/Allen – Texas,  which just turned one-year-old in the third quarter of 2003 and was represented by James Montgomery, hotel general manager. 


The best performance in Guest Loyalty Award was presented to the Hilton Garden Inn Fairfax – Virginia which maintained the highest year-to-date scores for a 12-month period - systemwide - on the brand's guest survey system, the Customer Loyalty Tracking Survey. 


The Most Improved Loyalty Award was presented to hotel general manager, Debbie Randel, and the Hilton Garden Inn Albuquerque North/Rio Rancho – New Mexico, for an increase in Loyalty Scores over the year which was achieved by putting the right team members in the right positions and being a strong advocate of developing and promoting from within.


The Hilton Garden Inn Independence – Missouri, represented by general manager, Eddie Vergara, received the Most Improved Hotel Award having shown the greatest improvement in their Balanced Scorecard over a 12-month period from 2002 to 2003. Monthly meetings reviewed Ultimate Service modules, reinforced empowerment and reviewed how individual team members resolved problems on their own, took the time to review their customer loyalty scores, set goals and establish action plans.


The Hilton HHonors Loyalty Award was presented to general manager, Gerald Kiladjian, and the Hilton Garden Inn Portland Airport – Oregon, which provided the most exemplary service to members of Hilton HHonors®, the company's award-winning frequent guest program.


The Hilton Garden Inn Grand Forks/UND – North Dakota, was awarded the brand’s Ramp-Up Award  for 2003. The hotel achieved 100% market penetration in Occupancy, ADR and REVPAR the quickest and maintained it continuously– reflecting the hotel’s quality operations and product, aggressive sales and marketing efforts and strong consistent performance from the moment the hotel opened its doors in November 2002.  Tom Arnot of Beechwood Development accepted the award on behalf of the hotel.


The Hilton Garden Inn Cincinnati Northeast – Ohio, was presented with the brand’s first Best Community Service Project for their special “Grow A School Garden” endeavor with students from Loveland Primary School and the Journey North National Program. Peter Johnson, general manager, and hotel team members donated a total of 600 red Emperor tulip bulbs to the school as part of the project.  The community outreach effort brought 24 students to the hotel to plant 100 tulip bulbs at the front of the hotel.  The remaining tulip bulbs were presented to Loveland Primary School so that 350 tulip bulbs could be planted in the school yard while the other 150 bulbs were planted and used for scientific projects in the classroom – bringing the garden project indoors so that second graders could grow and monitor the red tulip bulbs throughout the winter season. 


The Hilton Garden Inn Wichita – Kansas, represented by general manager, Walter Brosch, showed that his hotel was at the top of its class in resolving guest concerns and service recovery.


The Owner of the Year accolade was presented to Tom Hunt and his company, The Hotel Group, which owns the Hilton Garden Inn Auburn/Opelika, and the Hilton Garden Inn Montgomery --- both hotel locations in Alabama. Hunt began his career in hotels at the grass roots level, and was a general manager in one of our sister brands.  He loved what he did so much that he rounded up some investors and bought the property.  He and his team have since built several other hotels and he works hard to be a hands-on owner while distancing himself enough to allow his teams to be successful.  To impart his company’s philosophies and the importance of team member ownership and service in our industry, Hunt often makes it a point to speak to every team member before they are hired, and treats every team member with the utmost respect, making most feel like members of his family. According to Kurre, “Tom understands the importance of brand standards and product consistency, and his team champions our efforts to keep the Hilton Garden Inn brand moving forward with the times.”  The Hotel Group, based in Auburn, Ala., currently has two Hilton Family of Hotel projects under construction. 

Hilton Garden Inn also presented awards to developers in the following categories: 


Mr. Sam Chang, founder and owner of Mcsam Hotel, LLC, and MikeSam Constructions Corporation was recognized as the Developer of the Year.  Mr. Chang is currently developing the first Hilton Garden Inn property that will be located in Manhattan, in the trendy and exciting downtown location of Tribeca. With more than 20+ years in the hotel industry and with expertise in operations, development, construction, renovations and acquisitions, Mr. Chang is currently converting a hotel in the Fort Washington, Pa., area – completely gutting it and redoing the interior and exterior in time to open this summer.  In addition, he is also working on a hotel located one mile from JFK International Airport in New York City, which is already under construction and due to open in April.


The Best Conversion of the Year was presented to Ken Francis, founder of Pacific Realty Advisors for the first significant conversion within the Hilton Garden Inn system – the Hilton Garden Inn Phoenix Midtown in Phoenix, Arizona.  The property is the end result of a two-year planning and development process that involved the conversion of a Lexington Hotel to a Hilton Garden Inn.  The conversion was part of the Phoenix City Square, an approximate 900,000 square foot mixed-use commercial office complex that includes the hotel, retail, and the Sports Club – a 35,000 square-foot full service health and fitness facility. 


In recognition of the Hilton Garden Inn Portland Downtown Waterfront that opened in June 2003 in Maine, Kevin Mahaney and Olympia Equity Investors were presented with the Deal of the Year accolade.  Mr. Mahaney and his team were faced with the daunting task of melding Portland’s Historical Preservation Committee’s “Urban Contemporary” requirements with Hilton Garden Inn standards. The result was the first titanium-clad hotel in the United States that gave the Historic Committee the contemporary look they required while still keeping up the brand’s standards – the hotel project took a total of 16 months from groundbreaking to opening.


The Outstanding Achievement award was presented to Bob Ray and his partners, Duane and Carl Hoover from Southern States Management.  The Suwanee, Ga., -based company has developed two full-service Hilton Hotels and are active supporters of the Hilton Garden Inn brand with three open hotels and a fourth currently under construction. On every project, they have pushed the envelope looking for ways to upgrade the Hilton Garden Inn brand.  Their first project, the Hilton Garden Inn Lake Mary in Lake Mary, Florida, was the original hotel prototype and has consistently been one of the top performing properties in the Hilton Garden Inn system, including being named Hotel of the Year in 2001.  Southern States Management is currently working on a 125-room Hilton Garden Inn hotel to be located in Northwest Atlanta which will include a 700-square-foot exercise facility; a 700-square-foot ballroom; 3,000 square feet of additional meeting rooms; two upgraded suites and 16 mini-suites.

More than 250 Hilton Garden Inn properties are currently open or under development in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. 

The Hilton Garden Inn brand is part of Hilton Hotels Corporation; recognized internationally as a preeminent hospitality company.  The company develops, owns, manages or franchises more than 2,100 hotels, resorts and vacation ownership properties.

Agnes Sibal
Hilton Garden Inn Brand Communications

Also See: Michelle Gehman, GM of the Hilton Garden Inn Lancaster in Pennsylvania, Receives the Brand's First General Manager of the Year Award / Jan 2002
Hilton Garden Inn '2002 Hotel of the Year' Awarded to Hilton Garden Inn - Wichita, Roger Greene, GM of the Hilton Garden Inn Cleveland/Twinsburg Named 'General Manager of the Year' / Feb 2003

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