Ruckersville Best Western earns kudo after kudo

By Susan Gibbs

Greene County may be the Gateway to the Blue Ridge and to Charlottesville, but the gateway to those gateways is the three-diamond AAA-rated BEST WESTERN PLUS Charlottesville Airport Inn & Suites.

Located just a hop, skip and a jump from the Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport, the hotel at 5920 Seminole Trail in Ruckersville has it all: its amenities go above and beyond to include, in addition to the banquet, meeting and conference rooms, seasonal heated pool, a 24-hour business center and  a fully-equipped, state-of-the-art 1,800-square foot fitness facility.

It has been an award-winner ever since it first opened its doors in late 2006.

Inn General Manager Jillian Peatross

“The staff has sought to differentiate themselves from other area hotels by providing a higher level of satisfaction and comfort, as well as consistency in the property’s cleanliness and amenities,” said Jillian Peatross, the Inn’s general manager.

Within months of its opening, the hotel was awarded Best Western’s Director’s Award for achieving a quality assurance score of 950 or above out of a highest possible score of 1,000. The following year the hotel was presented with Best Western’s Chairman’s Award and the Best of the Best Award for overall design – an award that is particularly distinctive as only seven are presented each year.

That, considering the fact that there are more than 4,000 hotels that carry the Best Western brand in 90 countries and territories worldwide.

The Inn's lobby welcomes its guests

But it’s not surprising: while the 122 guest rooms feature cable or satellite television, in-room movies, alarm clocks, radios, refrigerators, microwaves, coffee or tea makers, hair dryers and ironing boards, they also feature luxury mattresses with upgraded linens and duvets, easy chairs with ottomans, work areas with data ports, in-room safes,  and more.

When the recession struck in 2008 the hotel did not cut corners.

Instead, Best Western launched the Best Western  I Care program to equip hotels with the information, training and tools needed to lead the industry in superior customer care.

“The staff had to complete training that focused on satisfying every guest, every time,” Peatross explained.  “This included utilizing tools that provided empowerment and service recovery to our team members. The staff was excited and driven to utilize these new concepts to continue to achieve the hotel’s overall goals.”

As a result, BEST WESTERN PLUS Charlottesville Airport Inn & Suites staff beefed up efforts to claim the hotel’s share of the market – and were rewarded with winning Best Western’s Chairman’s Award, which requires a quality assurance score of 980 or above out of 1,000 possible points, not once, but twice this year. They were also rewarded with Best Western’s Champion Quality Award, which requires top scores in customer service as well as quality assurance.

All 122 rooms at the Inn feature luxury mattresses covered with upgraded linens and duvets

In 2009, Best Western Inc. initiated phase two of its I Care program, which required hotel staff to closely examine their habits and remove any inconsistencies in cleanliness and maintenance.

“The goal in this phase is really having a property that is “Ultra Clean” where everything works,” Peatross said.  “So the training really focused on black light training for housekeeping staff – which helps to deep clean defects not visible to the naked eye — and preventative maintenance to proactively ensure all items are in working order before they become a concern for the guest.”

That year, the hotel won two more awards: Best Western’s Chairman’s Award, and its Champion Customer Care Award.

And then, in 2010, BEST WESTERN PLUS Charlottesville Airport Inn & Suites Sales Director Veronica Dumas beat out sales directors from all of Best Western’s 2,200 hotels in North America to be named Sales Director of the Year. The hotel was presented with another Chairman’s Award, and another Champion Customer Care Award.

But staff did not stop there.

On February 1, 2011, the hotel earned the PLUS that now follows its BEST WESTERN name, earning the status that indicates  well-appointed rooms with modern amenities, and an enhanced level of comfort for guests looking to get the most out of their stay.

That summer, the hotel management was quoted in Best Western Way, a corporate magazine published for the trade.

Referring to the implementation of the I Careprogram, they said: “When we first implemented the program, we communicated changes to our guests and solicited feedback. They told us what they liked and didn’t like, and we were able to share that feedback with Best Western to improve the program.

The Inn's 1,800-square foot fitness center is fully outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment

Last December, BEST WESTERN PLUS Charlottesville Airport Inn & Suites was awarded Best Western’s M.K. Geurtin Award – the highest honor a Best Western property can receive, given to hotels that exemplify exceptional levels of design, quality, service, and guest satisfaction.

The Ruckersville establishment is one of only 12 hotels of more than 2,400 to receive this designation.

Peatross accepted the award at Best Western International’s annual North American Convention, in front of more than 2,000 industry peers.

“We have to be competitive with the Hampton Inns and Marriotts in our market, which are known for their consistency,” she told Best Western Way last year.

And, she has assured Eye on Greene: “It is our goal to continue to provide a level of service and comfort that is superior to our competition. We rely on our positive reputation of aclean, comfortable home away from home where guests can relax with a staff eager to welcome and serve them.”

For reservations, call the hotel directly at 434 985-1855 or call Best Western’s 24-hour, toll-free number at 1-800- WESTERN. Reservations are also available through the hotel’s chain Web site at www.bestwes

BEST WESTERN PLUS Charlottesvile Inn & Suites is a consistent award-winner and has earned a three-diamond rating from AAA

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