Even though the name "Holiday Inn" may be relatively new to the city, the hotel's record of superior service and high-quality accommodations goes back to 1987, according to Jennifer Locey, vice president of operations for Chartwell Hotels, the management company which owns the hotel.
According to Locey, the same family which first purchased the hotel 1987 continues to oversee the business today. She said the company's latest renovations, including the building of an adjacent Holiday Inn Express, show the company's commitment to the area.
"The company's very happy in Williamsport, and that's why they've decided to invest in the second hotel," she said. "George Tunis (president of Chartwell Hotels) really believes in Williamsport. It's a great area to have a business in."
A member of the Holiday Inn staff prepares the hotel's outdoor patio for its grand opening celebration recently. The newly-renovated patio is a part of the James restaraunt, a full-service eatery located
at the Holiday Inn.
The new hotel will be a limited service hotel, as opposed to the Holiday Inn's full-service environment, complete with a variety of suites, which will be larger than standard rooms, with an in-room microwave and refrigerator.
Locey said one of the key advantages to staying at the Holiday Inn is the "Priority Club," which allows customers to accumulate points and earn rewards, including American Express gift cards.
"We're the only hotel chain in the nation that offers (the gift cards)," Locey said. "Customers can sign up at the front desk at no cost."
The hotel has a record of winning service and hospitality awards. When the hotel was affiliated with the Radisson chain, it won the prestigious President's Award, for customer satisfaction and property management, three years in a row.
Two years ago, after switching to the Holiday Inn chain, the hotel won the Newcomer's Award, given in recognition of the best properties to join the chain within the past year.
Locey attributes to hotel's success to the employees' status as "hospitality professionals."
"When we interview, we're only looking for true hospitality professionals," she said. "We're looking a lot at personality and attitude."
Locey said the company also tries to encourage the happiness and success of its employees through a company-wide wellness program and other incentives.
"We take pride in our employees," she said. "If our staff members are happy, they do better service."
Along with the addition of the new hotel, the Williamsport Holiday Inn, along with the other hotels in the chain, will be undergoing a "brand relaunch," in order to update and improve the company's image and customer appeal.
"(The relaunch) is making the brand new, giving it a fresh feel," Locey said. "It's like a fresh, new start."
In addition to a new, updated logo, the hotel will bring in new signature features, such as improved bedding, outdoor music and a new signature scent.
However, the atmosphere of change is not new to the hotel, which has undergone several renovations in recent times.
"In the past several years, we've renovated almost the entire hotel," Locey said.
Even outside of the hotel business, the company enjoys giving back to the community through its employees participation in local organizations and activities. Locey is involved with the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce and the Lycoming County Visitor's Bureau.
"It's about making sure we're involved in the community," she said.