April 27, 2001

Ithaca Hotel Wins National Acclaim

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Courtyard Ithaca has recently received recognition from Marriott for providing the best customer service among all Courtyard hotels. Out of 540 Courtyards worldwide, Courtyard Ithaca scored a 95.9 percent on post occupancy questionnaires while the average Courtyard scored 84.1 percent in the previous quarter year.

The hotel’s success validates the faith Brian Terry, General Manager, has in his staff. “From the day we opened, we said we would be number one,” he said.

The road to success was not an easy one. The Courtyard experienced the difficulties that all Ithaca hotels encounter.

“The hotel business is particularly challenging in Ithaca because it’s so seasonal. Hotels are busy for graduation, but then at other times, you just sit around looking at the wallpaper,” said Prof. Jennie Tiffany Farley, ILR Extension, who teaches human resources classes at Cornell.

Courtyard Ithaca also navigated difficulties that are particular to new hotels. “New hotels usually score well structurally, but they don’t fare well in service. There’s usually bugs to work out,” Terry said.

Terry added that he was especially proud of the Courtyard’s success because the hotel first opened its doors last December. The hotel staff have had less than five months to work their bugs out.

Rachel Reed, Sales Coordinator, attributes the Courtyard’s success to the quality of the relationship established between hotel staff and guests.

“We try to get to know our guests by their names and preferences. If a guest prefers chocolate chip to oatmeal cookies, that’s what we’ll have waiting in his room,” she said.

According to Terry, the design of Courtyard is another element of the hotel’s success. Unlike other area hotels, the Courtyard was built specifically for business travelers. The Courtyard concept was created 12 years ago in consultation with real business travelers. Unused features such as concierge and dinner service were eliminated while rooms were made more functional. Dual-level desks, ergonomic chairs, and additional phone lines with conference functions were added for the convenience of business travelers.

Referring to next term, Terry surmises, “We’re probably going to be number one again.” He said he is optimistic about the hotel’s future.

Courtyard Ithaca has a current rating of 97.9 percent, which is two points higher than the score that first won them recognition for customer service. “The staff is responsible for the hotel’s success. It certainly is not me,” Terry emphasized.

Archived article by Dae Son