Fulton hotel among top newcomers

Fulton Holiday Inn General Manager Misty West and her staff were recently honored by having their hotel named as the 2012 Newcomer of the Year by InterContinental Hotels Group. The award, which is primarily based on guest satisfaction ranking, is presented annually to a hotel within the IHG that opened its doors within the past two years. (Photo by Adam Armour)

The goal of any good hotel, said Fulton Holiday Inn General Manager Misty West, should be to make the place feel like a home.

During the past two years, she believes her hotel and staff have done just that.

“When our guests walk through the door, I want them to be greeted like old friends,” West said. “You have to go beyond what you have to do to be good at this job; you have to treat every guest like royalty.”

Apparently, the local hotel has done just that. The Fulton Holiday Inn Express and Suites was recently named as one of the InterContinental Hotel Group’s 2012 Newcomer Award recipients — an honor given to those new hotels within the group that have consistently earned top marks from guests over a two-year period.

The Fulton hotel was one of 26 hotels to receive the award, chosen from among hundreds of eligible hotels nationwide. Among those recipients, the local hotel was ranked first.

The 72-room Fulton Holiday Inn opened its doors in late 2010.  Since then, the hotel — owned by Fusion Hospitality, which owns hotels throughout Northeast Mississippi — has operated under a total of five general managers.

West, a Mantachie resident, has worked at the hotel since mid-2011 and has served as the hotel’s general manager since August of this year after moving up through the ranks.

The IHG is a global organization that franchises, leases, manages or owns more than 4,500 hotels from nine different brands in approximately 100 countries around the world.

Recipients of the award are selected based on OSAT, or “overall satisfaction” scores, garnered from surveys administered to guests who stay at a given hotel. These scores, which are percentage-based, are averaged together to form an overall score.

Fulton’s hotel currently has an OSAT score of 95-percent. The hotel, according to West, is ranked sixth among IHG hotels overall.

West admitted to being both wonderstruck and yet completely unsurprised by the hotel’s success. People seem to like them she said. For that, she thanks her staff.

“We have an amazing staff here,” West said. “They’re proud of this hotel. This place represents more than just a paycheck to our employees.”

Like most hotels, the occupancy at the local Holiday Inn varies wildly, but West said they average out to around a 60-70 percent occupancy. From that, the hotel garners a lot of guest feedback, most of it positive.

For West, that perception is important. When she started working at the hotel, it was cleaning rooms as a housekeeper. Now, she oversees operations, but maintains that room-by-room pride she had when she first started the job.

“I know what it’s like to go upstairs and clean a room,” she said. “I’ve been there and I’m still willing to do whatever I have to do to make this hotel better.”

Because like any good host, West prides herself on what people think of her accomodations.

“This is my home,” she said.

adam.armour@journalinc.com

About Adam Armour

Adam Armour has been writing and taking photographs for "The Itawamba County Times" since 2005. His words and pictures have earned 11 Mississippi Press Association Awards, including several "Best of" category recognitions. Sometimes, when the mood strikes, he even writes fiction or poetry for fun. The mood rarely strikes.