Good things only get better with age.
Kevin Buchanan can attest to that. The Hilton Garden Inn on Jefferson Boulevard, which he has managed since it opened in 2005, has won half of this year’s 10 Hilton Garden Inn hotel awards made worldwide. The Warwick hotel competed with 560 other hotels, many of them much newer than the one here.
While hotels built in the last couple of years often receive high points from customers because they are new, Buchanan says he’s got the advantage of a seasoned staff.
“We couldn’t have done it without the team,” Buchanan said Friday.
He said 90 percent of the people that started with him eight years ago are still at the Hilton Garden Inn. He said the customers are also loyal. There is a high level of repeat customers, not only from people coming into the state but also those with family in the area, on vacation or in one way or another linked to sports.
He identified sports, whether it is the Patriots or regional league tournaments and championships, as a major driver of hotel occupancy. Buchanan credits the Providence Warwick Convention Visitors Bureau with doing a great job in bringing sports into the state and helping Buchanan keep the hotel’s occupancy rate at more than 70 percent.
On March 27, Mayor Scott Avedisian and John “JR” Pagliarini, chief of staff of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, visited the hotel to congratulate Buchanan and his staff.
Buchanan earned the brand’s highest honor – the Barbara Bejan General Manager of the Year Award for 2012. He also was named Regional General Manager of the Year for the North Atlantic.
Newport Hospitality Group, of which Joseph Piscopio is a partner, boasts that the inn also earned a Pride Merit Award for being one of the top three hotels in the system worldwide. The award is based on quality assurance audits that measure condition and brand standards, customer scores for staff service and customer scores for accommodations. It has the Problem Avoidance Award for hotels with the lowest percentage of problems reported, and the HHonors Loyalty Award for the highest Hilton HHonors guest loyalty.
Piscopio saw the potential of the former Malleable Iron Works on Jefferson Boulevard and went ahead with the 160-room hotel at a time when plans for the Warwick Station Redevelopment District were fresh off the drawing boards but going no place. Since then, the Interlink was been built and Piscopio went ahead with the renovation of the ironworks office and opened the Iron Works Tavern attached to the hotel.
Buchanan said it is difficult to measure the impact the rail station has had on the hotel; the rental car offices of the Interlink has generated regulars business.
Buchanan said part of his award was he and his wife spending a week in San Diego. On May 1, he and his associate manager Ross LaChance will be flying to Orlando to attend a hotel event.