By Dennis Seid
TUPELO – It might be the cookies. Or the homemade soup.
Whatever it is, Quality Inn in Tupelo has won a Gold Hospitality Award from Choice Hotels International, its parent company that owns more than 6,300 hotels across the world.
“This award means a lot, especially since we’ve been around for more than 25 years,” said general manager Caroline Moss. “It says a lot about the people who work here, and the people who stay here, who are really loyal to us.”
Choice Hotel’s brands include Ascend, Cambria Suites, Clarion, Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Econolodge, Mainstay Suites, Quality Inn, Rodeway Inn, Sleep Inn and Suburban.
In Mississippi, only five Choice hotels won the Gold Hospitality Award, which is earned by the top 10 percent of hotels within each Choice brand.
The Tupelo hotel’s sister property, the Quality Inn in Columbus, also won a Gold Hospitality Award.
Fewer than 70 Quality Inns or Quality Inn and Suites nationwide won the Gold Award for 2013.
According to Choice, the winner “achieves high marks for providing exceptional guest services and facilities,” based on a ranking system measuring guest satisfaction, product quality, room condition, room cleanliness and staff service.
And Steve Pitre can wax enthusiastic about the Quality Inn in Tupelo.
He’s a frequent visitor, staying regularly when his company comes to do service calls in the area.
“It’s good service here, we get good food and they’re friendly people.” he said.
Homemade soup is served on Tuesdays during the manager’s reception, which is held every weeknight. Sometimes the menu might be hamburgers, hot dogs, sandwiches or chicken tenders. And Moss has been known to bring her famous banana pudding.
The typical continental breakfast is served, but guests can also get eggs, bacon, sausage, biscuits and waffles.
The 83-room hotel stands out because its 17 employees make sure each guest is taken care of like family, Moss said.
“There’s a lot of competition, a lot of new hotels, so you have to do whatever it takes to get those guests coming and then get them back,” she said.