It’s been a busy year for Apollo Hospitality. The Ardmore-based company owns and operates five hotels in Oklahoma and Kansas, and they recently made several upgrades and improvements to their Ardmore property.
In addition to renovations, the two hotels also underwent a name change. The former La Quinta Inn and Suites has been renamed the Holiday Inn Express, and the former Candlewood Suites are now the first dual-brand Hawthorn Suites and La Quinta Inn and Suites in the country.
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Apollo Hospitality Vice President Pratima Patel said the idea for a dual-brand hotel came up during the renovation process. La Quinta and Hawthorn are brands within the Wyndham group of hotels, so combining them into one property is not as difficult as it may first seem. With Hawthorn focused on longer-staying guests and La Quinta focusing on more casual travelers, having two in one location allows for the best of both worlds.
“During the conversion phase, we went to the Wyndham brand and suggested the dual-brand property idea and explained the pros and cons of why it is so popular in the market,” Patel said. “They liked the idea because it allows us to cater to different types of clients.”
Patel said the 30 guest rooms made up of the hawthorn portion of the property all have kitchenettes, and the remaining 50 guest rooms are part of La Quinta. The entire property is pet friendly and 100% smoke free.
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The majority of renovations at both properties took place during a time when the coronavirus severely impacted the hospitality and travel sector. During the peak of the pandemic, Patel said, sales fell dramatically.
“The coronavirus has had a huge impact on the hospitality industry,” she said. “I would say sales are down about 70% due to the decline in corporate and leisure travel. Many properties are also starting to have staffing issues, so we had to get smart and change operations due to the lack of staff.”
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Patel said that all the different brands that make up the hotel industry have changed some of their day-to-day operations due to a decrease in the number of travelers and staff. For example, many hotels no longer offer daily room service to in-house guests. Instead they do it weekly. As with many other industries, it now takes longer to receive supplies from vendors.
But Patel sees all of these challenges as a way to improve things for the future.
“COVID has been very difficult for everyone — personally and at work,” Patel said. “It has definitely changed our industry, but in a positive way. We have gained a sense of appreciation for patience and have discovered that a little more can be done for our guests.”
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