Holiday Inn Guin wins top award in country

Holiday Inn Guin received a Torchbearer Award, one of only four given in the Americas.

By P.J. Gossett
General manager

GUIN — Few hotels in the western world for last year can claim the prestigious Torchbearer performance award. In fact, only four of the awards were presented in the Americas (Canada, United States, Mexico, Latin America and South America). The only one in the United States was bestowed on the Holiday Inn in Guin.
InterContinental Hotels Group PLC, a hospitality group which includes over 6,300 locations across 19 brands, recognized the Guin location “for notable achievements among several key customer criteria, including guest service and satisfaction, cleanliness and adherence to clean energy metrics and other company standards.”
“Honestly, it’s such an honor to receive this award,” Jay Johnson, currently north regional manager for Certified Hospitality Management, stated. “I’m so thankful for my amazing staff for their daily hard work and dedication to make us an elite hotel. We set this goal at the beginning of 2023, and to see it actually happen is such an incredible feeling! Creating a culture that you can definitely see we have the team members who love what they do. We are hospitality!”
Johnson had been the manager of Holiday Inn Guin until April 2024, when he was hired into his current role.
Staff and officials met Monday, June 24, at the hotel to give recognition on receiving the award. Vice President of Certified Hospitality Management Scott Sledge and Chief Operating Officer Jim Sapp attended. CHM, located in Mississippi, operates and manages the Holiday Inn Guin, among other hotels.
IHG sets the standards, and the hotel met and exceeded the standards, Johnson said.
“We set the goal in 2023 to be a Torchbearer,” Johnson explained. “You have to meet all five metrics from (IHG’s) brand standards, which is almost impossible and very hard to do. So it’s a big award and a big deal to be the elite of the elite. Being elite is major. That means repeat customers...(IHG) saying, ‘Your hotel is clean, it was fresh, it was new feeling, your staff are amazing’ is such a reflection that we want here in Guin, Ala.”
The five metrics Johnson mentioned include aspects such as customer service and cleanliness.
“2023 was a year of exceptional growth and success across our region, and our IHG-branded hotels and leaders played a significant part in that by continually delivering our promise of ‘True Hospitality for Good’ to our guests and each other,” Jolyon Bulley, chief executive officer, Americas, IHG Hotels and Resorts, stated in a press release. “Holiday Inn Guin and its team continue to lead by example, and I’m honored to recognize their hard work and dedication with a 2023 performance award.”
“It comes down to one word: culture,” Sapp addressed  the attendees. “It’s truly caring about each other and not just one way or the other but always and having that family dynamic. This hotel does an amazing job with that.”
“I’m super proud of you for achieving that and certainly you guys are very deserving of that recognition, being able to achieve what only a handful have been able to do for 2023,” Sledge also stated.
“You get an opportunity every day to make a first impression on somebody,” Guin Mayor Phil Segraves said. “When you think about that, the travelers, a lot of them, have never been here. That’s your opportunity to make a difference. I applaud you…


See complete story in the Journal Record.
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