Managers from 12 of the 13 Boulders Inn & Suites locations recently gathered to share notes and discuss new strategies as the company heads toward the beginning of its second decade next year. The first 32-room Boulders Inn & Suites opened in Denison, Iowa, in 2008. Since then, the company has opened hotels in 10 other Iowa communities and one in Maryville, Missouri.
“We’ve averaged the addition of more than one new location per year for our first decade of operation,” said Boulders Inn & Suites Co-District Manager Julie Schroeder. “The managers meeting was a great opportunity for everyone to connect one on one and participate in conversations about where we are headed next.”
In addition to the managers, five members of the Boulders consulting staff attended the meeting. Representatives of accounting, training and development, project management and brand standards provided the managers with a variety of information from a corporate perspective.
“It’s been very useful to bring everyone together in the same place at the same time,” said Schroeder. “We all have the same concerns and we’re all working toward the same goal, but all our managers have had unique experiences, so it’s useful for everyone to compare notes and talk about how to best approach specific issues.”
One major topic of discussion addressed at the meeting was how to deal with reservations made through online travel agencies, such as Expedia or Booking.com. Schroeder said dealing with online travel agencies has been a headache for every Boulders Inn & Suites location, and for hotels in general, because of the difficulties hotel staff and customers have with changing and canceling reservations. The Boulders Inn & Suites managers were given standardized information about how to deal with online reservation changes. Managers were also provided information to give to customers to assist them in solving problems through the booking companies.
Other topics of discussion included human resource items, effective strategies for promoting the company through social media, and streamlining the organization of documents and forms used by all Boulders locations.
Schroeder said from the customer’s standpoint, one of the most interesting developments coming from the meeting is the addition of Keurig coffeemakers to all Boulders Inn & Suites rooms. “Adding Keurigs is something we’ve wanted to do for a while,” she said. “We’ve heard from our guests that this is something that would help them enjoy their mornings, so we made it happen.”
She noted that new locations are being added all the time. Boulders Inn & Suites Oelwein broke ground in early May and a new location for central Iowa will be announced soon. The Fort Madison Boulders Inn & Suites is also being expanded to 78 rooms and will be completed by the first week in July.
“Boulders isn’t slowing down at all,” Schroeder said. “We’re growing all the time and our managers are prepared to make sure we give every one of our guests the best experience possible.”