KAMLOOPS, B.C. — South Thompson Inn & Conference Centre, a family-owned and operated hotel in Kamloops, B.C., in late June was named TripAdvisor’s 2015 Hall of Fame winner, recognizing the property for earning the Certificate of Excellence — consistently outstanding traveler reviews — for five consecutive years.
For those five years, TripAdvisor’s Certificates of Excellence have recognized the property as the best hotel (out of 54) in Kamloops. The hotel features 57 guestrooms and lies on 55 acres overlooking the South Thompson River, on the outskirts of Kamloops.
David Patriquin, who has owned the property since it launched in 1994, attributes the hotel’s success to a relentless dedication to customer service.
“We never say ‘no’ to a guest, unless it’s ‘no problem,’” Patriquin told CLN. “We don’t necessarily hire on experience — good attitude is important.” Unusual for a hotel, the South Thompson doesn’t have a general manager, instead employing, for the past six years, a management team to oversee operations. “It just makes sense to me,” said Patriquin, adding that “we’re more of a democracy. Everyone on the team cares about the business, because they all know they have an equal voice and that their opinions matter.”
The team oversees all aspects of operations, including staffing, maintenance, housekeeping and setting room rates, and weekly, meets with Patriquin to discuss hot topics. Total staff at the hotel, including management, numbers about 50 people, said Patriquin, who characterizes his ownership style at South Thompson Inn as “hands-on” and also owns the Keg restaurant and Brandy’s sports bar, both in Whistler, B.C.
At South Thompson Inn, the focus on service takes many forms. “We believe that guest service starts at physical plant,” with the property manager paying “keen attention” to maintaining that aspect of the hotel, said Patriquin.
More than eight years ago, South Thompson Inn introduced free Wi-Fi, the first hotel in the area to do so, said Patriquin. Rather than source product from hotel suppliers, the hotel buys all its furniture from “quality suppliers” such as Hudson’s Bay. Little details, such as the hardness of water in guestroom bathrooms, are carefully monitored and adjusted as needed. Additionally, the South Thompson Inn features rooms that are dog-friendly; allergen free; and wheelchair accessible.
As an independent, South Thompson Inn “is not a chain flag. We are a guest-service flag. TripAdvisor is our flag,” said Patriquin.