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Holiday Inn Express set to eclipse one-year anniversary

Monday will mark the one-year anniversary of the Holiday Inn Express located off Highway 160.

The build-up, filled with delays, was worth the wait according to General Manager Mandy Gendreau, as the initial year at the newest hotel in town has been a positive one.

“It’s been a great year,” Gendreau said. “I am very proud of the fact that our management team has been the same since we opened one year ago. All of us live here in our community.”

Gendreau said that everyone from the director of sales/assistant general manager, housekeeping manager, head maintenance engineer, herself and other staff, have been together since day one.

“Some our team members have been here since we were putting in furniture and had no carpet or water or electricity for that matter,” she said.

Not having water ahead of their opening is not the only time the Holiday Inn was without H2O in the last year.

“Our biggest challenge so far was when the water main to our building broke,” Gendreau said. “We are in the desert, and our hotel was booked with tourists and we had no water. Not only would I say this was our biggest challenge but it was also my proudest moment as general manager to see our entire team working together, and they did such an amazing job at taking care of our guests.

“We didn’t even have any complaints about the ‘no water.’ All we had were compliments on how well we were all dealing with the situation.

The staff has almost doubled since opening day, as 15 members were on staff the first day and now the employee count sits at 27 members, between the full-time and part-time employees.

Gendreau explained that for her, her biggest personal achievement in the first year was the ability to maintain her core staff.

“The biggest accomplishment for me was keeping together a great team that provides a hotel the guests’ love, while also striving to provide a fun, energetic work environment for our team,” she said.

Property-wise, Gendreau is proud of keeping the amount of patrons staying at the Holiday Inn consistent.

“I think it was a great accomplishment to open strong, (good occupancy and good ADR) and stay strong and continue to meet the goals we set for ourselves month over month,” she said.

Aside from the water main break, Gendreau’s biggest surprise is how many people area attractions draw to the valley.

“The amount of guests that came for the Balloon Fest was shocking,” she said. “Also, I am still amazed at all the tourists going to Death Valley. People from all over the world and they like to travel when it’s 130 degrees.

“The wildflowers brought in so many tourists it was unbelievable.”

When the nightly rates were first seen by residents and tourist alike, there were some grumbles that they were too high for the area. Gendreau explained that once those who questioned the price came and stayed at the property, they soon changed their minds.

“Our rates are competitive with other properties in the area based on our amenities, age, location and services,” she said. “We have found that guests that stay with us once, automatically call us the next time they will be in town because they had such a wonderful experience on their last visit.”

Although locals recommend their friends and family stay at the Holiday Inn when they visit, Gendreau said there hasn’t been as many Pahrump residents who’ve stayed at the property as they hoped.

“Not as many locals have stayed with us as we would like,” she said. “Especially considering we offer locals a discount, but we hope with time that will change. As they send their families to stay with us, we expect the locals will want to check it out for themselves.”

As they continue, Gendreau explained that they hope to continue their service level and leave a larger footprint in the town.

“Keep doing our best to provide a great hotel for folks to stay while traveling to Pahrump,” she said. “We also want to become as involved with this wonderful community as we can.”

Contact reporter Mick Akers at makers@pvtimes.com. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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