Returning home to transition the Harlan Holiday Inn Express to Choice Hotel, a brand of Comfort Suites, Alonzo “Lonnie” York Jr. said he is busy making all the planned changes inside and out.
“After 15 years with another hotel management company, I’ve just come on board with Hotel Manager Advisers, a management group out of Memphis, Tenn.,” said York. “I took this position specifically because it gave me a chance to return to Harlan.”
York said Holiday Inn Express has been purchased by a company called Super Tell Hospitality, a hotel group out of Nebraska, which owns several hotels across the United States. He said he is part of a hotel management group, managing for Super Tell Hospitality.
“Super Tell has put this project into our hands to renovate the hotel to a Choice Hotel, which is a Comfort Inn brand,” said York. “There are going to be big changes from top to bottom. It will have new rooms, a new breakfast area, a new exterior appearance — just a new product basically. The hotel will be taken out of the Holiday Inn franchise to the Choice Hotel franchise, but will be managed just a little bit differently. You’ll get the same product — all for the good.”
Originally hoping to have the project completed by the end of November, York said they are now looking at the first of the year.
“In the meantime, people can still come and rent a room, enjoy the facility as needed,” said York. “Of course we are down about half the rooms at any given time because of the renovations going on. We’re asking our customers to please be patient with us.”
York said the Choice Hotels franchise is all about “customer satisfaction.” He said without the guest, the hotel is not needed. Therefore, York said “whatever it takes to satisfy the customer this is what we do.”
Originally from Harlan County, York was born and raised in Catrons Creek at Mary Alice. He began his career in the hotel business when as a young man he worked for John Threadgill at Bays Motel. He worked two years for the Hyatt Regency in Lexington before attending Johnson Bible College, in Knoxville, Tenn. He said his minor was preaching, but his career is hotel management. He is a certified hotel administrator.
“I’m thrilled to be home and invite everyone to stop by the hotel and chat awhile,” said York. “I think when we’re finished everyone will be happy with the results. It’s going to be new from top to bottom.”
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