Four Columbus area individuals received 2012 Hoosier Hospitality awards on May 9. The awards were given by Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman to those who go above and beyond within the field of tourism.
Alan Patterson, Clarion Hotel on Jonathan Moore Pike
Clarion Hotel front desk worker Alan Patterson has so many souvenirs from all over the world that he is running out of places to put them.
There’s one from the Taj Mahal, a cigarette lighter from Russia and a ceramic display dog from a dog show, as well as duffel bags and flashlights from other far-flung locales.
Patterson himself isn’t a world traveler, but some of the guests he greets at the hotel are, and the souvenirs are given to him by guests who have come to know Patterson by name.
“Anymore, they come in and want to know where Alan is,” father Carl Patterson said.
Patterson’s philosophy each day at work is pretty simple:
“Just be friendly,” he said.
Everyday Patterson goes to work at 8 a.m. Some days, he’ll do a bit of work before he actually punches the time clock, but he always brings to work with him a rolling suitcase filled with brochures, just in case a guest asks for information about a tourist attraction for which the hotel doesn’t have information on hand.
For large groups, like traveling sports teams that visit in the summer, he makes packets of brochures and other information that might be of interest to guests. Recently, he assembled packets for the overflow of guests that stayed at Clarion Hotel for Indiana University’s graduation containing a map of Bloomington and booklets from the Bloomington Visitors Center.
In his 34 years at the hotel, Patterson has won the Hoosier Hospitality Award twice.
“I didn’t expect it the second time because I figured once I got it, that would be it,” Patterson said. “But it makes me feel like people do appreciate what I do, and I like doing it.”
Alice Stines, Hilton Garden Inn in Edinburgh
People call Alice Stines “the hostess with the most,” and she has three Hoosier Hospitality awards to prove it.
As a hostess at Hilton Garden Inn and Suites, Stines does a number of things: seat guests, fetch them a cup of coffee and ensure their food is delicious.
But Stines said the best part of the job is “the people that you meet.”
“You find out where they’re from and where they’re going,” she said, adding she has met people from coast to coast, Canada and overseas during her nearly 15 years at the hotel.
She has conversed with a couple who was in town for a three-week woodcutting class and has seen many Cummins workers come and go.
“I enjoy people,” she said. “The guests come first — whatever they want. We have a lot of guests that come back and remember me because I’m always here.”
Janice Curry, La Quinta Inn and Suites on Carrie Lane
Janice Curry knows not everyone is a morning person.
As the breakfast bar hostess at La Quinta Inn and Suites, she gets to work by 5:30 a.m. every day and takes the time to make guests’ mornings a little better.
“I try not to miss a person that comes in this room, and I try to say, ‘Good morning’ and ‘How are you?’” she said. “A lot of the guests know me by name, so I try to act like I’m their daughter or sister or, you know, a friend, and that’s what guests want.”
Curry said she feels like an “ambassador of Columbus” when she gets the opportunity to recommend that guests eat at Amazing Joe’s, take an architecture tour and enjoy ice cream at Zaharakos Ice Cream Parlor.
This year is the first year Curry has received the Hoosier Hospitality Award and said she owes it to her general manager, Rhonda Thompson.
“(Rhonda) always comes and gets me and says, ‘Janice!’ and I’m like, ‘Oh no, what have I done?’” Curry said. “And she’ll say, ‘Look at these comments on the internet.’”
Guests have said that Curry is the “friendliest person they’ve ever come across.”
After Curry’s shift is over, she heads to class at Harrison College until 9:30 p.m. She will graduate with a degree in medical billing and coding in March 2013.
It makes for a long day, Curry said, but it helps that she loves what she does.
“For me, it’s fun,” she said. “It’s not a job.”
Amanda Holt, Hampton Inn in Edinburgh
Front desk worker Amanda Holt has greeted guests for the past 7 1/2 years and sets her goals high.
“My goal is to make sure they’re 100 percent happy during their stay,” she said. “We go above and beyond just to make sure that they’re happy.”
Holt said the award was an “incredible experience” and was something she wasn’t at all expecting.
“I love my job and my co-workers,” she said. “I look forward to working here.”