Since the first AmericInn opened in the early 1980s, the chain has grown steadily, with more than 220 properties now open or under development-including the local AmericInn in Peoria.
General Manager Jan Quinton said the AmericInn of Peoria opened in May 2000 as the first property in the lodging system to expand into Illinois. Currently, three other AmericInn properties are open or under development in Illinois: Bolingbrook, Kewanee, and Oswego. "The AmericInn Lodging System continues to grow at a rapid pace, with expectations to develop in every state in small to medium-sized communities, along highways and interstates, in resort destinations, and large cities," she said.
The property owner, Wayne Riser, saw great potential and need in north Peoria for a lodging facility, according to Quinton. "The unique opportunity to bring the Peoria community and guests an AmericInn lodging property was a natural fit. The AmericInn of Peoria has now offered more than three years of quality service and lodging hospitality and continues to grow at a steady pace. Considering the increase in new business and residential growth, the development of the Peoria AmericInn was, and still is, a solid investment decision."
Quinton said the Peoria property offers 62 guestrooms and specialty suites. "This includes 10 different room types-from standard double queen rooms to extended stay rooms and whirlpool suites. We offer an enhanced continental breakfast, large recreational area with indoor pool and whirlpool, and complimentary airport shuttle service. Our spacious and tastefully decorated rooms are equipped with all the amenities any traveler would need, including coffee makers, hairdryers, refrigerators, and two phones equipped with data ports. Additionally, we have meeting rooms that can accommodate groups from two to 45 people."
She said the variety of hotels travelers can choose from in the area is a good thing for AmericInn. "The competition in Peoria is so great that we feel we must keep our standards in cleanliness and guest satisfaction high to maintain our customer base. Having so much competition is beneficial; it keeps us on our toes and simply reminds the AmericInn staff of the quality of service our guests deserve."
The AmericInn Lodging System continues to expand at a rapid pace due to consistent repeat customers and unique market opportunities, Quinton said. "AmericInn guests can expect consistency in our products and services when staying at our AmericInn location. It seems word of mouth has been our greatest asset. Ninety-nine percent of our guests are pleasantly surprised at the service we offer and become a member of our AmericInn ’family’ as repeat guests."
Marketing to those potential family members mostly takes the form of print advertising, networking, and sales calls, Quinton said. "AmericInn.com is a national Web site that’s linked to each property. We also have a central reservation system allowing our guests to make reservations from anywhere in the country."
She said with company success comes better-quality applicants seeking employment. "I’ve had to run employment ads twice in three years-the first was before opening. Since then, applicants have come to us. We have a great work atmosphere; I’m pretty flexible, and our employees really appreciate that. Besides, the employees are really proud to be part of such a great property."
The flush of lodging options in central Illinois means AmericInn needs to differentiate itself from the competition. "Founded on the integrity of consistent, quiet, and solid masonry construction, AmericInn properties are popular with business and leisure travelers because of the spacious, well-appointed public areas and guest rooms that, most importantly, allow for a quiet night. We at the AmericInn in Peoria feel a clean, quiet, and friendly lodging facility is what guests most appreciate," Quinton said.
She said the AmericInn of Peoria is actually defined as a limited service lodging property, which sometimes leads to misperceptions about services the facility offers. "Some feel there are too many properties with limited service in Peoria. Because AmericInn offers a quality product, via additional services and upscale amenities for a reasonable price, our guests prefer our facility to some full service properties."
Quinton said earning its reputation for quality and consistency was easy for AmericInn; however, getting the word out to the community has been a bit more challenging. "But seeing so many repeat customers and hearing them sing our praises has been very rewarding."
The community is becoming more aware of what AmericInn provides, which Quinton said is the bottom line. "As winners of the ’Newcomer of the Year’ award in 2001 and the ’Best in the Midwest’ in the lodging category in 2003, as well as the ’Marketing Success’ award at the AmericInn national convention, we want the community to know the AmericInn of Peoria provides ’Quiet Nights, Rest Assured.’ We offer the most comfortable accommodations and the friendliest service in the city."
Currently, AmericInn is in the process of changing its signage to the new AmericInn logo. "The new logo gives AmericInn a new, clean look. The AmericInn of Peoria will continue to offer the best lodging possible, and upgrade amenities and services to give our guests what they deserve," Quinton said. IBI