Alabama SureStay wins Tripadvisor award

TUSCALOOSA, AL—This town is known for the University of Alabama and its Crimson Tide football team. The squad has finished No. 1 in four of the last 10 years. But the Tide is not the only team that has ranked No. 1 in this city. Located about six miles from the campus, SureStay by Best Western Tuscaloosa recently earned the Traveler’s Choice 2020 award from Tripadvisor for holding the top ranking in the market.

DK Patel purchased the 58-room property, which was a Centerstone Inn & Suites, in 2017. He said he tried to convert to a SureStay, but was denied at the time since “there is a Best Western about three miles from us.”

Upon conversion, the hotel rocketed from No. 24 in Tuscaloosa to No. 1, thanks to its focus on providing top-notch customer service. “Everybody who walks through the door is greeted with a smile. We’ll lay out the red carpet for you as if we’re the Ritz-Carlton,” said General Manager Huey Harris. “People expect more now that we’re No. 1. That’s why we have brand-new furniture for all of the rooms. We switched more than 20 rooms to hardwood floors, and the others have carpet that’s only three years old. It’s all about satisfying the guest with some old-fashioned, genuine customer service.”

Harris noted that the property is following Best Western’s We Care Clean protocols established during the pandemic. “I personally went through that training, and it was awesome,” he said. “We have hand sanitizers at the front desk, and I inspect every room to make sure the housekeeping staff has properly cleaned the room. We are constantly wiping down everything, from door knobs and fitness equipment.”

Patel said he was attracted to the brand because “Best Western looks out for the owners. It’s a member organization. When they make any decision, they email the owner and make sure the owner likes it. If the owner does, then they move forward.”

—Adam Perkowsky