The Fort Dodge AmericInn Lodge & Suites, 100 W. Kenyon Road near the intersection of U.S. Highway 169 and Business U.S. Highway 20, is one of the area's newest hotels. It opened Jan. 29, 2007.
Determined to keep it a cutting-edge property fully in sync with the latest industry standards and trends, its owners have launched a massive overhaul that will be completed in phases over the next eight weeks.
"We are pleased to announce the beginning of a ... renovation that will create an exciting, contemporary atmosphere for our guests," said General Manager Charlotte Phillips. "The extensive ... project will include replacement of all guest room beds and bedding, a new paint scheme for guest rooms, furniture, draperies, artwork and lighting."
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Charlotte Phillips, general manager of the AmericInn in Fort Dodge, checks to see how one of the new lamps works in a room being renovated on the hotel’s third floor. The entire facility is being renovated.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Fort Dodge AmericInn manager Charlotte Phillips, left, and regional manager Paul McHenry, look over some of the many cartons of lighting fixtures and other room essentials stacked up ready for installation in rooms being renovated at the hotel.
Phillips said AmericInns are franchise properties. The entity that owns the AmericInn locally is Fort Dodge Lodge & Suites LLC. It is made up a group of Fort Dodge investors who have partnered with a group in the Twin Cities. The owners have hired Three Rivers Hospitality to manage the hotel.
"We are very fortunate to have an ownership group that is committed to remaining ahead of the curve in providing our guests with added comfort and fresh new looks," Phillips said.
The hotel already features an array of amenities including a spacious lobby, swimming pool, exercise facility, free high-speed wireless Internet, a business center and a beer and wine pizza pub. The three-story complex has 57 guest rooms that offer a variety of options. There are seven suites. A limited number of fireplaces and Jacuzzis are in the mix. All rooms have either a king-size bed or two queen-size beds. Phillips said just over half of the rooms are already outfitted with microwave ovens and refrigerators. Once the renovation is completed, all rooms will have them. All guest rooms have been designated nonsmoking.
Phillips is enthusiastic about the new look and other enhancements that will be in place throughout the property by Christmas.
"I am excited that our already quieter, spacious guest rooms will soon feature up-to-date design and offer additional amenities that will augment the overall guest experience," she said.
The public areas are undergoing a transformation that includes new carpeting and furniture and a decor makeover. Phillips said the beer, wine and pizza pub will get a face-lift, but will retain its current 1970s theme.
"In addition, we will be adding what we call a connectivity table in the lobby, which will allow our guests an additional area to plug-in and connect outside of our guest rooms," Phillips said. "We feel this will enhance the already existing business corner."
The many changes being implemented at the Fort Dodge AmericInn are intended to strengthen its appeal to existing and potential customers. Phillips said, however, certain fundamentals are the building blocks of success for any hotel.
"I emphasize guest service and clean rooms," she said.
According to information provided by the company, the first AmericInn opened in the early 1980s and the franchising system - AmericInn International LLC - began to evolve in 1984. Headquartered in Chanhassen, Minn., the AmericInn network has more than 240 hotels in operation or under development in two dozen states. Collectively, they market approximately 12,500 guest rooms.
Phillips, who has been in the hospitality industry for two decades, took the helm at the Fort Dodge AmericInn in January. She said the company's business philosophy is quite straightforward.
"We want to treat people the same way we would like to be treated if we were guests," she said. "I'm a people person. I want to make people's stay just a little bit better. ... Our goal always is to exceed our guest's expectations. That's always a personal goal for me."
To assess how well the AmericInn team is doing, guests are surveyed about their experience.
"The scores here have been good," Phillips said. "I want them better."