Holiday Inn’s Kumar honored at travel conference
Published 12:00 am Monday, May 5, 2003
The owner/general manager of the Holiday Inn Suffolk was one of 10 tourism and hospitality industry representatives honored during the recent Virginia Governor’s Conference on Travel and Tourism.
The Southeast Tourism Society, an Atlanta-based organization that promotes tourism in 13 southeastern states, named Peter Kumar as the state’s lodging management employee of the year. He was selected from among dozens of other nominees across the state.
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&uot;Virginia has a longstanding tradition of hospitality, and these award-winners represent the best of the Virginia travel industry,&uot; said Alisa Bailey, president of the Virginia Tourism Corporation, during the awards luncheon late last week. &uot;They excel at customer service and bring creativity to marketing programs to keep Virginia’s tourism industry moving forward.&uot;
Kumar, who has operated the 100-room hotel for the past six years, said the recognition is a &uot;truly significant honor.&uot;
&uot;There are 21,000 employees in the state’s tourism and hospitality industry,&uot; he said. &uot;I am proud to be one of a handful of people picked (for this honor) from among such a large group.&uot;
Before receiving his congratulatory letter from Gov. Mark Warner, Kumar wasn’t aware he had even been nominated for the award.
William C. Giermak, president of Obici Health Systems and president of the Suffolk division of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, nominated Kumar because of improvements he’s noticed at the hotel since Kumar assumed management.
Both the chamber and the hospital regularly use the hotel to hold events, cater meetings and provide lodging for guests, Giermak said.
&uot;I’ve always found the level of service at the Holiday Inn to be excellent,&uot; Giermak said. &uot;It has improved since he took over a couple of years ago.
&uot;…Since he is the leader, he should get recognized. I’m happy that he won the award.&uot;
Kumar said his staff is dedicated to providing consistent quality customer service.
&uot;We want to ensure that our guests feel welcome and stay with us again and again,&uot; Kumar said. &uot;To that end, our hotel must meet high standards of quality and guest satisfaction.
&uot;Our mission is to surpass guest expectations and let guests taste Southern hospitality while they are in our great Commonwealth.&uot;
Kumar, who moved to Hampton Roads after nearly two decades working in New York City, initially found Suffolk to be a &uot;huge culture shock.&uot;
But that impression was fleeting, quickly giving way to an appreciation for the Suffolk and its residents.
&uot;I am very appreciative for what this community does for me and what this community has allowed me to do,&uot; Kumar said. &uot;I am so grateful to Suffolk and thankful to God that he chose to send me to this city.
&uot;I could never go back (to NYC),&uot; he said. &uot;The true love and respect you see from people here is priceless.&uot;