Argent Motor Lodge in Hamilton are still celebrating after winning the prestigious AA Traveller Supreme Host Of The Year award in Taupo last week.
"To be recognised by leading organisations within our industry such as AA, Qualmark, MANZ (Motel Association of New Zealand) and Inside Tourism is overwhelming," says Clare Gallagher, co-owner of Argent Motor Lodge in partnership with her husband, Richard.
Arriving back at Argent Motor Lodge the day after the awards ceremony and being able to share the news of the Award with our team and in-house guests was just so exciting. "Our feet have not touched the ground yet," she said.
"We know how we like to be treated when we travel, and so we made the conscious decision to treat our guests in the same manner. Arrive as strangers, leave as friends - that is what we strive for every day.
"It's bigger than just us though. We would not be as successful if we did not have such a wonderful team. We are so lucky to have staff subscribe 100 per cent to our values and whom take such pride in their work.
"We are just as equally proud of them for this achievement. To our landlords, Bill and Anne Luther, who took a punt on a couple with a young family, we are truly grateful. And of course, to our guests - past, present and future. Without them, we have nothing. So thank you to all who have stayed with us," she said.
"And of course, to our children, family and friends - thank you all for sharing in the journey," Clare said.
AA Traveller General Manager Moira Penman says the Gallaghers highlight how powerful customer service can be for any business - new or old.
"The sign on the wall that greets guests when they check in to the Argent Motor Lodge saying 'arrive as strangers leave as friends' reflects Richard and Clare's values which their guests obviously appreciate.
"Being in close proximity to Waikato Hospital guests can include those with relatives in hospitals, business stays and travellers so having the ability to provide the right level of customer service and empathy.
"I congratulate Richard and Clare on their award," says Ms Penman.
The judging panel was made up of representatives from the AA and AA Traveller, Qualmark, MANZ (Motel Association of New Zealand) and Inside Tourism.
AA Traveller supports domestic tourism in New Zealand by publishing and distributing more than three million maps and accommodation guides every year to assist motorists and visitors as they explore the country.