The newest addition to Thompson's business community, Best Western Hotel opened for business on April 25.
In the past eight months, Thompson has seen the departure of retails stores belonging to such corporations as Blockbuster Video, Rogers Plus, Staples, and soon to be closing Extra Foods.
The arrival of Best Western is a light at the end of a tunnel, that there is still a place for multi-nationals in Thompson.
Yellowknife-based property manager Tony Chang's company TC Group, will be managing the hotel, with Chang as president and Elaine Grundy as vice-president.
Chang manages other properties in Thompson, including the Grey Wolf Bay townhouses and the Nickel Road apartments.
The Best Western features 80 rooms with seven different layouts. Rooms range from the standard queen/king room, all the way up to a one-bedroom suite with a balcony and living room area.
The hotel also features extended stay suites for those travellers visiting town for longer than a night or two.
Terry Chang, Tony's wife, is the human resources manager at the hotel and says that the timing for Best Western's arrival couldn't be better as rooms are in high demand.
"There hasn't been enough availability to meet the demand," said Chang, "when Tony first started coming out here you would have to be booking rooms two and three months in advance, so there was definitely a demand in the marketplace for more commerce rooms."
When the hotel is fully staffed, they will be providing 25 jobs for the community. The hiring process at Best Western was rigorous, to ensure they had the best staff possible.
"We have a great core here, and our hiring process started back on March 5 with a job fair," said Chang, "we challenge ourselves to find great employees who care about the job."
The hotel is located at 205 Mystery Lake Rd. and is one of the first buildings visitors coming in from the airport will see; a location that Chang says couldn't be any better.
"This property was part of the whole purchase, and how ideal can it be that when you're coming in from the airport the first thing you see is the Best Western sign," said Chang.
Bookings are already trickling in for into July and August, but Chang says that if there are available rooms, they will accommodate anyone coming in to town.
"People want the comfort of knowing they have a place to sleep at night, so we want to be there for that," said Chang, "since we've opened actually, we've already had people wandering over from other extended stay facilities and transferring in to one of our rooms."
A full complement of services and amenities are available at the Best Western, including a corporate meeting room, laundry service, a fitness room with sauna and a breakfast bar.
Room rates vary depending on what type of room is being occupied, as well as the status the occupant holds. Best Western offers reward and member programs, as well as corporate accounts for frequent visitors.
"We already have some companies, I can't name them, but some are already calling us to set up corporate accounts," said Chang.
Every Best Western is separately owned, and are able to set their own pricing structure based on their competition. The top competitors for Best Western in Thompson are the Suburban Hotel and the Lakeview Hotel.
"We set our prices based on what our competition offers," said Chang, "we are a little bit more expensive right now because we're a brand new facility, but that's to be expected."
Chang and the team at Best Western have been very proactive in promoting the hotel and attracting customers, and have been able to attract a good number of walk up bookings even in their first weeks.
"Occupancy takes a while to grow," said Chang, "people might not know we're even open yet. I went out there the other day though and just put up some balloons and you know what, people started to notice and are starting to come in and check us out."