Racking up numerous awards year after year sounds like an extraordinary accomplishment that should have Jeff Malbon, general manager, and Tim Malbon, managing general partner, of the Best Western Plus Beach Resort Hotel on Fort Myers Beach toasting themselves with pride. But the pair of cousins, who run the hotel along with several other family members, see the acclaim merely as recognition of providing what they believe should be the normal standard of service provided by all hotels.
Tim Malbon said, “Well, you know, it’s a …”
“… work in progress,” Jeff Malbon said, finishing the thought, with the pair seeming more like brothers than first cousins.
Tim continued, “It’s family owned – being pretty much family owned and operated – one of us is here pretty much every day overseeing the staff. Just being here on property has a lot to do with it.”
“Hands on,” Jeff added.
“Yeah, very hands on and in tune to the guests’ needs, looking for the guests to have the best experience they can,” Tim continued. “It’s pretty much treating the guests and our staff like family.”
This year, the hotel is the only Best Western in Florida to win the chain’s M.K. Guertin Award, given to recognize hotels that best exemplify the service, quality and value the chain’s founder envisioned for the brand. This is the fourth consecutive year that the Malbon family has brought home Best Western’s highest honor.
“The M.K. Guertin award, there’s a lot of criteria that goes into that,” Tim said. “The majority of it is guest satisfaction.”
Also demonstrating the Malbon family’s dedication to guest satisfaction, the hotel is a six-year winner of Best Western’s Champion Customer Care Award and a 2015 winner of the chain’s Green Award, recognizing commitment to conserving resources and reducing carbon footprint.
Tim Malbon also serves on the 300-member Best Western board of governors. The 4,100-plus properties in the chain are independently owned, so owner-representatives come together to deliberate and vote upon initiatives and policies for the chain as a whole. He has come a long way from when he and his cousin first moved down from Virginia Beach in the early ’90s to help their two fathers with running the hotel. On his first day of work, the elder Malbons tasked Tim with picking up litter from the beach.
“We pretty much started from the bottom up,” Tim said.
“We’ve done it all,” Jeff said.
Recognition of the Best Western Plus Beach Resort Hotel’s excellence extends beyond its chain. Upon winning the Certificate of Excellence for five consecutive years, Tripadvisor has inducted the hotel into its Hall of Fame. Smith Travel Research recognized the hotel as its Best Performing Upper Midscale Hotel for 2012, and the readers of the “Fort Myers Beach Observer” voted it their favorite motel in the 2011 Best of the Beach awards. And true to their philosophy of treating staff like family, the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau named Jeff and Tim Malbon winners of its Best Tourism Boss award for 2016.
All the acclaim comes as Best Western rolls out a rebranding campaign featuring a half dozen distinctive brands to help travelers discern, by logo, the different amenities available at the various types of Best Westerns. The plus-branding of the Best Western Plus Beach Resort Hotel indicates that the property offers additional amenities both onsite and in the rooms that distinguish the destination resort from roadside Best Westerns.
“It’s a logo refresh to bring the brand image up,” Tim said. “We just finished a multiyear design excellence review at all properties, and this will explain how each property is unique and a little different from the others. All Best Westerns are separately owned and operated, so there’s really not a cookie-cutter property out there. With the brand refresh, they’ll be putting that out to the public.”