published Saturday, September 28th, 2013

Rhea County's George Thacker received top Howard Johnson honors

SPRING CITY, Tenn. — Rhea County Executive and multibusiness owner George Thacker has been honored for operating one of the top Howard Johnson hotels in the country.

Thacker's Howard Johnson's hotel in Spring City, which he built in 2007, recently was recognized as Property of the Year and Guest Satisfaction Leader in the U.S. by the Howard Johnson hotel brand. The 42-room hotel was recognized as the best in customer satisfaction among the chain's 450 hotels worldwide.

"The Howard Johnson Spring City represents every aspect of what a Howard Johnson hotel should be," said John Valletta, Howard Johnson brand president, in a newss release.

The hotel's performance in quality evaluations, guest satisfaction, revenue and Wyndham Rewards member enrollments attributed to its eligibility for the top honor.

Thacker said the award was an honor, but he attributed the staff's dedicated efforts for much of the hotel's success. "[We've received] housekeeping awards for years," and that consistency is key, he said.

"We welcome people as our family" and make them a priority, said Eva Dunigan, head housekeeper.

Spring City native Hugh Monday said he and his wife have stayed at the hotel at least four times a year while visiting family in the area. "They [the staff] always treat us real good, and the price is fair," Monday said.

Thacker said his staff consisted of 10 Rhea County residents, and that he'd received permission to offer local business LA-Z-Boy recliners and sofas throughout the hotel.

Thacker attributed his staff's addressing concerns immediately as a priority too. "When we see a problem, we fix it," he said.

"He [George Thacker] raised the bar on the Howard Johnson," said Kevin Sannes, sales manager.

Thacker's hotel has received housekeeping team and sales leader awards since 2009. The hotel features single, double and suite accommodations, along with a fitness center and movie theater.

Rhea County Commissioner Jim Reed said, "It's a great honor for Spring City" to have the national recognition.

Kimberly McMillian is based in Rhea County. Contact her at kdj424@bellsouth.net.

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