Name: Victor Popp
Job: General manager
Business: La Quinta Inn & Suites, Paso Robles
What they said then: In July 2011, The Tribune announced La Quinta Inn in Paso Robles had plans to expand.
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Developers Arciero & Sons, the franchise owners, were granted approval to add 37 rooms to the 100-room hotel at Buena Vista Drive and Highway 46 East.
“It’s definitely needed,” said Ray Peloso, chief financial officer. “We’re trying to evaluate the situation and decide on the proper time.”
The project, valued at $3 million, was designed by Pults & Associates architects. Rooms will be executive suites with cooking facilities.
Opened in late 2006, the La Quinta completed a 30-room expansion in 2009.
What he says now: La Quinta still awaits its next expansion but is in negotiations with a Santa Monica company to run its on-site restaurant.
In late February, the Paso Robles property received La Quinta’s Franchise of the Year award at the chain’s national convention in New Orleans. It competed against about 440 other properties.
“We were the No. 8 top-rated hotel in the whole brand for customer service,” said Victor Popp, general manager. La Quinta’s brand includes more than 800 corporate-owned and franchise hotels. “We were fortunate to be able to stick out.”
To celebrate, the hotel will hold wine receptions every evening for the month of June, offering giveaways such as bottles of wine and hotel stays.
The Paso Robles hotel will also release its own wine that month — a field blend of petite sirah and primitivo being crafted with the help of Sculpterra Winery. About 30 hotel employees helped pick a ton of grapes and process them to the point of fermentation.
“The winemaker kind of took over from there,” Popp said. “We’ll have about 30 cases of it that we’ll sell for $28 to $30.”
La Quinta wasn’t the first hotel in the city to hold wine receptions. But Popp believes this amenity — along with the lobby wine shop — were key factors in winning the brand’s award.
Others included financial performance, cleanliness and customer service scores, Popp said. He declined specifics about the franchise’s financials or occupancy rates.
Popp’s wine receptions typically run 5:30 to 7p.m. Monday through Thursday, when up to 80 percent of guests are business travelers. He pours eight to 12 bottles a night.
Cheese pairings are selected with Zina Miakinkova, the marketing manager at Le Vigne. She also oversees local sales for the winery’s sister company, Southern California-based Peacock Cheese.
La Quinta’s receptions encourage working guests to think about extending their stay or returning on vacation. Some work in the wine industry, but others are visiting Chevron’s oil fields in San Ardo or other companies.
“There are two military bases in this area,” Popp said. “We get a lot of government and state employees.”
On weekends, up to 90 percent of guests are tourists, he added.
“Paso is a very event-driven city, where almost every weekend there’s a major event.”
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