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GATLINBURG, TENNESSEE, January 12, 2015 – Hospitality Solutions, Inc., a Gatlinburg based hotel management company, and the Hilton Garden Inn Gatlinburg are proud to announce that Cornelia Dobbins, the hotel’s General Manager, was selected for the Barbara Bejan General Manager of the Year for 2014 for the entire Hilton Garden Inn Brand worldwide. Hilton Garden Inn Brand is comprised of over 600 hotels in 19 countries. Cornelia accepted the award at a ceremony January 11th at the Hilton Garden Inn brand conference in Orlando. She was presented the award on stage from Jim Holthouser, Executive Vice President Global Brands, Hilton Worldwide and Adrian Kurre, Global Head Hilton Garden Inn to a standing ovation from the 2,000 brand attendees and Hilton Worldwide community.

Cornelia Dobbins,

Jim Holthouser, Executive Vice President Global Brands, Hilton Worldwide Cornelia Dobbins, General Manger Hilton Garden Inn Gatlinburg, TN. Adrian Kurre, Global Head Hilton Garden Inn.“I am totally shocked!” says Cornelia Dobbins an 18 year hotel veteran. Cornelia worked as a Director of Sales in Johnson City, TN prior to her relocating to take the General Manager position at the Hilton Garden Inn Gatlinburg in August of 2011. “This is a collective award that belongs to our management company, who gives me incredible support and provides a culture of service and excellence, the hotel team; who does all the heavy lifting and hard works every day, and finally the ownership, who continually invest back into the property and employees. We all really appreciate the Hilton Garden Inn Brand for this recognition and honor.”

The award places Cornelia as the top leader selected from 600 hotels worldwide. This award is presented to the General Manager of an exceptional hotel that demonstrates ultimate leadership in all areas of the hotel, outstanding personal performance as well as going above and beyond brand expectations. Specifically, her award included examples of excellence in revenue strategies and production, market performance, service delivery, and overall guest satisfaction. Cornelia has volunteered her time on brand related programs, including as a member of the General Manager Advisory Council. In addition; prior to winning the award Cornelia was asked to represent the brand as a presenter for a Hotel Management webinar on “Advancing Your Green Profile”. Her leadership is evident in the community where she serves on several boards; including the Gatlinburg Visitor and Conventions Bureau and the Gatlinburg Hospitality Association. Furthermore, she and her hotel team volunteer time for several non-profit organizations and events within her community. Cornelia’s biggest success is her ability to balance work and family life. She and her husband, Scott, have three beautiful children—Jace, Justin and Jada. Her example of complete life balance: work excellence, community and brand involvement and leadership, and fulfilling family life place her at the top of the brand and industry.

Logan Coykendall, CEO of Hospitality Solutions, Inc., stated; “There are many worthy candidates in this great brand but I cannot imagine anyone more deserving than Cornelia. Any one of her accomplishments and involvements would make her worthy of consideration, but collectively all of her achievements make her an outstanding representative for this honor and an inspiration for all business leaders. This award is a tribute to our company, our Hilton Garden Inn Gatlinburg team of employees and ownership but most of all it is a tribute to Cornelia’s leadership, hard work, dedication, and outstanding character.”

Davy Thomas, COO of Hospitality Solutions, Inc. stated; “The Hilton Garden Inn Brand is a phenomenal hotel brand. It has won 11 JD Power awards for Highest in Guest Satisfaction Among Upscale Hotel Chains which makes the magnitude of this award really overwhelming for all of us. To think that Cornelia has been given an award as the top leader within a worldwide brand that has received top honors for service and performance within its own hotel segment. To be considered the best of the best is extremely flattering and humbling. We have always known and try to recognize Cornelia’s great contributions, but it is a great affirmation when an international company like Hilton Worldwide comes to the same conclusions.”

Guests of Hilton Garden Inn Gatlinburg enjoy the brand’s signature Garden Sleep System featuring the Serta Perfect Sleeper Pillow Top mattress, Keurig coffee maker, complimentary Wi-Fi, a 24-hours business center, state-of-the-art Precor fitness center and the Garden Grille and Bar, a full-service restaurant and bar offering full cooked-to-bar breakfast, dinner, cocktails* and evening room service. Hilton Garden Inn Gatlinburg participates in Hilton HHonors®, the only hotel rewards program that offers Points & Miles® and No Blackout Dates For more information or to make reservations for Hilton Garden Inn Gatlinburg Downtown, please visit the hotel website or call +1 865 436 0048

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The Historic Gatlinburg Inn received the Community History Award from the East Tennessee Historical Society (ETHS). The ETHS annual Awards of Excellence were presented at the organization’s Annual Meeting on May 6, 2014 at the East Tennessee History Center in downtown Knoxville. Each year the society recognizes individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the preservation, programming and interpretation of the region’s history.  These awards have been presented annually since 1982.

The Inn received the Community History Award for preserving the history of Gatlinburg. Built in 1937 by R. L. Maples, Sr. this historic inn remains in the hands of the Maples descendants and is the oldest lodging facility in Gatlinburg. It was the first home of the Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce, the town’s first bank and newspaper and was featured in the 1970 movie, “A Walk in the Spring Rain,” starring Ingrid Bergman and Anthony Quinn.

Mr. Allen Barker, who accepted the award on behalf of all the owners of the Inn, thanked the East Tennessee Historical Society for the award.  He also thanked the city leaders of Gatlinburg for their support on the preservation of this historic property, the staff of the hotel and Hospitality Solutions and, especially, the many guests without whom Gatlinburg Inn would not have thrived since 1937.

The Gatlinburg Inn was built in 1937 by R.L. Maples Sr., whose family had moved from the nearby Sugarlands after selling their property to the National Park Service for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which fully opened in 1940.

The Inn went through several expansions and a remodeling in the early 1960s to its present alpine motif. The hotel’s David Crockett Tavern was one of the finest restaurants in Gatlinburg. The property includes the 60-year-old Sky Lift, an iconic feature of the area.

When Rel Maples died in 1985, his widow, Wilma Maples, continued to operate the Inn and to play an important role in the civic life and philanthropy of the area. When she died in December 2011, the Knoxville News-Sentinel called her “the grande dame of Gatlinburg.” The roses that she planted for Rel in the 1950s still adorn the grounds.

Wilma Maples left her half of the property to her sisters and/or their surviving children. The other half was inherited by the descendants of Rel Maples and his first wife, Ruby. The heirs could have sold the property, 2.2 acres in the middle of one of America’s greatest tourism towns, for a large sum, but they realized that anyone paying such a price would tear it down. That gave them common ground to overcome greed, suspicion and longtime alienation to form a partnership that has not only kept the Inn operating but has expanded its season, added amenities and begun an internal remodeling project that will maintain the character of the Inn while bringing it up to modern standards.

The Inn’s grand reopening in 2013 featured entertainment from Bobby Osborne and the Rocky Top Express, with the sons of Felice and Boudleaux Bryant in the audience. It hosted part of the Smoky Mountain Songwriters Festival that summer and will be the headquarters hotel for the event in 2014.

The Inn is currently under the management of Hospitality Solutions, Inc., whose president, Logan Coykendall, remarked “I’ve been in the Gatlinburg business community for most of my life and am very honored and excited about being involved in the preservation and enhancement of such a unique and historic property.”


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Congratulations to the Hampton Inn Gatlinburg for collecting $550.00 as a donation to the Children’s Miracle Network which will go directly to the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital in Knoxville, TN. It is significant that the $550 was collected from a one-month campaign.

By initiating her own idea of Casual Friday, General Manager Christie Connatser offered her staff the option to wear jeans AND support the premier children’s hospital in our area. For a donation of $5.00 to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, employees were permitted to sport their jeans, while giving to a worthy cause. During the month of March, the team raised $550.00 and all those who contributed are pictured here on March 31, 2014, with the giant check they presented to this outstanding medical facility.

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