Hotel ranks No. 1 in Oregon and No. 240 out of 80,000 in world

The Medford Airport Courtyard by Marriott finds itself in rarefied company these days.

The 100-room hotel, which opened July 2005, has made the Expedia Insiders Select list for the second year in a row, climbing to No. 240 worldwide and No. 1 in Oregon.

"It seems a bit mind-boggling when you say 'the world,' " admitted general manager Paul Schmidt, whose hotel climbed about 500 spots from the previous year. "You see all these resorts and luxury hotels and then the Medford Courtyard."

The list is culled from among nearly 80,000 properties worldwide that are awarded scores based on recent customer opinions, a value rating determined by comparing hotels within the same star-rating, the geographical region and Expedia's staff findings.

Sofitel Chicago Water Tower topped the list with a 99.99 score, while JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa was No. 2 at 99.63 and Hotel 1000 in Seattle No. 3 at 99.27. Thirteen of the Top 20 sites were outside the United States.

Medford Airport Courtyard — managed by InnSight Hotel Management Group of Springfield — led a dozen Oregon properties with a 90.41 score with the No. 245 Elizabeth Street Inn of Newport at 90.37. No other Oregon hotel or resort fared better than an 89.97 mark. Plaza Inn and Suites at Ashland Creek was No. 299, Ashland Springs Hotel was No. 698 and Lithia Springs Resort and Gardens was No. 746.

The full list can be found at www.expedia.com/insiderselect online.

The Airport Courtyard's arrival on the leading edge of a hotel building boom that has seen hundreds of motel rooms added to the local inventory, helped its cause.

"The competition they have in Medford was a little dated and peopled noticed that," said Jim Carberry, an Expedia account manager for Oregon, Idaho and Alaska. "They probably have the best rooms in the market."

The three-star hotel is sandwiched between No. 239 Lancaster (Pa.) Arts Hotel, where rates begin at around $200 and No. 242 Loews Miami Beach Hotel, where rooms were to be had last night for $369 to $429, plus 13 percent tax.

The property has benefited from the Medford airport breaking monthly records more often than not since the doors opened. When airport travel dipped for the first time in 18 months during April, the Courtyard also saw a decline.

"We don't get as much walk-in traffic as some of the other hotels, being off freeway," Schmidt said. "When they put this in here, they were thinking long-term with the airport expanding, a new terminal being built and businesses going in, restaurants and that type of thing. It's funny, but I probably wouldn't have thought about it until April. The whole market was down in April, but we weren't down as much as other hotels; we were down about 2 percent."

Rates at the Courtyard, staffed by 40 employees, run $149 to $179 on weekdays and $109 to $129 on weekend.

"It's the reverse from a lot of hotels because we go after the business traveler and we're not as busy on the weekends," Schmidt said. "We go down to where everyone else is on the weekend."

When it comes to awards, the hotel has been on a roll. It was singled out with an internal corporate honor as a Marriott Gold Hotel for Outstanding Customer Service. Housekeeping manager Terri Wallace was named Courtyard's Manager of the Year, picked from a pool of 2,500 in the United States. Front Desk supervisor Marissa Siverman won the Medford Convention and Visitors Bureau Customer Service Person of the Year award.

"Initially, we didn't have the mind-set to win all these awards," said Schmidt, who arrived 21/2; years ago. "Our mind-set was to do good customer service. But after making the Select list two years in a row, I think our mentality has changed a little bit to go after the awards."

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 776-4463 or e-mail business@mailtribune.com.