Home Publisher's Point of View Follow the Tharaldson Lodging Companies Example This Holiday Season

Follow the Tharaldson Lodging Companies Example This Holiday Season


In the midst of the holiday season, it is a good time for the lodging industry to show its heart. In the United States, the industry has had another good year, with the average U.S. room rate surpassing $100 for the first time. I would not be surprised at all if industry pretax profits exceed those of 2006: $26.6 billion. We all have a lot to be thankful for. So tell me, what are you doing to give back to your community this holiday season? I would like to know. Call or e-mail to tell me. I will include as many of the replies as I can in next week’s column.

Since 1988, Fargo, N.D.-based Tharaldson Lodging Companies has offered free rooms at all its locations through its Room In The Inn program. According to Wendy Allen, executive assistant for Tharaldson, anyone who visits a friend or family member in a hospital, nursing home or treatment center over the holidays is eligible for a free room at any of Tharaldson’s more than 370 owned and/or operated properties. Tharaldson extended the offer on Thanksgiving and is doing so for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day as well. “It is one less thing people need to worry about when they have an unfortunate event hit them,” Allen said.

Why did Tharaldson start Room In The Inn? Many years ago, owner Gary Tharaldson and his wife Linda were visiting relatives over Christmas and their nine-month-old son became seriously ill. He was hospitalized for several days and they spent that holiday isolated in his hospital room awaiting his recovery. In later years, Linda’s father passed away from cancer at Thanksgiving and her brother was killed in a car accident just days before Christmas. Linda quickly grew to understand the burden that an added expense such as a hotel room could place upon families over the holidays.

Hotels in 35 States Participate

When Gary became owner of Tharaldson Lodging Companies, Linda instituted the Room In The Inn program. Now, visitors to hotels representing Residence Inn by Marriott, Courtyard by Marriott, Springhill Suites by Marriott and eight other brands in 35 states can participate. Hotel representatives get the word out through the media and through personal interaction with guests.

Tharaldson Lodging Companies deserves recognition for reaching out to so many travelers when they need the help the most. The Tharaldson family turned sadness and tragedy into joy and comfort for thousands of people. That is quite a gift to give in the memory of loved ones.

Artificial Trees or Real Ones?

Thanks to Katy Walterscheidt, communications specialist at Hospitality Financial & Technology Professionals (HFTP), for making me aware of a website that compares the environmental impact of real Christmas trees to their artificial counterparts. The website is run by the National Christmas Tree Association. One would expect the organization to have a bias toward the natural variety but the site does make a very compelling argument for real trees. Click here to check out this interesting site.

New Product & Service Directory Partner

Green Lodging News welcomes the Twig Factory as a Green Product & Service Directory sponsor. The Twig Factory offers a unique selection of willow and birch furniture. Included in the Twig Factory collection are tables and desks, chairs and loveseats, beds and night stands, end tables, baskets and birdhouses, plant stands and signs, picture frames, and arbors and ladders.

The Twig Factory is based in Fairfield, Iowa. Call (800) 918-6184, e-mail info@twigfactory.com, or go to www.twigfactory.com.

As always, I can be reached at editor@greenlodgingnews.com.