Since Forsyth’s Comfort Inn & Suites provides its guests fresh waffles for breakfast daily, Navid Kapadia decided that a good way to celebrate National Waffle Day (Aug. 24) would be to invite leaders from Forsyth and Monroe County to enjoy a waffle breakfast with him at the hotel. Navid has been a part of the team that manages Comfort Inn & Suites, Comfort Inn and LaQuinta for about three years, but his family has owned hotels in Forsyth since 1998.
The Kapadia family has not only worked hard to offer travelers comfortable accommodations that are a successful business and an asset to the area, it has also reached out to develop a partnership with Forsyth and Monroe County. Navid said he sees that partnership as an advantage to everyone and has stepped into a role of fostering communication and cooperation between the hotels and the community.
He has accepted an appointment to fill his uncle, Faysal Kapadia’s, unexpired term on Forsyth’s Convention & Visitors Bureau Authority through Dec. 31, 2020. His uncle resigned from the Authority as his business responsibilities took him away from Forsyth more frequently.
The three hotels Navid manages provide 180 rooms for guests. He said the impression the town and local businesses make on guests who stay in those rooms is a big part of what keeps them coming back and recommending the hotels to others. The CVBA provides maps and brochures that point guests to restaurants, shopping, churches and attractions nearby.
“They see there is more here than what they think. Many say, ‘It’s such a nice town,’” said Navid.
Some of the partners he wished to thank on National Waffle Day included the city and county governments, Forsyth-Monroe County Chamber of Commerce, Forsyth Main Street, local (especially downtown) businesses and the CVBA.
“We don’t tend to thank our partners as much as we thank ourselves and our guests,” he said.
Navid, who is 34 and grew up in Fayette County, had his hard work and entrepreneurship recognized earlier this year by Choice Hotels, which has approximately 7,000 franchises nationwide. He was named Choice Hotels Rising Star at the national convention after being nominated by the regional representative.
Navid said the award is given to someone that Choice Hotels sees as having potential to grow within the franchise. He said he is proud to be associated with Choice Hotels because it is “one of the most up and coming, one of the leaders in the hotel industry.” Navid said his efforts to make his hotels the best and give his guests the best experience is in line with what his uncles have taught him.
“My family takes a lot of pride in what we do and how we do it. That includes how involved we are with the community and with our employees,” said Navid. “It is important they grow as we grow. It goes very far. That is the way my family has always gone about doing business.”
Before coming to work at the hotels in Forsyth, Navid worked for several years in fast food and customer service industries. He said his experiences taught him to look at things from different angles and to try different ways of approaching a situation. He said he also learned never to give up and to keep trying different things.
Brannon Davenport, who works the desk at Comfort Suites said he enjoys interacting with the guests at the hotel. He can often see a difference between when they arrive in the evening and when he greets them in the morning after a night of rest. He had chatted with guests from New Zealand that morning. He often sees repeat guests; one man stays at Comfort Suites every week in connection with his business travels.
Brannon said the staff does its best to make guests comfortable and is pleased to see them return. He said people really like the CVBA maps because it gives them an opportunity to explore Forsyth while unplugging from the GPS that is directing much of their travel.
“Working for Navid is awesome; I’ve learned a lot of things from him,” said Brannon. “He’s laid back, but if something needs done, he’s on top of it.”
Courtney Sinclair also works the desk at Comfort Suites. She likes the opportunity of meeting people from “everywhere” every day on her job. She also feels good about helping the people who come to the hotel as tired travelers. She said there are a lot of things to do in Forsyth that she can share with guests, and she likes to hear them tell her she helped them have a good experience.
Navid said he is working with Forsyth and local businesses to put together packages for travelers, maybe even something that would entice those living in Atlanta to get away to Forsyth for a break of a day or two. He said his next professional goal is for his hotel to receive the Gold Award from Choice Hotels. It is given to top hotels on the merits of their overall performance as reflected in inspections, reviews and other evaluation tools.
“It takes an entire team to do that,” he said. His three hotels employ about 40 to 50 people. “The idea of family is very important to me. I feel close to Forsyth because it embodies the idea of extended family.”