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Hotel on NMSU campus wins top Marriott awards

Release Date: 15 Jun 2022
Hotel on NMSU campus wins top Marriott awards

Ahead of its third anniversary next month, the Courtyard by Marriott Las Cruces at New Mexico State University has not one but three reasons to celebrate.

Earlier this month, the hotel, which sits on NMSU’s Las Cruces campus, won three highly coveted awards during the annual Marriott Select Brands Awards, including two for general manager Amy Miller, an NMSU alumna with 24 years of experience in the hospitality sector.

Miller, who has served as the hotel’s general manager since its opening in 2019, was named the 2021 Diamond General Manager of the Year and the 2021 Courtyard General Manager of the Year. The latter award goes to one general manager among all Courtyard brand hotels across the world and recognizes excellence in outstanding operational and hospitality leadership.

“I’m so humbled and so proud,” Miller said. “I wouldn’t have gotten these awards if it wasn’t for our amazing partnership with NMSU’s School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management and the work we do to train and employ the future of our hospitality industry.”

The hotel also won the 2021 Platinum Circle Award, an honor bestowed to Marriott hotels in the top 5% of their brands globally, based on customer satisfaction and intent-to-recommend scores.

During the virtual awards presentation, Marriott praised the hotel’s ties to NMSU.

The hotel – developed and managed by the Albuquerque-based Total Management Systems – offers real-world, hands-on experience to HRTM students through jobs and internships. Students also receive career training from TMS executives like Miller, who regularly guest-lecture in HRTM courses. 

The hotel employs about 60 people, including about 10 current or former NMSU students who carry out a wide range of duties as interns or full-time staff members.

“The School of HRTM and the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences are very proud of all of Amy and the Courtyard by Marriott’s awards,” HRTM Director Jean Hertzman said. “It is rewarding knowing that our students are working with the hotel and learning what it takes to achieve such high standards of excellence.”

Miller attributes the hotel’s success to her staff’s dedication to guest service, especially through the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For example, while many hotels shuttered food service in 2020, Miller said her team continued to follow pre-pandemic standards to keep their in-house bistro running, resulting in a food-and-beverage score that was 19 points higher than the brand average.

“A lot of blood, sweat and tears go into running this hotel,” she said. “I may be managing and pulling everyone together, but it’s a true team effort.”

Miller has worked in the hotel industry since graduating from the HRTM program in the mid-1990s. She has spent the past 14 years at Marriott-branded hotels.

After Total Management Systems partnered with NMSU to develop the hotel on the university’s main campus and help teach the next generation of hospitality leaders, Miller said she jumped at the chance to manage the property.

“I knew from the beginning I wanted to manage this hotel,” she said. “TMS brought me on board on Oct. 1, 2018, as the hotel general manager, when it was still under construction. The hotel opened on July 5, 2019, and it’s been nonstop. It’s been my baby and my passion ever since.”

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