“If you’re in a new business area, you need to know what kind of people you are dealing with in your area. Anything related to business, you must get involved with your chamber of commerce…
Each month, SpaceCoast Business is reaching out to each of our four local chambers of commerce for success stories. Our publication is very pro-chamber and the stories we hear from their members continue to amaze us. This month, Nancy Peltonen, President and CEO of the Greater Palm Bay Chamber sent us to Puneet (PK) Kapur, the manager of the Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Palm Bay. Has the chamber helped his business grow? Let’s just say that his property was recently awarded the IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) 2017 “5 of 5 Winning Metrics Award,” recognizing the hotel for achieving all five key winning metrics associated with guest satisfaction and guest loyalty. As IHG puts it, “The Holiday Inn Express & Suites – Palm Bay is one of 154 properties within the Americas chosen from the IHG system of more than 5,300 hotels for achieving all established targets of high performance in all aspects of their operation, from quality to customer satisfaction.” Along with that has come phenomenal growth, much of which Kapur attributes to actual business directed his way from the chamber’s members and a good bit of networking within the chamber as well.
Kapur says, “The business started very slow. This was a new market for me. I came to build this hotel, and planned to stay to run it, but I had no idea what kind of people or businesses were here.” He says the first six months were a disaster. “We joined the Chamber of Commerce. I met a lot of business community leaders, elected officials, and built good relationships with them.” Those relationships yielded introductions to other businesses, and Kapur made sure he went to most of the events. “That’s where I met local businesses and local law enforcement who sent their officers here for training programs,” Kapur explained. “In our second year, we earned the highest revenue growth hotel in Central Florida, so you can imagine the growth we had in that one year.”
Kapur commented further on the value of the chamber: “If you’re in a new business area, you need to know what kind of people you are dealing with in your area. Anything related to business, you must get involved with your chamber of commerce. It is the best source of information for any new business, and you will meet influential people who are community leaders, who are business leaders and who have been successful in the area. The members at the chamber are very approachable, and there is a lot of diversity. People would answer my questions. Even the members who were elected officials supported me, which was a great thing. If I had any issues with business, they would tell me who to call, what to do and what my next step should be.”
“Our revenue tells the real story, though. The chamber exists to help business. We’re the highest guest-rated hotel in Central Florida right now. We’re one of 130 hotels picked out of 5300 in the world. And our hotel is just nine years old,” Kapur says.
As Kapur could, he began giving back through the chamber that had helped him grow. “I was board chair in 2016 and 2017. I was the first to serve for two years.” Peltonen adds this about Kapur: “PK Kapur is the type of member a chamber dreams about. As soon as he joined, he got involved and utilized his membership to the fullest. He attended our monthly luncheons, networking events and ribbon cuttings. He got further involved when he devoted his time and talent to be on the chamber board of directors, eventually becoming the chairman of the board for two years. He is friendly and approachable and willing to give back and mentor new members, just as he was assisted when he joined the chamber. Networking and meeting other business owners can be intimidating, so having someone guide you through the process truly makes it easier.”
Peltonen says, “We have a saying that people do business with someone they know, like and trust. PK gives his card to everyone he meets and when he tells them to call him if they need anything, he truly means it.” ◆
…It is the best source of information for any new business, and you will meet influential people who are community leaders, who are business leaders and who have been successful in the area.” – Puneet Kapur