InterContinental Hotels Group has announced the first European Holiday Inn hotels to open as part of the US$1 billion global relaunch of the Holiday Inn brand family.11 Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express hotels across Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) - plus 19 in the United States and six across Asia Pacific - have been chosen to road-test the changes to the world’s biggest hotel brand, which includes new bedding, new shower experience and, for the first time, a signature scent and sound package. The first two to open in Europe, both in the UK, are the Holiday Inn London Heathrow and the Holiday Inn Farnborough.
These will be followed by hotels in Germany, Italy, France, the United Arab Emirates (Dubai), China, Thailand and Australia. Following customer feedback and extensive staff training over the next few months, the hotels will be fully relaunched by July. Of the 19 hotels road-testing the changes in the US, 16 are already open, including hotels in New York, Washington and Los Angeles.
The first hotels will showcase the new brand hallmarks and signage in order to gather owner and guest feedback, prior to the full global roll-out, scheduled for completion by the end of 2010.
All Holiday Inn hotels will be required to implement the relaunch programme to create a more contemporary brand image, increase quality and drive consistency. The relaunch will incorporate new service standards, redesigned entrance and reception areas as well as refreshed guestrooms. The new brand signage will be installed at hotels only once they have implemented the relaunch programme.
All 4,000* Holiday Inn hotels are expected to have implemented the relaunch programme by the end of 2010.
By better delivering on guest needs and expectations, IHG expects the relaunch programme to allow Holiday Inn hotels to generate significantly higher revenue per available room (RevPAR), and secure an enhanced return on investment for their owners. Together with IHG, owners and franchisees will invest up to US$1 billion over a three year period to carry out the brand relaunch to meet the required service and quality levels. IHG will invest US$60 million as part of this to support the launch.
Speaking at IHG’s EMEA conference in Farnborough this week - attended by more than 1,500 hotel owners, managers and investors - Kirk Kinsell, President IHG EMEA, said: “After all the meticulous planning and detailed dialogue with owners, it was a fantastic moment when the old Holiday Inn signage came down at both the London Heathrow and Farnborough Holiday Inns - and the new signage went up.
“This is a pivotal point in a mammoth journey for the world’s largest hotel brand; throughout Europe, Middle East and Africa alone we have more than 500 hotels, with more than 120 in development. The size of this task cannot be underestimated; nor the skills and expertise of everyone involved.
“Stepping into one of the new reception areas, seeing, hearing and smelling the new brand is a powerful experience; one which heralds the beginning of a new era for the world’s most iconic hotel brand.”
Established in 1952, Holiday Inn is one of the world’s most recognised hotel brands with more than 410,000 rooms (3,189 hotels) open and a development pipeline of more than 127,000 rooms (1,077 hotels).
In EMEA IHG has an operating portfolio of 335 Holiday Inn (52,842 rooms) and 182 Express by Holiday Inn (19,380 rooms) properties, with 127 hotels in the combined development pipeline. Holiday Inn is the largest full-service hotel brand in the UK, with 117 hotels (17,432 rooms), and also the number one hotel for business travel in Europe. Express by Holiday Inn currently numbers 113 properties (11,866 rooms) in the UK.
The Holiday Inn brand first entered Europe in Leiden, The Netherlands, in 1968, with the first UK property opening in Leicester in 1971.
The Holiday Inn London Heathrow is operated by BDL Management Ltd, which has developed a number of IHG properties across the UK including Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn and Express by Holiday Inn brands.
BDL’s Chief Executive Officer, Louis Woodcock, said: “The relaunch of the Holiday Inn family of brands is great news for BDL and our investors; we fully endorse IHG’s strategy and programme - and are very pleased Holiday Inn London Heathrow is one of the two first test hotels not only in the UK, but across the whole Europe, Middle East and Africa region. Seeing the new hallmarks installed at our hotel shows the great impact customers can expect from the relaunch; we look forward to deploying the programme across all our hotels.”
The Holiday Inn Farnborough is operated by LRG Acquisition Ltd. In 2005, LRG Acquisition - the consortium co-led by Realstar Group which also includes Lehman Brothers Real Estate Partners and GIC Real Estate (a subsidiary of the government of Singapore) - acquired 73 Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza UK properties.
According to Realstar Group’s Chairman, Jonas Prince, “Realstar is very supportive of this important IHG initiative to update the Holiday Inn brand so that it is more competitive, contemporary and impactful in the marketplace.”
*3,189 open and 1,077 in the development pipeline as of 31st December 2007.