Holiday Inn in $1 billion revamp

Holiday Inn in $1 billion revamp

Holiday Inn is injecting $1 billion into refurbishing its 3,300 properties worldwide in a bid to dominate the mid-market hotel sector.

The iconic brand unveiled a swish new logo (pictured), revamped public spaces, landscaping, better bedding and even scents.

The chain is part of the largest chain in the world, UK-owned Intercontinental Hotels Group.

Each Holiday Inn, which is a franchise operation, will be obliged to spend an average of $100,000 to $200,000 per property on improvements.

These will include new lighting, plant pots and a choice of soft or hard pillows in every room.

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Properties unable, or unwilling, to smarten up will lose the Holiday Inn brand.

“We’ve got one of the iconic brands of the world,” said Kevin Kowalski, global head of the chain (pictured).

“We want to make sure it’s fresh and current and relevant for today’s traveller.”

The move is timely as numerous reports point to a shift-change in where business travellers opt to stay, trading down from five star brands to budget offerings.

Holiday Inn’s announcement comes after a year of falling occupancy rates – down to 54% in the US and 61% in Europe, during the first half of the year.

Meanwhile revenues per available room fell 17% to $51 in the US and slipped by 16% to $66 in Europe.

The chain is suffering from brands such as Marriott Courtyard, Hilton Garden Inn and Hyatt Place stealing its traditional customer base.

However, it’s not alone in posting poor occupancy rates – hotels have suffered one of their worst years ever.

A report just out by PriceWaterhouse Coopers predicts that industry-wide revenue per room will drop by 16% for the US this year and average occupancy will fall from 60% in 2008 to 55% for 2009.