1.0. Introduction 1
1.1. Operational Concept 1
1.2. Products and Services 1
1.3. Geographical Locations 2
1.4. Key Market Segments 2
1.5. Portfolio of Brands 2
2.0. Business Positioning Strategy 3
2.2. Existing Market Segments 3
2.2. Marketing and Promotion Strategy 4
2.3. Sales Techniques 4
2.4. Existing Capabilities 5
2.5. Basis of Existing Competitive Advantage 6
3.0. Existing and Future Development Strategy 6
3.1. Existing Growth Strategy 6
3.2. The Winning Holiday Inn Express model 7
3.2.1. Brands 7
3.2.2. People 8
3.3. Future development directions 8
Reference List 9
HolidayInn Express is a chain of mid-price hotels within the brand ofInterContinental Hotels Group. As an express hotel, Holiday Innoffers limited services at reasonable prices. The standard amenitiesare objected at providing practical and convenient services thatcater for short-term stays and business travelers.
Products and Services
Thegrowth of the limited service has been very dynamic since the 1980s,with the last decade characterized by construction of over 46 percentof new rooms. The Express Inn Hotel has been experiencing highergrowth than any other brand in the limited-service category. This hasseen its expansion to more than 1,000 properties within the firstnine years of its introduction (Land 2002, p. 67).
TheHoliday Inn brand was launched for the first time in 1991 in UnitedStates. The business expanded, with the first entry to England beingin 1996. Currently, there are more than 2,200 branches of Hotel InnExpress worldwide. In 2007, during the re-launch of Holiday InnExpress brand, the hotels changed the name to Express by Holiday Inn(Mcintosh 2012, p. 129).
Theaim of establishing Holiday Inn Express was to capitalize on highdemand for the limited service hotels. Despite the developments inother hotel companies, the Holiday Inn Express quickly establishedits leadership through successful differentiation through increasedunderstanding of the guests. Consumer research shows that guestbelieved that the hotel offered an excellent product possessing allthe necessary elements to stay at reasonable prices. This can beattributed to the increased brand focus on amenities and servicesthat mattered, especially to value-conscious travelers. Being arelatively young brand, the Holiday Inn Express has developed itsreputation in the category of limited service provider. Theadvertising campaigns in America have facilitated sales by making thebrand to be honored in gold awards (Mcintosh 2012, p. 130).
Key Market Segments
HolidayInn Express provides a stay experience that entails serviceinteractions with the staff, comfortable and clean guest room andnice breakfast. The Hotel is continuously dedicated to delivering thebrand fundamentals. In order to ensure consistency, the Hotel InnProduct has been established on five major brand hallmarks. These areExpress Start® Breakfast Bar, Simply Smart™ Guest Bathroom, SmartRoast™ In-Room Coffee, Priority Club® Rewards and Smart Connect.These brand hallmarks provide an opportunity to deliver unique stayexperience (New England Historic Genealogical Society 2002).
Portfolio of Brands
TheHotel Inn Express seeks to be honest and pragmatic through increasedadvertising campaigns, facilitated discussions with the franchiseesand the design of new product innovation. These brand values are coreto the brand as they reflect the sensibilities of the guests that arethe primary objective of the Holiday Inn Express of deliveringlimited services for the best money value. The increased focus onstaying true to the pragmatic and honest values ensures that HolidayInn Express builds the future that is comparatively bright that thepast and that it endure the greatest brand in America (Land 2002, p.68).
Business Positioning Strategy
2.2. Existing Market Segments
Normally,business positioning entails the market position taken by a firmbased on customers` needs and accessibility, as well as offeringvariety of products and services. This is driven by three objectivesthat target the variety, needs, and accessibility, with the mainobjective being to curve out the niche. Therefore, position dependson the set of activities, different and unique to a brand in relationto that of the competitors.
Therehas been high growth in the hotel industry in the past one decade,with the room supply remaining fairly constant, enhancing the recordperformance levels. The fastest growing element has been thelimited-service segment that is attributed to the increased trendstoward high value-conscious travelers who seek hotels that offer theessentials without increased costs. This hotel category comprises ofmore than 1500 hotels in America. Though not among the fastestgrowing brands, the Holiday Inn Hotel have been opening two hotelsweekly, making the global pipeline to reach 170,000 hotels. Today,more than 3.1million travelers require exclusive services hence checkinto Holiday Inn Express. Many travelers prefer the limited servicehotel, popularly referred to as ‘free breakfast hotels`. This makesthe hotel to be among the leading limited-service providers, hostingover 25 million stays annually from US, Mexico, and Canada (Land2002, p. 66).
TheHoliday Inn Brand is focused on increasing the overall guestsatisfaction, where the innovations are evaluated and selected basedon the perspectives of the consumers. The ones that receive attentionare those that are focused on increasing the overall satisfaction ofthe guests. These are the ones that deliver an exclusive and uniqueexperience to the guests. The major changes have been made the guestbeds. This was done through introduction of Smart™ BeddingCollection strategy in order to meet wants and needs of the guests.These included the new-tone-on-tone sheets, improved pillows, blanketinsert and colorful throw. The improvement of bed linen andelimination of use of bedspreads, as well as offering the choices forthe types of pillows ensured that the brand addressed the preferencesof the guests, and the contemporary design gave the rooms a fresh andupdated look. As with the guest bathroom and breakfast bar, theleverages of the bedding program and smart positioning played a majorrole in ensuring simplified trends (Land 2002, p. 68).
Thehigh responsiveness to the guest needs forms the most importantdrivers for the overall satisfaction of the guests. The Smart ServiceUniversity is an online tool created by the employees within theHoliday Inn Express to enhance training of new employees as well asoffer refresher trainings on how to create an exclusive stay to theirguests. Combination of the five brand hallmarks and service-orientedpeople plays a critical role in turning the ordinary stay in thehotel into a memorable experience that attracts new guests and helpsin retaining existing ones (New England Historic Genealogical Society2002)..
Thecore value of the Holiday Inn Brand in its continuous growth indelivery of positive and consistent experience that lives up to andexceeds the expectations of the guests. The Holiday Inn Expressrecognizes importance of community and education. This has promptedits partnering with Reading is Fundamental ® (RIF) that is one ofthe largest and oldest non-profit organization for the childrenliteracy in Unites States. In its efforts towards CommunityAmbassador Program, Holiday Inn Express pairs with RIF in theirprograms to raise money for the provision of free books to childrenin such areas. The total donations by Holiday Inn Brand are wellabove $500,000 to help the kinds get a smart start by instilling thejoy of reading to those students who are in need(King 2008, p. 10).
2.2. Marketing and PromotionStrategy
Inthe commitment to remain true to the core values, the Holiday InnExpress has made efforts in making the guests feel part and smartpartakers of the brand. The Holiday Inn Express has been able toreach its guests through power of the inward campaigns of stayingsmart that applauds the pragmatic wisdom of the consumers andreinforces the rational value proposition that resonates with thedown-to-earth perceptions of the guests. The value connection isfacilitated by the cleverness, fun and witty personality of the brandthat reflects the experience of the guests at Holiday Inn Express.
Therehas been the positive reception of the StaySmart campaigns by salessystems, tools, and services, as well as the reservation linesmessaging and consumers themselves. Many guests become more connectedto Holiday Inn Express at personal level through the Priority ClubRewards, which is the largest and pioneer hotel loyalty program inthe world that spans over 3,600 hotels in more than 100 countries,and comprising of over 26,000,000 members. The membership is free,and a member earns the choice of points towards a free merchandise orhotel, or can earn frequent flyer miles comprising of over 40international and domestic airline partners. The major value of thebrand, as it grows, is delivery of positive and consistent servicesthat meets the needs of the consumers (King 2008, p. 11).
2.3. Sales Techniques
Themajor strength in StaySmart formula is the highly trainedprofessionals, as well as the staff who are courteous. Such a greatcombination of brand hallmarks and wonderful staff makes Holiday Innan exclusive hotel of its unique experience. This has been achievedby expansive distribution of hotels in over 80 percent of the smalltowns in America, offering suites in over 90 percent of the hotel`sproperties. The hotel offers very efficient internet services tocustomers, and is dedicated to over 30,000 hours of testing andidentifying the best Smart Program elements (King 2008, p. 12).
ExpressStart® Breakfast Bar comprises of free breakfast bar that featuresthe proprietary of the brand’s cinnamon rolls and the SmartRoast® Coffee. The SimplySmart™ Guest Bath provides a refreshedbath with white towels and a line of amenities that are exclusivelyStay Smart® shower head provided by Kohler. The SimplySmart™ Bedding Collection comprised of bedspreadsthat were replaced by two white sheets and duvet blanket that isnestled between the PriorityClub ® Rewards. The frequent-stay program of the brand emerged asthe best program of the year as named by FreddieAwards. This was for the second season consecutive that the brandemerged the top. TheSmart ConnectSM Telecommunications. Is made up of free and high-speedinternet access and free telephone calls. This is because the HolidayInn Express has recognized the fact that a great brand cannot be madeamenities alone. Responsiveness to guests and provision of theirneeds remain the major critical factor that is considered in thisindustry. This enhances the development of greater bonds between theguests and the brand(King 2008, p. 13).
Figure1:Business Position Framework of Holiday Inn Hotel
2.4. Existing Capabilities
Themarket mixing for the services of at the hotel includes the 4Ps ofproduct, place, promotion and price. The product is characterized bygood quality features, accessories, proper branding, warranties,attractive packaging and high-quality level. The place entails thechannel type, intermediaries, exposure, transportation, managingchannels, intermediaries and outlet locations. The promotion entailsselection, incentives, number and training of the sales people. Also,advertising is a critical component of promotion in Holiday InnExpress, and it entails media types, targets, copy thrust, publicityand sales promotion. The price levels should be flexible, shouldinclude the allowances and discounts, and all terms and conditionsare clearly outlined.
Theother 3Ps include people, physical evidence, and process. The peoplein Holiday Inn Express are the employees gotten through selection andrecruitment and equipped with necessary skills through motivation,training and teamwork. The customers the normally educated andtrained regarding the hotel and the terms and conditions requiredtherewith.
2.5. Basis of ExistingCompetitive Advantage
Thegeneric strategies used for achieving the competitive advantage inHoliday Inn Hotel include cost leadership, differentiation, andfocus. Cost leadership is critical in achieving the low-coststructure that delivers low-cost products and high returns, evenduring stiff competition. The differentiation plays a major role inthe development of enhanced services or products that are superior inimage and design in the eyes of consumers, and hence expensive.Finally, focus is critical in concentrating of certain segments ofpeople that take the differentiation or consumer focus (Jones 2009,p. 271).
Offeringnew products and services to the customers entails the productdevelopment. This implies that Holiday Inn Express has been in theforefront to ensure a product mix that encompasses the depth,consistency, and width. The mixes the foodservice, conferences,banqueting, business services, shops, entertainment, signatureproducts and personal services. On the other hand, the marketdevelopment strategies are meant to get these products into themarket. The markets can either be new market segments, new geographicsegments and new uses of the existing products. At other times, thisstrategy can involve taking a riskier strategy.
Existing and Future Development Strategy
Existing Growth Strategy
Theexisting growth strategy in Holiday Inn Express focuses on thefastest and largest markets where it has strong existing presence.The hotel also targets the opportunity of building its brand presencewhere the revenue and scale delivery systems confer the mostattractive markets and greatest benefits aligned to their asset lightbusiness models. Therefore, the business aims to take these marketsshare based on their brand portfolio in the right locations based onthe demands of the guests. By November 2013, the priority market inHoliday Inn Express composed of key emerging markets, especially indeveloped countries. These include Germany, Middle East, Canada, UK,Mexico, Indonesia, and Russia among others. Theoutside priority markets involve building presence in major gatewayresorts and cities where the brands can generate revenue premiumsfrom high leisure and business demands. These include countries likeAustralia and some countries in Africa(Jones 2009, p. 272).
Inthe growth towards high opportunity segments, the Holiday Inn Resortfocuses on offers and price points for both luxuries, economy,midscale and upscale. Nevertheless, the hotel recognizes that theirguests tend to choose hotels based on needs, and the same guest maystay in over one hotel segment based on occasion and needs.Therefore, Holiday Inn Express is refining the approach towardsfulfilling the occasion needs, as per the definitions of travelingoccasions and need for traveling. As a result, there has been asegmentation of markets into nine differentiating and globallyrelevant categories of the guest occasion. The differentiatingstrengths in these segments are dependent on geographical location,and understanding such occasions is crucial in delivery of basic andcore needs to the guests, which are normally brand agnostic and whichserve to deliver the baseline consistency level across the brands inorder to enhance delivery of relevant guest experience for eachoccasion(Jones 2009, p. 273).
Theportfolio of brands in Holiday Inn Express targets around thediffering occasion segments and focuses on those that have thestrongest resilience and greatest growth opportunity to the economiccycle or the industry. The firm also concentrates on areas where thescale and revenue from their operations confer the greatest benefits.The Holiday Inn Express brands are focuses on quest occasions, whereeach brand seeks to address the requirements of the guests in aspecial way, through the eyes of target customers to bring to lifethe experiences of the guests. Also, the business has identified thatthe future success is dependent of the ability of the brand toprovide local, global and personal experience so as to build trust.
3.2. The Winning Holiday InnExpress model3.2.1.Brands
Thepreferred brands in Holiday Inn Express are delivered through thepeople. The portfolio of their brand comprises the differentiated andcomplementary brands that consistently deliver the needs of theguests. Establishment of portfolio of the preferred brands whichresonate with the guest is very crucial. Normally, the firm perceivesthe values through the need for more from their guests, who pay moreto have the brand, and this drives the RevPAR and delivers goodreturns to the business (King 2008, p. 14).
TheHoliday Inn Express brand is a reflection of consistent,differentiated and relevant hospitality experience where the guestsfocus from any location through the service and product perspective,while the owners perform their parts in terms of delivery of revenue,purposeful and relevant brand, as well as the broader supportreceived from, the bigger section of the global brand (MaineState Bar Association2002).
Thecontinued research to the guest houses and the customer insightenables the organization gets a deeper understanding of the customerneeds from various parts of the world, especially from theirrelationship with hotel brands. The research also helps in definingthe brands, where the guest satisfaction tool is used in measuringthe heart beat for the customers, satisfaction, and brand preference.The firm always looks for avenues through which it can improve theheart beat scores by meeting the expectations of the guests. Thedelivery of the preferred product is, therefore, achieved byrecognizing the importance of people working in hotels so as todeliver some differentiated products and brand promises for theguests (King 2008, p. 15).
TheHoliday Inn Express recognizes the need for people to work acrosstheir various hotels in order to deliver brands that aredifferentiated and the brand promise for the guest. The expandingbusiness requires continuous addition of employees to work in thosehotels so as to deliver the preferred brands. In order to handle theproblems associated with the recruitment, the hotel has a strategythat aims at attracting, developing and retaining the best talentswithin the industry in order to service the need for the guests. Thepeople strategy is based on four pillars of development ofbrand-hearted culture, making Holiday Inn Express the best place towork, building of leverage sales, and having a strong brand portfolio(Land 2002, p. 68).
Thebrand-hearted culture offers distinct promise to the guests byputting the brand at the forefront in everything they do. MakingHoliday Inn Express the greatest place, to work for, involves thefirm asking the people on the best winning strategies, as well asoffering room for commitment, growth, and involvement. Theestablishment of leverage scale aims at delivering high-qualitygrowth through establishment of scale positions within the mostattractive geographic markets. In major cities, the organization aimsat building scale by increasing the market share for the rooms withinthose locations, since the brands focus on range of some occasionalsegments that meet the guest needs, as well as making use of theconsumer research that helps in targeting the appropriate brands foreach location (Land 2002, p. 69).
Future development directions
TheHoliday Inn Express should aim at delivering high-quality growth bybuilding scale positions in the geographic markets that are mostattractive. This should target the major cities where the firm shouldincrease the share rooms. Normally, the increased scale is criticalin driving revenues as well as creating the cost synergies for theHotel and the owners. The high number of hotels in certain geographicareas is a major encouragement and attraction to guests. The Hotelcan also try to centralize and co-ordinate the operational support.Also, it is of imperative importance that the hotel considersstrengthening the brand portfolio and the loyalty program. Suchprograms can play a major role in identifying the entire brand withinone family. Also, the channel management should be enhanced tofacilitate delivery of high-quality revenues at lowest costs whilerecognizing the customer experiences changes as they travel.Therefore, the Holiday Inn Express should aim at delivering againstthe needs of the guests. Systems and technology are vital and shouldbe used in driving demand for the hotels as well as enhancing revenuemanagement to encourage loyalty and deliver high-quality revenues atlowest costs.
Jones,P. (2009). A ‘sound Strategy’ for Intercontinental Hotels.Tourismand Hospitality Research9 (3), pp. 271-76
King,M. A. (2008). The Implementation of DSpace at the InterContinentalHotels Group. Journalof Cases on Information Technology10 (2), pp. 10-24
Koushik,D., Higbie, A. and Eister, C. (2012). Retail Price Optimization atInterContinental Hotels Group. Interfaces42 (1), pp. 45-57.
Land,B. (2002). America`sGreatest Brands: An Insight into Many of America`s Strongest and MostValuable Brands.Kent, CT: America`s Greatest Brands (US) LLC, 2007.WalnutStreet, Philadelphia, PA 19107.Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society.
MaineState Bar Association(2002).Maine`s New Principal and Income Act: Managing Estates and Trusts inthe 21st Century: Presented Friday, October 18, 2002, Holiday InnExpress, Saco.Augusta: Maine State Bar Association.
Mcintosh,A and Candice, H. (2012). Critical Hospitality and Work: (In)hospitable Employment in the Hospitality Industry. Hospitality& Society2(2), pp. 129-35.
NewEngland Historic Genealogical Society (2002). WeekendSeminar in Philadelphia, PA April 12-13, 2002: At the Holiday InnExpress Midtown, 1305. NewYork: NewEngland Historic Genealogical Society.