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Holiday Inn Changes Look, Gets New Identity

Associated Press

Using 1.7 million square yards of carpet, nearly 40,000 gallons of paint, 646,000 rolls of wallpaper and 22,000 sofas, Holiday Inn is getting a new look.

And to further reflect its new image, Holiday Inn Worldwide last week announced it was changing its name to Holiday Hospitality Corp.

Holiday Inn Worldwide, based in Atlanta, is the franchiser of Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza brand hotels. A unit of Bass PLC, it operates or franchises more than 2,300 hotels and 390,000 guest rooms in more than 60 countries and territories.

“Our new name more accurately reflects the diverse family of products under our corporate umbrella,” said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Thomas R. Oliver.

“Holiday Hospitality is re-energized, up-to-date and responsive to guests’ needs,” he said. “We’re encouraging consumers to look at us in a radically different way.”

If guests do take a look at Holiday Inn hotels, they might see some changes. The company in 1994 told the franchisees who had joined before 1989 that they had to modernize and upgrade their hotels, or lose their affiliation. More than 1,000 hotels were upgraded; seven opted out.

“We were forced by the competition,” said Holiday Inn President Craig H. Hunt. “We looked pretty old and the reason we looked old is because someone built something new next to us.”

Nearly $1.6 million worth of improvements are being made at each hotel, for a total cost of about $8,000 per room or $1 billion in all. Guests at the renovated hotels will see more modern entrances, pitched roofs and new furniture.

The interiors were spruced up, colors and patterns updated and amenities revisited. The hotels established new standards for room service, got rid of the fake flowers and brought in fresh bouquets, and made arrangements at eight hotels for food courts featuring national fast-food chains, Hunt said. Even the staff lounges were fixed up.

The company has also started placing a greater emphasis on customer service and the satisfaction of its guests, about 55 percent of whom are business travelers.

Guests at random have been sent satisfaction surveys and the responses were used to compile an assessment of each franchise. Those that fail the test and don’t improve get kicked out of the franchise. Two hundred hotels have gotten the boot in the past two years, Hunt said.

The result? Revenue per available room, an indicator of hotel profitability, has increased 7.5 percent since the modernization program began.

“We want to capitalize on what Holiday Inn means to people,” Hunt said. xxxx A BIG JOB Here are some examples of what was involved in Holiday Inn’s renovation of 1,012 hotels: 1.7 million square yards of carpet - enough to cover about 346 football fields, or every NFL stadium nearly 11 times over. More than 1 million square feet of floor tile - enough to pave the highway from New York City to Montreal. 39,729 gallons of paint - more than enough to paint the Great Wall of China. 646,000 rolls of wallpaper - enough to paper all 23,000 offices at the Pentagon

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