By Barbara A. Worcester H&MM Senior Editor
June, 1998 - Atlanta-Bass Hotels & Resorts, formerly Holiday Hospitality, is delivering the difference to its more than 2,600 franchise hotels with a new name, new organization and new structure.
"Delivering the Difference" was the theme of the company's 1998 General Manager's Conference, held here last month. Thomas Oliver, Bass Hotels & Resorts chairman and c.e.o., told more than 3,000 attendees that his goal is to position Bass Hotels & Resorts as the industry leader in guest service. In turn, he expects each of Bass' franchisees to deliver the difference to their guests.
"We are bigger than any individual brand, and our strength lies in the strength of our individual brands," Oliver said. "With the acquisition of Inter-Continental Hotels & Resorts, we've developed a portfolio that meets the needs of each traveler."
Oliver told delegates the recent addition of Inter-Continental to the
Bass organization made it apparent that the previous corporate identity
no longer reflected the diverse nature of the company's global brand portfolio.
Continental has hotels in 60 countries that provide an upscale experience for guests. Oliver said the Inter-Continental acquisition has enabled Bass to tap into a new market segment never reached before because the right product was not part of the portfolio.
The name change to Bass Hotels & Resorts was announced for the first time at the conference. This marks the second time in a year that the company has changed its name-from Holiday Inn Worldwide to Holiday Hospitality, now to Bass Hotels & Resorts.
"This name change to Bass Hotels & Resorts is an opportunity for
us to strengthen the association of our brands with our parent company
in investors' and consumers' minds, and reflect a corporate identity consistent
with other Bass businesses," Oliver said. The Bass family of hotels includes
Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn
Express, Staybridge Suites and Inter-Continental.
It's not only Bass Hotels & Resorts "delivering the difference." According to attendees, Tom Oliver himself has made the biggest difference of all. The consensus among general managers was that Oliver - after only 14 months - has rejuvenated and re-energized the brand.
The best news of all, attendees said, came from Oliver himself: "I have no plans of leaving Bass Hotels & Resorts."
Best of the best
One of the first areas in which Bass Hotels will improve its service is with its food - and - beverage. According to Ned Barker, Bass Hotels & Resorts corporate f&b director, one of the biggest dissatisfiers at Holiday Inns is its food-and- beverage.
To illustrate the perception of f&b at Holiday Inns, an entertainer
performed the Jimmy Buffett song, "Cheeseburger In Paradise." Of particular
note was the following line:
|"Warm beer and bread they said could raise the
Well it reminds me of the menu at a Holiday Inn . . . "
"We won't sit down and take it anymore," Barker said. "We won't surrender to the competition."
One way the company hopes to improve its f&b operation systemwide and drive guest preference is through Holiday Inn's "Best-4-Breakfast" program. Following what Oliver called the largest f&b test in the history of the hotel industry, Holiday Inn and its franchisees will make Best-4-Breakfast a standard feature of every full-service Holiday Inn hotel.
"Best-4-Breakfast will feature signature items, like "Cinnamon Supreme French Toast" and other items from household name brands-Folgers coffee, Tropicana orange juice and Oscar Meyer sausage or bacon," said Craig Hunt, president of Holiday Inn. "Best-4-Breakfast will change the f&b business itself," Barker said. "We're going to send a message to our customers, and to Jimmy Buffett, that our restaurants are the best for breakfast."
The theme of "Delivering The Difference" was also carried down throughout
each individual brand session.
"It's our time at Holiday Inn Express, and it's time Holiday Inn Express was recognized as the industry's greatest success story," said John Sweetwood, Holiday Inn Express president.
Last month, Sweetwood introduced the brand's first-ever television advertising campaign, positioning itself as the brand where guests "Stay Smart." "The goal of our advertising is to steadily increase Express brand awareness," Sweetwood said. "With the newness of our more than 700 properties, the value- conscious traveler makes the smart choice each time he or she stays at an Express hotel."
Sweetwood also announced the launch of "Navigator," a bi-monthly in-room travel magazine exclusive to the Express brand.
"Excellence without extravagance" was how Crowne Plaza was described by Tom Arasi, brand president. Arasi said while Bass now has two pillars within the upscale travel segment, Inter-Continental flirts with luxury, while Crowne is seen as the value leader of the upscale brand, he said.
The company's five-year goal is to develop 250 hotels globally. The
brand is currently represented by more than 140 hotels in more than 40
countries. Construction is underway in Alpharetta, Ga. on a 119-room Staybridge
Suites, the company's first extended-stay hotel. Anhut said Bass is currently
negotiating for sites around the world, with some 25 deals in development.
Development interest is high for Paris, Frankfurt, London and Belfast.
Staybridge Suites plans call for 200 franchised and owned properties worldwide by 2002.