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An Upgrade of Holiday Inn – From Logo to “Human Bedwarmers”

Holiday Inn, a 52-year old brand under Intercontinental Hotel Group, is going through the process of changing brand image. Its head-to-toe makeover includes logo, curtains, linens, beds, shower heads, and more. Guests can now choose firm or soft pillows on each bed. These are just some standardized upgrades, aren’t they?

In January, the brand introduced the idea of “human bedwarmers” in its London and Manchester locations. Before guests jump in their beds, they can have “human bedwarmers” --- which are real human beings dressed in “special, top-to-bottom-covered sleeper suits” --- warm up their beds. Holiday Inn believes a warm bed would allow guests fall asleep faster.

Here, I am not going to ask the question of whether people would like the idea of having somebody else warm up their beds before they go to bed. I know I don’t like it. However, I am glad to see the efforts Holiday Inn is making. The new concept definitely creates a more contemporary feel and appeals to younger guests, and thus, affects the bottom line. Properties after renovations can generate 7% more revenue per available room than those that have not.

Not surprisingly, such upgrades are associated with high costs. For each property that goes through the renovation, owners many need to pay $150,000 to $250,000. If an owner chooses not to change, they have no options but to work with other franchisers or become an independent hotel.

Sources:
1. U.S.A. Today: http://content.usatoday.com/communities/hotelcheckin/post/2010/01/holiday-inn-wants-to-get-in-bed-with-you-chain-employs-human-bedwarmers/1
2. LA Times: http://articles.latimes.com/2009/dec/26/business/la-fi-holidayinn26-2009dec26
3. Pictures were copied from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/7009900/Hotel-chain-offers-human-bed-warmers.html and http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/hospitality/

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