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One-On-One with Holiday Inn Express Vice President

Published: 12/09/2017 - Filed under: Home » News »

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BT: Intercontinental Hotels Group has a large portfolio of hotel brands that cater to business travel, including extended stay, meetings-friendly venues, and both select and full-service options. How does Holiday Inn Express fit into that portfolio?

Jennifer Gribble, VP of the Holiday Inn Express brand, outlines what’s  in the works for road warriorsGRIBBLE: We view Holiday Inn Express as the ideal option for road warriors looking for solid value on price without skimping on the amenities. There are a lot of options out there, but we have some really great benefits like our new breakfast buffet with healthier choices, redesigned guest rooms and new bedside tables on wheels that raise up and down so that guests can work on laptops from bed.

BT: You have re-launched your partnership with comedian and actor Rob Riggle. What does that involve?

GRIBBLE: Rob is the perfect storyteller for our brand, and people recognize him from The Daily Show and movies like The Hangover. He’s able to deliver our message in a way that resonates with travelers and shares our story in a light-hearted way. Customers are already loyal to our IHG loyalty program, and Riggle adds that funny hook to keep our guests connected. Our goal is to help our guests “Be The Readiest” (the brand’s latest campaign) wherever their travels take them, whether that’s our hot breakfast buffet helping them to be ready for a day of meetings or a fitness center that readies them for their exercise goals.

BT: Speaking of being connected, your guest rooms have recently undergone a redesign. How are these changes working for the modern traveler?

GRIBBLE: We are adding more power and USB outlets throughout the room. These include in the bathroom, on either side of the bed, near the desk and coffeemakers, and even by the room’s entryway. Customers tell us being connected is the most important thing to them, and we want to make sure they are powered up and ready to go.

BT: You mentioned IHG’s loyalty program. Certainly for today’s business travelers, earning loyalty points across many brands is an important bonus. Do you find that they also redeem them with Holiday Inn Express?

GRIBBLE: It depends where they are going, but we just opened the largest Holiday Inn Express in the Americas on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu. This is sure to be a popular spot for business travelers who want to take their families on vacation. The hotel has a great swimming pool with cabana-style seating and panoramic views from its 44 floors facing the mountains and Waikiki Beach. Holiday Inn Express is the largest hotel brand in the world in its segment, and we’re excited to add another property to the Hawaiian Islands.

BT: What makes the Waikiki property different from others in the system?

GRIBBLE: Besides being the largest Holiday Inn Express in the Americas, it also showcases the latest hotel design including increased power outlets in rooms and community work spaces in the lobby. This new room design is being rolled out across the system. The hotel also has plenty of recreational amenities like a 24-hour fitness center.

BT: We hear you’re planning some changes to the Express Start breakfast buffet. What’s driving those changes and what can we expect to see there?

GRIBBLE: We get a lot of compliments from guests about the free morning buffet, and we are always looking for ways to improve. New egg white omelets and oatmeal options, Chobani Greek yogurt, and whole wheat English muffins have been added to the lineup. We have also created a new flavor for our famous pancake machine, and based upon customer demand, there was even a small window added so people can watch their breakfast being made from scratch. Another exciting addition for many will be the new cinnamon roll we are launching in partnership with Cinnabon, which will be available in most properties by next year.

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