Facing Business Challenges at Holiday Inn Worldwide
Sending Invitations Across the Globe
In the 1960s a family vacation in the United States usually meant loading the kids into the station wagon and driving off down the highway toward a tourist destination. And when weary vacationers needed to rest for the night, they often looked for the familiar green signs with “Holiday Inn” written in script and a colorful star for emphasis. All across the United States, this sign welcomed travelers to Holliday Inn hotels with promises of quality, comfort, and value.
By 1968 Holiday Inn was so well known in the United States that it began opening franchises in Europe. In 1973 the company opened its first Asian hotel in Japan, and in 1984 it became the first U.S.-based hotel to open for business in China. For 25 years Holiday Inn enjoyed great success in the European and Asian markets, opening 600 hotels and earning a reputation as upscale , professional, and well run.
However, in the 1980s Holiday Inn’s fortunes were beginning to fade in the United States. Many of the franchises were outdated and substandard . Family vacationers were being replaced by business travelers as the hotel industry’s bread and butter , and aggressive competitors with superior marketing strategies were targeting this growing segment . In addition, overbuilding had set off a wave of price discounting . As a result, both Holiday Inn’s share of the lodging market and its image took a nosedive .
But in the 1990s this icon of the U.S. highway was brought back to life after being purchased by Bass PLC, a British conglomerate. Bass moved quickly to make Holiday Inn Worldwide the leading hotel chain, not just in the United States but around the globe. In the United States, Holiday Inn pursued a strategy that segmented the market into different types of travelers and created a unique type of lodging for each group. Under names like Holiday Inn Express, Holiday Inn Select, Sunspree Resorts, and Crowne Plaza, the company offered different accommodations and amenities at different prices to suit the diverse needs of business and leisure travelers. Combined with a campaign to bring all of the franchises back up to a high standard of quality, the strategy quickly began to pay off.
Even so, the top brass at Holiday Inn Worldwide knows that the greatest growth potential is not in the saturated U.S. market but in the evolving markets of Europe, Asia, and Latin America. With increasing tourism and business development in these regions, the demand for comfortable, consistent, and affordable accommodations is booming . Holiday Inn needs a strategy for tapping this vast potential. Would the strategies that fueled Holiday Inn’s turnaround in the United States bring similar results internationally? Large-scale construction of new hotels will play a major role, so what kinds of hotels should they be? How can the company best meet the needs of a wide variety of international travelers? Should Holiday Inn expand through franchises or by opening company-owned hotels? Should the same type of promotion be used for the entire global market or should it be localized to each geographic area? These are questions that Raymond Lewis faces daily as vice president of marketing. If you were Lewis, how would you answer them?
Meeting Business Challenges at Holiday Inn Worldwide
Part of Raymond Lewis’s job is to monitor and predict changes in the ever-evolving global market . Among the trends he has observed is the increasing similarity between the needs and desires expressed by consumers and businesses around the world in certain product categories such as lodging. On the other hand, Lewis knows that various countries and cultures approach purchases differently, and that people of various cultures respond differently to product promotion . His challenge, then, is to figure out how to satisfy both the similar and the diverse needs of each new market.
Lewis also knows that all travelers, regardless of where they are from or where they are going, share many of the same desires, fears, and expectations when they are traveling. They may not speak the same language or live the same lives while at home, but when they’re on the road, all travelers are (1) away from home and out of their personal comfort zones, (2) in different and often unfamiliar surroundings, and (3) subject to the same hassles and hardships. Therefore, Holiday Inn focuses on delivering a consistent product around the world. This way, whether the hotel is in South Korea, India, Buenos Aires , or Israel, travelers know that they will always receive a comfortable room at a fair price.
In addition, the strategy of segmenting the market by types of travelers that proved so successful in the United States also works abroad, but in a different way. Segmentation in the hotel industry is a relatively new concept in Europe, and in Asia it is virtually nonexistent. This is largely because in many of the developing nations of Asia, travel has only recently become an option for the majority of people. As a result, not every type of Holiday Inn hotel will be successful in every country. The company must know each market very well before it decides which type of hotel to open. Does the area draw mainly tourists or business travelers? How long do visitors usually stay? Do people from surrounding areas travel often? What types of accommodations do competitors offer in the area? By knowing the answers to questions like these, Holiday Inn is able to decide which type of hotel will best serve the needs of travelers to the area. For example, the company opened a SunSpree Resort in Arequipa, Peru, close to Machu Pichu, a popular international tourist destination. Holiday Inn’s management team feels that Sunspree has a great chance for success in this location because the hotel caters to tourists.
In the same way, Holiday Inn management expects a mix of business and leisure travelers to visit Seoul, South Korea. Therefore, the new Holiday Inn Seoul appeals to a broad range of travelers by offering a business center, banquet facilities , four restaurants, a fitness center , and a gift shop.
Just as in its early days of expansion in the United States, Holiday Inn is accomplishing its international expansion through a mix of wholly owned facilities and franchises, depending on the availability of resources and potential for profit in each local market. Although franchising agreements place less risk on Holiday Inn Worldwide, they also require the company to give up more control than it would by opening wholly owned facilities. However, franchises must adhere to strict quality standards if they intend to operate under Holiday Inn’s famous name.
Lewis and his team also recognize that even though travelers have similar expectations for the quality and value they get in a hotel, sometimes they like to stay in places that don’t feel like hotel chains. Therefore, the company has opened hotels in Europe, Australia, and South Africa that have a style and character unique to their locations. In this way, Holiday Inn is able to tailor its global product to local markets.
Nonetheless, Holiday Inn’s promotion strategy is decidedly global, regardless of which markets it enters. Lewis bases the strategy on two themes: “Welcome” and “Stay with somebody you know.” Although the ad copy is translated when necessary, even the visual format is the same from country to country. Of course, cultural differences must be accommodated from time to time. For example, travelers in Britain preferred an ad that focused on a friendly doorman, whereas U.S. and German travelers preferred a more sentimental ad showing a businesswoman receiving a fax of a drawing from her child.
The inspiration for this global strategy came to Lewis, not surprisingly, while he was traveling. When boarding a plane at Dulles Airport outside of Washington, D.C., he passed a group of Russian teenagers gathered around a guitar player singing “Puff the Magic Dragon,” a folk song that was popular in the United States a few decades ago. This connection between cultures helped convince Lewis that the world’s people were alike in many ways, particularly in the field of pleasure and business travel.
It remains to be seen how successful Holiday Inn’s global strategy will be in the long run . The company is off to a flying start. However, competitors such as Marriott and Choice Hotels are moving quickly to make sure Holiday Inn doesn’t outpace them in the hot new global markets. But one thing is sure, Lewis and the rest of the management team are not content with Holiday Inn being a leading hotel chain in the United States. They want Holiday Inn to be the leader around the world.
Thank you for your letter of 2 November. We are delighted to hear that you are to pleased with the refurbishment of your hotel. As your know .in our line of work, we depend on good ,reports about our projects to win further business. Our clients always shop around and look for references before committing themselves. With your permission, we would like to use your hotel as a reference when we discuss similar refurbishments in the hotel industry . Would you agree to our suggesting that future clients should call you? It would also be most helpful if we could occasionally bring a client to look at your hotel . We would , of course , stay overnight at least.I’ll call you next week to hear your reaction. Thanks again for you kind words.
从11月2日的来函得悉阁下对贵饭店的整修感到满意，此消息对本公司实是一鼓励。 设计行业重视声誉，客人在选择设计公司时必然会有所比较。如蒙允许，本公司欲请贵饭店作推荐人，证明有关整修的质素。未知可否让其他客户来电垂询? 此外，如获允准间或联同客户前来参观贵饭店整修，定必有莫大帮助。当然，本公司会预订房间，至少留宿一晚。
This is to inform you that we are unable to make delivery on the above referenced purchase order on the date indicated.
We should have our merchandise ready to ship within 10 days of the original delivery date and we hope that you can hold off until that time.
We did want to inform you of this delay as soon we were advised in order to give you as much time as possible to make alternate arrangements， if necessary. We can assure you， however， that if your order remains in force we will expedite delivery to you as soon as we have received the merchandise.
Please accept our apology for this delay and thank you for your understanding.
Our country is known as “nation of the etiquette” the laudatory name, the advocation etiquette is our country people's traditional moral excellence.From ancient times till now, our country's etiquette standard is the Chinese unique civilization symbol, is Chinese nation moral excellence manifesting.The etiquette, took one traditional moral excellence, has the historical inheritance, has vitality which does not fade.
The etiquette involves which in the commercial contact are very many, but from basic speaks between the human and human's contact, therefore we are used to the commercial etiquette limits art which associates for the commercial personnel.
As the name suggests, the commercial etiquette is refers in the people commerce contact the suitable etiquette standard, is in the commercial contact, by the procedure, the way which certain, is established by usage indicated respects opposite party the process and the method.The ritual stems from vulgarly, popularizes for the ritual.The commercial etiquette operationality, how is should do, how shouldn't do.Achieves in the commercial contact “restrains oneself, respects other people” to be able to cause the people with ease happily to associate.Not only “considers for other people” is the commercial contact, also is between the human and the human the normal contact basic principle.Therefore said the study and the correct utilization commerce etiquette not only is a person intrinsic tutelage and the quality external performance, also is in the human communication the suitable one kind of art, one human relations way or the human relations method, are in the human communication are established by usage show respect, the friendly custom procedure.Carries on in the human communication communicates mutually certainly must grasp the commercial etiquette the skill.Looked from individual angle that, grasps certain commercial etiquette to be helpful in enhances people's own tutelage, beautifies own, the beautified life.And can the very effective promotion social contact, the improvement interpersonal relationship, but also is helpful to the purification social convention.Considers, a smile, a concern all can give human's by mind in warmth, and may cause own mood to be also happy along with it, why not?
Business etiquette is made up of significantly more important things than knowing which fork to use at lunch with a client. Unfortunately, in the perception of others, the devil is in the details. People may feel that if you can't be trusted not to embarrass yourself in business and social situations, you may lack the self-control necessary to be good at what you do. Etiquette is about presenting yourself with the kind of polish that shows you can be taken seriously. Etiquette is also about being comfortable around people (and making them comfortable around you!)
People are a key factor in your own and your business' success. Many potentially worthwhile and profitable alliances have been lost because of an unintentional breach of manners.
Dan McLeod, president of Positive Management Leadership Programs, a union avoidance company, says, "Show me a boss who treats his or her employees abrasively, and I'll show you an environment ripe for labor problems and obviously poor customers relations. Disrespectful and discourteous treatment of employees is passed along from the top."
Most behavior that is perceived as disrespectful, discourteous or abrasive is unintentional, and could have been avoided by practicing good manners or etiquette. We've always found that most negative experiences with someone were unintentional and easily repaired by keeping an open mind and maintaining open, honest communication. Basic knowledge and practice of etiquette is a valuable advantage, because in a lot of situations, a second chance may not be possible or practical.
There are many written and unwritten rules and guidelines for etiquette, and it certainly behooves a business person to learn them. The caveat is that there is no possible way to know all of them!
These guidelines have some difficult-to-navigate nuances, depending on the company, the local culture, and the requirements of the situation. Possibilities to commit a faux pas are limitless, and chances are, sooner or later, you'll make a mistake. But you can minimize them, recover quickly, and avoid causing a bad impression by being generally considerate and attentive to the concerns of others, and by adhering to the basic rules of etiquette. When in doubt, stick to the basics.
The most important thing to remember is to be courteous and thoughtful to the people around you, regardless of the situation. Consider other people's feelings, stick to your convictions as diplomatically as possible. Address conflict as situation-related, rather than person-related. Apologize when you step on toes. You can't go too far wrong if you stick with the basics you learned in Kindergarten. (Not that those basics are easy to remember when you're in a hard-nosed business meeting!)
This sounds simplistic, but the qualities we admire most when we see them in people in leadership positions, those are the very traits we work so hard to engender in our children. If you always behave so that you would not mind your spouse, kids, or grandparents watching you, you're probably doing fine. Avoid raising your voice (surprisingly, it can be much more effective at getting attention when lower it!) using harsh or derogatory language toward anyone (present or absent), or interrupting. You may not get as much "airtime" in meetings at first, but what you do say will be much more effective because it carries the weight of credibility and respectability.
The following are guidelines and tips that we've found helpful for dealing with people in general, in work environments, and in social situations.
It's About People
Talk and visit with people. Don't differentiate by position or standing within the company. Secretaries and janitorial staff actually have tremendous power to help or hinder your career. Next time you need a document prepared or a conference room arranged for a presentation, watch how many people are involved with that process (you'll probably be surprised!) and make it a point to meet them and show your appreciation.
Make it a point to arrive ten or fifteen minutes early and visit with people that work near you. When you're visiting another site, linger over a cup of coffee and introduce yourself to people nearby. If you arrive early for a meeting, introduce yourself to the other participants. At social occasions, use the circumstances of the event itself as an icebreaker. After introducing yourself, ask how they know the host or how they like the crab dip. Talk a little about yourself- your hobbies, kids, or pets; just enough to get people to open up about theirs and get to know you as a person.
Keep notes on people. There are several "contact management" software applications that are designed for salespeople, but in business, nearly everyone is a salesperson in some capacity or another. They help you create a "people database" with names, addresses, phone numbers, birthdays, spouse and children's' names; whatever depth of information is appropriate for your situation.
It's a good idea to remember what you can about people; and to be thoughtful. Send cards or letters for birthdays or congratulations of promotions or other events, send flowers for engagements, weddings or in condolence for the death of a loved one or family member. People will remember your kindness, probably much longer than you will!