Having Fun with the Holiday Inn Express Brand Standards Manual

Posted on August 9, 2016 by in IHG Rewards Club

MightyTravels 2016-08-09 at 12.12.15 PM

We all are accustomed to brand standards – and frankly we love that they exist especially when headed to a new country i.e. Lagos, Nigeria.

I recently stumbled upon this Holiday Inn Express Brand Standards Manual that outlines what Holiday Inn Express franchisees have to do in order to comply.

Here are some examples:

Email Response Requirements:
1. At minimum, the hotel must respond to all email inquiries within two business days, except in cases when earlier response times are stipulated per standard or per IHG programs and promotions requirements.

When was the last time you did not get a reply from a Holiday Inn Express – I’m still waiting for emails from the Holiday Inn Express Jakarta Thamrin from two years ago.

“Experience” Product Hallmark Element: Brand Scent
The brand scent should be delivered throughout the primary entry into the building and throughout the registration area. Portable scent machines or HVAC delivered methods can be used. Where portable scent machines are used, they should be placed at the main hotel entrance and at the registration desk. The quantity of machines necessary will vary by lobby size and location of the registration desk; refer to the Holiday Inn Express® “Experience” Product Hallmarks Overview and Installation Guides to determine quantities.

Really? A brand scent?

MightyTravels 2016-08-09 at 12.17.23 PM

A big part of the manual covers the showers and the showers curtains. Those must have been major areas of concern (and smell!) in the past!

The level of detail for the pillow location is amazing!

MightyTravels 2016-08-09 at 12.19.15 PM

Hotels must display at the front desk at all times the Elite Priority Check-In signage that meets IHG specifications.
A member of hotel staff must manage/oversee this special area at all times and be available if a Gold or Platinum member requires check-in.

Hotel Room Upgrades for Platinum Members
Platinum members must be offered a complimentary upgrade as determined by the hotel, which might include rooms on higher floors, corner rooms, newly renovated room, or rooms with preferred view. The upgrade must be offered at time of check-in, based on availability, and will only apply to the member’s personal guest room. The hotel is not required to upgrade members to suites.

I have never been offered a room upgrade as an IHG Platinum, have you?

Guaranteed Room Availability
When contacting the Priority Club® Service Center directly and guaranteeing the reservation with a valid credit card, each Platinum member will be guaranteed one room for personal use, for reservations made at least 72 hours prior to the date of arrival, except during special events that result in extraordinary room demand, as determined solely by the hotel. Those special events must be set-up in the HOLIDEX® Plus system in advance. The member will not be charged more than the prevailing rate for the accommodation requested, and the member is not entitled to a rate less than the prevailing rate. Once made, Platinum Guarantees may not be dishonored for any reason. Platinum Guarantees do not apply to Reward Night reservations.

Little did I know that Platinum status entitles you to a room guarantee – but than I have never been walked by an Holiday Inn Express.

Reward Nights
All hotels must accept Reward Night reservations. Reward Night inventory equal to 5% of
the hotel’s guest room inventory will be allocated in the HOLIDEX® Plus system for both
HIRO and non-HIRO hotels. The recommended price point for the IVANI (Reward Night)
rate code is 5% off C1. All hotel benefits, excluding Upgrades for Platinum Members, must be honored for Priority Club® Rewards members in conjunction with their Reward Night stays.

5% of inventory is pretty solid! Now I wish we knew what C1 means.

All hotels must enroll a monthly minimum number of guests into Priority Club® Rewards. Enrollment minimums will be based on both IHG brand affiliation and hotel size and must be Qualified Enrollments. Monthly minimums are outlined in the Priority Club® Rewards Standards and Reference Guide found at https://www.ihgmerlin.com>Applications>PCR Standards.

Now we know why the IHG Rewards program is being advertised everywhere. The hotel has a minimum signup to fulfill.

MightyTravels 2016-08-09 at 12.26.12 PM

The minimum connection speed is ridiculously low – I understand that prices vary by country but in the US 100 Mbit consumer lines can be had for under $100 a month.

Bandwidth Management: A bandwidth management solution must be deployed with HSIA. The bandwidth management solution must be engineered to provide the highest priority to HTTP (Web surfing), POP3 (email), or any other network protocol as outlined in the IHG Technical Specifications for High-Speed Internet Access. Note: Bandwidth management capabilities may already be part of the Hotel’s current HSIA equipment. The Hotel’s ISP should be consulted.

While I had plenty of slow connections in a Holiday Inn Express it always seems a well managed slowness – unlike many Radisson stays.

The licensee is responsible for determining hotel room rates. Rates quoted and confirmed up to fifty (50) weeks in advance of the date of arrival are guaranteed to the guest and cannot be changed by the hotel.
Hotels must not charge for children 19 years and under who stay in the same room as their parent(s). If the family requests a rollaway bed, the hotel may charge for the roll-away but may not charge an extra person fee for the children.

I had plenty of IHG reservations cancelled because they were ‘too low’ – now I feel I have much more arguments. Once booked a reservation must be honored!

A $75.00 USD handling fee will be charged to the hotel for each violation of the IHG Best Price Guarantee.
Adherence to IHG Best Price Guarantee standard will be policed based on the terms set forth under the IHG Internet Distribution Standards: Enforcement.

The property is being charged $75 for each BRG violation (in addition to providing a free night).

MightyTravels 2016-08-09 at 12.33.34 PM

The housekeeping guidelines seem very strict and I’m not sure properties take this seriously.

There are many more interesting gambits in this document – give it a read.