Crowne Plaza as a hotel brand has a guest image problem.
IHG executives cited 9,000 deficiencies in the Crowne Plaza brand in their plan to reimage the brand within the upscale market segment. Crowne Plaza has about 390 hotels. In the first half of 2012 Crowne Plaza shed 16 hotels and plans to remove another 25 hotels from the brand in the next 24 to 36 months. Another 50 Crowne Plaza hotels are in the pipeline to open in the next couple of years.
I have stayed in a few Crowne Plaza hotels in the past two years in cities like Chicago, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco (airport) and a couple of others. The rooms were all nicely furnished with all the amenities I needed. The one attribute I would characterize as common to all these Crowne Plaza hotels where I stayed is the lack of character. They all had nice upscale lobbies, but there was no real common identity to these hotels aside from them seeming very business oriented facilities.
Crowne Plaza brand with a plan
So what kind of deficiencies are there at Crowne Plaza hotels and what are the reimaging solutions?
- Add self check-in kiosks in lobby.
- Provide a lobby host position as key contact for guests.
This kind of sounds like the airport model to me. Let guests fend for themselves until an issue arises where the guest needs help. Kiosks are nice for the frequent traveler who does not need to wait for the receptionist. I kind of prefer the human contact of the desk. Seems to me this is another way to reduce staffing for the hotel owners.
Food and Beverage: provide a 15-minute guarantee for food orders and provide fresh food for guests. Unclear if this is really a planned improvement or primarily a deficiency statement in the context of the article.
- One click printing
- international plugs for U.S. travelers at international hotels
The lack of plug adapters and currency converters at a hotel when staying out of the U.S. is an issue I used to find a decade ago when I forgot to pack my own. Often the hotel had adapters left behind by other guests and other times this was something that took hours of searching electronics stores in London and Melbourne to solve. Airport stores carry all this stuff these days, but generally I realize I forgot a plug adapter only after I reach the hotel.
Fitness Centers: Use the lobby for fresh fruit, towels and water to avoid the need of locating a larger fitness center space. Keep some portable exercise equipment on site for guest room rental use.
STR Global and STR US chain scale segmenting places Crown Plaza in the upscale market segment. Brands like Hilton Garden Inn, Hyatt Place, Four Points and Courtyard are in this market segment. Personally I have always thought of Crowne Plaza as more of an upper upscale hotel brand, but apparently I have not been staying in the typical Crowne Plaza.
Source: IHG means business with Crowne Plaza refresh – hotelnewsnow.com Oct 29, 2012
The Hamilton Crowne Plaza, Washington D.C. – I recall the wifi here was unbearably slow and I had a difficult time blogging from the room.
Rooftop pool at Avenue Crowne Plaza Chicago has great views.
Ric Garrido, writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler, shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. You can follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.