I recently spoke with Francie Schulwolf, VP of corporate communications for the Americas at InterContinental Hotel Group about the internal communications efforts at the company, tied to its rebranding of the Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express brands. She stressed the importance of communicating on the employee level in order to instill “that sense of pride” that will then translate to good customer service and fully create a successful rebranding effort. Because Holiday Inn is largely franchised, getting franchise owners on the same page is equally important. Having a close relationship (the franchisee association is located in the IHG HQ) helps, and the consistent message that results is critical, said Schulwolf.
“We can't sit there and dictate on a lot of levels,” she said. “To have franchisees side by side and to be singing the same song you're singing, it goes light years. They're part of the evolution.”
Eric Pearson, CMO for the Americas division of InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), also spoke withBrandweek recently about, among other things, why now is a good time for the company to relaunch the Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express brands. He stressed that the company began doing its consumer research well before the recession hit, and highlighted the opportunities that are available to Holiday Inn (and its other ‘”mid-scale segment” brands) now that consumers are more budget-conscious. Moreover, he said that the company was spending more on marketing.
“This year alone… we increased our global sales team by 25%,” Pearson said.