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Hilton Garden Inn Launches BIG DAY Breakfasts

The mid-market brand is looking to differentiate itself through healthy breakfast options.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008
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With the select service market jam packed with competition, it’s getting tougher and tougher for a brand to differentiate itself. Take the bed for example. While Westin’s Heavenly Bed helped that brand differentiate itself for awhile, it wasn’t long before seemingly every hotel brand in all price-points had a signature bed. It’s a pattern that has been repeating itself in other areas of the hotel, such as bathrooms and lobbies.

More recently, brands have been working to differentiate themselves from the competition through their breakfast offerings. It’s a strategy that’s been embraced industry-wide, but most especially in the mid-market category. What used to be just complimentary coffee and a Danish has turned into a full-tilt battle of one-upmanship. Now, hot items are de rigueur and it’s putting pressure on hotel brands to figure out creative ways to cut through the clutter.

The latest salvo comes from Hilton Garden Inn, which yesterday unveiled its “BIG DAY Breakfast.” Focusing on healthy foods to start the day right, the brand is extending its “Tomorrow’s a Big Day” advertising and marketing initiative to the mornings. The campaign directly targets the 60 percent of guests who stay while on business. The campaign focused on showing the various ways a Hilton Garden Inn hotel could support a guest in preparing for their big meeting or presentation, presumably taking place the next day. Visuals included business productivity tools, as well as the leisure component of a Hilton Garden Inn stay, such as someone relaxing in a hot tub or working out to alleviate stress.

The BIG DAY Breakfast is a way to continue that marketing campaign with a new twist: Getting the customer set to tackle the day with a smart and healthy breakfast. According to Jim Cone, vice president of marketing for the more than 380-unit mid-market hotel chain, eating well on the road is always a challenge and the new breakfast entrees will help guests “achieve while on the road.”

“These new breakfast items are all about supporting guests and getting them prepared for their ‘Big Day’,” said Cone, during a launch event yesterday. “Breakfast gives you the energy to accomplish what you need to accomplish. We are offering something unique here.”

The BIG DAY Breakfast will be available at all hotels starting on September 1, and will initially include three items created by former professional volleyball player and “Top Chef” star Chris Jacobson. “There are six or seven super foods in these breakfasts,” Jacobson said. “These are real foods, not some Danish or granola bar.”

According to Hilton Garden Inn (HGI), The BIG DAY Breakfast is loaded with ingredients rich in iron, fiber, omega-3 essential fatty acids, vitamins, antioxidants and other nutrients. Menu items include CJ’s Signature Waffle, a multi grain waffle with freshly-made blueberry thyme compote; Great Granola & Flax, a granola and flaxseed parfait with plain yogurt, fresh strawberries and honey; and The Hearty Hash, which is brisket hash with fresh kale, grilled whole grain bread and poached egg served with oven-roasted sweet potatoes. For vegetarians, tofu can be substituted for the brisket. Also, a “wrap” version will also be available as part of the menu for travelers on the go.

The new breakfast items are the first in a series of menu items to be announced this year. Hilton Garden Inn is focusing on a number of brand-wide partnerships and programs aimed at ensuring guests eat well on the road. Working with “Top Chef” star and former volleyball professional athlete, CJ, seemed a natural fit for the brand, given HGI’s longstanding sponsorship with the AVP (Association of Volleyball Professionals), USA Volleyball and its players.

For franchisees, Cone told Hotel Interactive® these were “easily executable recipes” that all contain easily accessible ingredients. And there are substitute options for markets where certain ingredients might not be readily available. Take Greek yogurt, for example, an ingredient in the Great Granola & Flax recipe. He said regular yogurt could be substituted. And instead of kale in the Hearty Hash, CJ noted that Swiss chard could be used instead.

“From the Great Granola & Flax to The Hearty Hash, the recipes I created with HGI are all about giving guests maximum energy and nutrition in a way that is new, flavorful and fun,” said CJ. “When designing the menu for HGI, I relied heavily on my own nutritional habits, both on the road and as a professional athlete.”
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