You’ve got to resolve to evolve. That’s the mantra at Hilton Garden Inn as brand executives are reevaluating both how the hotels appeal to consumers as well as to its existing and future owners.
The average outsider may not know it, but the brand is going through a wholesale reinvention dubbed FLOURISH. And Adrian Kurre, Global Head, Hilton Garden Inn said there are no sacred cows here. No, the brand is not altering its DNA, but executives are taking a look at every customer and owner touch point – which HGI cleverly dubs trust points – and reevaluating what is truly needed and what’s just a waste of money and energy. How refreshing!
“The prioritization has to be a partnership with owners and we want them to understand we are focused on their profitability,” said Adrian Kurre, Global Head, Hilton Garden Inn, in an interview this morning with Hotel Interactive. “Every element of the hotel has to drive guest satisfaction, but not at the expense of the owner if they don’t make money off the transaction.”
This point of view is shaping everything Kurre thinks about on a daily basis as the Great Recession was like hitting a giant reset button on preconceived notions. Kurre and his team have been rethinking every process from top to bottom and giving themselves opportunity to jettison old policies that don’t make fiscal or customer sense any longer while implementing new brand standards Kurre said can be tied to a specific ROI.
“We are looking at every brand standard from a brand standpoint to analyze if it the right thing to do,” said Kurre.
Take back of house for example. Kurre said they eliminated in-room mouthwash, something guests were neither clamoring for nor made their decision to stay based upon. That’s $2,000 a year savings that go straight to the bottom line. They also created a night audit process for a paperless night audit, which saves about $6,000 in paper costs alone, plus it’s better for the environment. Kurre said its ideas like this – driven with input from the Owners Advisory Council – are helping owners profit more.
On the guest side Kurre said the brand’s newest initiative is coffee, and have made a deal with Keurig to install the machines in nearly all of its rooms. They’re also installed in the Pavilion Pantry shop in hotel lobbies.
“We wanted to give guests a good cup of coffee, or sell them premium coffee to brew in their room. This created a window of opportunity to drive in-room revenue with an in-room coffee program,” said Kurre, noting there is complementary tea and coffee in the room with premium brands being sold in the Pavilion Pantry. “There is potential here for revenue opportunity for something that was just a cash drain forever.”
Kurre also said that free coffee throughout the day is being eliminated as it was a cash drain on owners and customers did not like coffee that had been sitting around throughout the day. Now they can purchase a K-cup and brew their own, or enjoy what is supplied in their room. And since K-cups are so popular a guest can even bring their own from home.
Next up on the evolution campaign will be guestrooms and meeting rooms. Kurre wouldn’t share what is in store next but again stressed that whatever is decided will have a discernable ROI and thought process behind it. Gone are the days are making change for the sake of making change.
Many Hilton Garden Inns have already gone through a lobby refresh program to make them more sociable so people can hang out together or alone. Ideally though, they will purchase more food and drink. To that end there are expanded food and beverage choices relevant to local markets.
“We are evolving the mindset that comes to the lobby with [employees] that the better they serve their needs of guests, the better chance to drive revenues for hotels while putting tips into their pockets,” said Kurre noting that server will walk around the lobby and offer guests a cocktail and appetizer no matter where they are sitting.
Other key features of the lobby refresh initiative include:
- Open flow for more guest socialization and interaction, inviting guests to relax, linger and enjoy the Garden Pavilion
- Cabana draperies in the cupola area, as well as signature pendant lighting and lanterns evoking the spirit of a garden party
- Planters with live interior plants create a garden atmosphere
- Signature garden cart and garden table showcase the hotel's food & beverage offerings
- Communal breakfast and bar tables and signature seating serving as social and meeting spaces throughout the day
- Focal pieces above the fireplace featuring signature artwork exclusive to Hilton Garden Inn
“If we can get those simple promises right then business will generate itself as people start to come to lobby and get incredible service. Other guests see that activity and they want to be part of that too. The more it happens the more revenue is generated and the more opportunity workers have to drive revenue into their own pockets by delivering great service,” said Kurre.
Hilton Garden inn currently has more than 560 hotels in 18 countries with more to come. Like China which will see its first hotel days before the New Year.