As we look ahead to what 2016 has in store for the Holiday Inn Express we cannot help but to be excited. 2015 was a great year for us as we were well represented within the company and the state bringing home several awards/recognition. Ken Kwiatkowski, maintenance engineer, was awarded the Operations Star of the Year by Michigan Lodging & Tourism Association for the entire state of Michigan. At our annual company party the Adrian Holiday Inn Express was awarded the Quality Award, Best GOP Margin growth and I won General Manager of the Year Award. We finished the year up 16% in profit versus our budget.
We are looking to carry that momentum into 2016 with some lofty goals for this year. With two months almost in the books we have started the year up 11% over budget with a very bullish forecast for the rest of the first quarter and first half of the year. We have some big projects planned for continued improvement at the hotel. On the heels of spending over $1M on our renovation in 2015 we have planned to spend another $100,000+ on capital improvements in 2016. It is great to work for company, Konover Hotel Corporation, that continues to invest locally in our community. Our big projects for 2016 include improvements to our elevator, upgrades to our wireless internet equipment, additions to our fitness center and replacement of all (71) queen size mattresses in our rooms. We are also excited that the company has rolled out a Day of Giving Back initiative, company wide. In 2015 the founder of the company, Simon Konover, passed away and this initiative is intended to celebrate his legacy. I will be sitting on the committee and will be looking for ways to get involved in our local community for my hotel and others.
As a Holiday Inn Express property we are also part of the global company, Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) with brands such as Crowne Plaza, Staybridge Suites, Candlewood Suites, Holiday Inn and Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts. IHG as a company is always looking to ways to improve the guest experience and they have some new standards and initiatives that will be rolling out in 2016. As announced at the owners conference in 2015, 2016 will be the year we re-focus on sleep. IHG has rolled out a Winning In Sleep Scorecard for all hotels, including ours. IHG has identified sleep as the leading driver of overall satisfaction. The perception of sleep quality plays a big role in the hotel selection process for travelers. Sleep has always been the core of our business and as an IHG property we have a vision for Winning in Sleep. Our capital plan will address this focus with the purchase of new beds. We will create the most comfortable, carefully designed and holistic sleep experience in the hospitality industry and certainly here in Adrian. We want to be known by guests as the place that values and sets the industry standard for a ‘great night’s sleep’.
Another area of focus for IHG in 2016 will be on improving some existing amenities at the hotel. IHG has released new standards for fitness center equipment to now include some free weights, and exercise bench, bosu ball, bands and an exercise mat. New standards on guest wireless internet have been rolled out as well, calling for increased bandwidth speeds, updated hardware and an increase of access points. We will be addressing both of these areas of focus with capital improvements. Although our current bandwidth speeds exceed 100 Mb we will be increasing our access points from 3 to 10 throughout the hotel.
2016 will be another exciting year for us, striving for improvements in all areas of our business. We believe that if we want to continue to be the premier hotel lodging option in the county we must continue to look for ways to improve the overall guest experience and deliver a profitable hotel to our owners. We look to live by words from Mahtma Ghandi.
‘A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so.’
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General Manager, Holiday Inn Express