Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts entered the world in 1983 as a brand extension of Holiday Inn for business travelers. InterContinental Hotels Group bought the chain in 1990, and since then, it has expanded with newbuilds and conversions from St. Petersburg to Shanghai. That’s why Crowne Plazas over there sometimes look and feel different than Crowne Plazas over here.
For example, the Crowne Plaza Liverpool John Lennon Airport Hotel is housed inside a 1930s Art Deco gem. The designer Hotel Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers operates solely on renewables. In January, Crowne Plaza Suites Tequendama Bogota opened with marble and wood suites running 580 sf and up. And looking ahead, Crowne Plaza Sanya Haitang Bay opens in China’s busiest and glitziest resort destination in 2014.
In an effort to corral the entire portfolio of 400+ hotels into one cohesive brand standard, Crowne Plaza just unveiled a new 3-step program. The phase one “Freshen Up” stage is especially focused on the Americas in 2012 and beyond. All hotels will be re-evaluated and improved, ranging from infrastructure upgrades to new management training. In 2013, IHG rolls out phase two: “Move Up.” This entails new city hotel and resort construction, along with new group services. The third “Shine” phase is the big coming out party with an all new brand look and messaging.
“Crowne Plaza is a brand for the ‘Striver,’ that’s our target customer,” says Janis Cannon, vp of global brand management. “A Striver is someone who is on a journey to success…. They’re optimists, they live life to the fullest, and they get things done.”
Cannon says that psychographic applies globally, with an emphasis on groups.
“Meetings have always been extremely important for Crowne Plaza since it was launched,” she says. “Our brand promise revolves around being ‘The Place to Meet.’ And part of that includes a guaranteed 2-hour RFP response…. That’s very fast, it’s very unique among others who play in the industry category, and it’s what meeting planners want.”