Howard Johnson Initiatives Seek To Add Value, Boost Return
(Tuesday, May 24, 2005) - Howard Johnson International soon will introduce free training resources, high-speed Internet service and enhanced bathroom amenities, franchisees learned today at their brand conference here.
Howard Johnson International President Ken Greene said the initiatives are designed to "add guest value while boosting franchisees' return on investment."
Working in cooperation with the Educational Institute of the American Hotel and Lodging Association, the brand will introduce packaged training programs for hotel owners and employees through two resources, CyberCinema and CourseLine. The programs will be provided to Howard Johnson franchisees at no cost for the first year.
CourseLine features hospitality management courses, quizzes, a chat room for students and instructors. CyberCinema, designed for line-level staff, offers more than 100 videos on nine hospitality topics in 10 different languages.
Greene said Howard Johnson properties will be required to provide free high-speed Internet access, wired or wireless, in all guest rooms, and wireless service in the lobby, breakfast areas and meeting rooms by March 2006.
"High-speed Internet access is quickly becoming an expectation in every segment of the hospitality industry, and Howard Johnson guests are no exception," said Greene. "Because of the expectation created by high-speed computer connections at work or at home, guests are no longer satisfied with a dial-up connection."
Concurrently, Greene introduced a new bathroom amenity package that offers guests proprietary citrus-scented soap and shampoo products, effective Dec. 31.
He also reported on other recent initiatives, including the introduction of an enhanced breakfast program and employee uniform standard.
The Howard Johnson Rise and Dine® Breakfast program features nationally recognized products including Folgers® coffee, Kellogg's® cereals and Minute Maid® juice. The enhanced complimentary breakfast is designed to ensure a more consistent experience, he said.
Greene said the program was introduced on the basis of consumer research that showed a quality continental breakfast "improved value perception and was a minimum guest expectation."
In another move to achieve a more consistent product presentation, the Howard Johnson brand adopted a standard for staff uniforms to ensure a "consistent" and "professional image" at all properties, Greene said.
"Uniforms have proven to be a great motivational factor for employees," he said. "In addition, the positive impression a guest receives from the appearance of new, crisp uniforms goes a long way in establishing a professional image and making them feel comfortable."
The new programs aim to take "a step toward the consistent quality" needed to "protect brand integrity and improve return on investment for franchisees" while offering guests a flavor of the brand's "heritage and culture," Greene said.
Greene also reported on a key training initiative now under way, called the Strategic Training for Exceptional Performance, which covers a wide range of topics including yield management and how to provide a quality product and services. Classes are being held nationwide for the convenience of owners and their employees.
The program also offers professional certification from the Educational Institute of the American Hotel & Lodging Association.
Greene said the recently relaunched Howard Johnson Intranet portal, named MyPortal, is engineered to help franchisees "find exactly what they are looking for at the moment they need it." It also provides a mechanism for the brand to distribute time-sensitive announcements to the entire system.
Greene said the brand's 2005 conference theme, "Passion to Succeed," conveys the brand continued efforts "to reinvent itself in an effort to remain competitive."
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About Howard Johnson International Inc.
Howard Johnson International Inc. franchises 459 hotels in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Malta, Romania, Argentina, Columbia, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Dutch Antilles, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, Israel, Jordan, Oman, United Arab Emirates, China and India. For more information or to make a reservation at any Howard Johnson location, call toll-free in the United States (800) I-GO-HOJOï¿½ or visit the Web site at www.howardjohnson.com. Howard Johnson is a subsidiary of Cendant Corporation (NYSE:CD).
Cendant Hotel Group
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