June 02, 2009 // Franchising.com // Atlanta - IHG's extended-stay hotel brands, Staybridge Suites® and Candlewood Suites® have taken major steps toward sustaining the ongoing health and success of their hotel portfolios through the launch of an in-depth education program for owners of both new and existing hotels.
The "Extended-Stay Owner Certification" program is set up similar to college education levels starting with a bachelor's degree in extended-stay, a master's degree and a Ph.D. Owners are eligible to earn the bachelor certification once they complete the course and meet or exceed specified performance thresholds. The course focuses on four key training modules: hiring the right team members, targeting the right guest, using the extended-stay operations model and working with the brands' field resources.
Despite challenging economic conditions, both Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites are already seeing success as a result of the program. Both gained market share against their direct competitors during first quarter of 2009, one year after the program was launched.
"It's not by coincidence that we're gaining market share at a time when we're taking owners through a program that focuses on the keys to running a successful extended-stay hotel," said Robert Radomski, vice president, Global Brand Management, Extended-Stay Brands, IHG. "Hotel performance is a key factor in securing and maintaining the degree and in advancing to the next level."
Mark Demple is vice president, Operations for Sugarland Enterprises, Inc., the company that owns the Candlewood Suites Sheridan, Wyo., which is the brand's very first property in the new prototype design. Demple is new to the extended-stay business model and believes they are running a more profitable business as a result of attending the IHG Extended-Stay Owner Certification class.
"It starts with the owner," said Demple. "After I attended the class I had a better understanding of the Candlewood Suites operations model and set forth a process to achieve higher profits."
For owners who already have extended-stay expertise, the class can serve as a refresher course.
"While we had a pretty good grasp of the extended-stay model from the beginning, the certification process reaffirmed our decision to have a dedicated Sales Manager and a strong General Manager, which is crucial when running a successful extended-stay operation." said Adrian Wewers, Partner and Asset Manager for North Candle, LLC the ownership group for the Candlewood Suites Charleston, S.C.
Staybridge Suites® is an innovative all-suite hotel brand designed to meet the needs of extended-stay guests with more than 150 properties open across the globe. It is ideal for travelers seeking a residential-style hotel that is perfect for business, relocation and vacations. Amenities include: three suite types (deluxe studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom/2 bath) with fully equipped kitchens, highly functional work areas, speaker phone with voicemail and direct dial access and free high-speed internet access. Staybridge Suites offers free "Wireless Anywhere", complimentary daily deluxe breakfast buffet and evening Sundowner reception three days a week, and 24-hour business services featuring complimentary PC work stations and free Internet access.
Candlewood Suites is focused on comfort, space and value. At more than 200 properties located throughout North America guests find spacious studio and one-bedroom suites each with their own fully equipped kitchen, large workspace, overstuffed recliner, VCR and/or DVD and CD player and complimentary high-speed internet access. The complimentary fitness center and guest laundry are open around the clock, and the Candlewood Cupboard® is open 24 hours for snacks, refreshments, entrées and other necessities on the honor system.
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) [LON:IHG, NYSE:IHG (ADRs)] is the world's largest hotel group by number of rooms. IHG owns, manages, leases or franchises, through various subsidiaries, over 4,200 hotels and more than 620,000 guest rooms in nearly 100 countries and territories around the world. The Group owns a portfolio of well recognized and respected hotel brands including InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts, Hotel Indigo®, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn® Hotels and Resorts, Holiday Inn Express®, Staybridge Suites® and Candlewood Suites®, and also manages the world's largest hotel loyalty program, Priority Club® Rewards with 43 million members worldwide.
IHG has nearly 1,700 hotels in its development pipeline, which will create around 140,000 jobs worldwide over the next few years.
InterContinental Hotels Group PLC is the Group's holding company and is incorporated in Great Britain and registered in England and Wales.