July 17, 2012 // Franchising.com // ATLANTA – IHG’s extended stay brands, Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites, have raised the industry’s first and only extended stay owner certification program to a higher level through a new master’s certification. Designed to build upon what is learned in the bachelor’s class, the new program expands the content to teach owners how to continually improve the performance of their hotels. Topics for discussion in the program include the owner’s role in leading the sales effort, driving guest satisfaction and quality, and leadership and organizational performance.
“This proprietary program is an important part of our strategy to encourage owner involvement and commitment to the success of our brands,” said Robert Radomski, vice president, Global Brand Management, Extended Stay Brands, IHG. “For an owner to be profitable in the extended stay segment, there’s a very specific business model that’s required, and our new master’s level certification covers that business model from a deeper perspective.”
The curriculum for the master’s program is centered on fewer topics than what’s covered at the bachelor’s level, but these topics are covered from a deeper perspective. The goal is to help owners grow market share, improve guest satisfaction and gain a higher return on their investment.
A recent graduate of the program, David Wespiser is a managing member at Hotel Development Services, LLC, a privately held national real estate development, construction and management company with several IHG hotels in its portfolio, including five Staybridge Suites hotels. Wespiser is also a member of the IHG Owners Association, serving on the Staybridge Suites brand committee and the Developer committee.
“I feel like I can always learn more about how to be a good hotel owner, especially when it comes to the extended stay segment, and this program gives me the chance to analyze the performance of my hotels and earn a level of education that I can’t get anywhere else,” said Wespiser. “I’ve found what I’ve learned here to be very beneficial as I’ve worked with my management companies and discussed how to improve the performance of our hotels on an ongoing basis.”
Two master’s level classes have been held to date and sessions will continue as more owners qualify. To attend, owners must have previously attended a bachelor’s level class and must have a designated level of extended stay mix, guest satisfaction scores above a pre-determined threshold, and a designated RevPAR index.
In 2008, IHG took major steps toward sustaining the ongoing health and success of the Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites 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 structured similar to college education levels starting with a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree and a Ph.D. The bachelor’s-level class focuses on hiring the right team members, targeting the right guest, using the extended stay operations model and working with the brands’ field resources.
Staybridge Suites® is an innovative all-suite hotel brand designed to meet the needs of extended-stay guests. With more than 180 hotels open, 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/two-bath) with fully equipped kitchens, highly functional work areas, two-line speaker phone with voicemail, direct dial access and free local calls. Staybridge Suites offers free “Wireless Anywhere”, complimentary daily deluxe breakfast buffet and The Social evening reception three days a week. The Fitness Room, Business Center, Guest Laundry Room and The Pantry convenience store are open 24 hours a day.
Staybridge Suites entered the extended-stay market in December 1998 when its flagship location in Alpharetta, Ga., opened. Since that opening, the Staybridge Suites brand continues to grow rapidly with more than 180 open across the Americas, Europe and the Middle East. There are more than 80 Staybridge Suites in the pipeline, including nine outside of the Americas. For more information or to book a reservation, go to www.StaybridgeSuites.com or call 1-888-238-8000.
Candlewood Suites is focused on comfort, space and value. With more than 280 properties located throughout North America, guests find spacious studio and one-bedroom suites in the U.S. and Canada, each with its own fully equipped kitchen, executive desk, DVD player, recliner and telephone with voice mail plus free local calls. The Candlewood Gym and complimentary Guest Laundry are open around the clock, and guests can take advantage of the 24-hour Candlewood Cupboard®, where they will find snacks, refreshments, entrées and necessities available on the honor system. Additionally, guests can visit the free Lending Library, where movies and music are available for use in guestrooms, and the Gazebo Grill, with a gas grill and outdoor dining area for guest use. Candlewood Suites hotels offer guests all of this at a very comfortable price. For more information or to book a reservation, go to www.CandlewoodSuites.com or call 1-888-CANDLEWOOD.
Both Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites participate in Priority Club Rewards. With more than 65 million members, Priority Club® Rewards is the first, largest and fastest-growing guest loyalty program in the hotel industry. Enrollment in Priority Club Rewards is free. Guests can enroll by logging on at priorityclub.com, by calling 1-888-211-9874 or by inquiring at the front desk of any of IHG’s more than 4,500 hotels worldwide.
IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) [LON:IHG, NYSE:IHG (ADRs)] is a global organization with nine hotel brands including InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts, Hotel Indigo®, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn® Hotels and Resorts, Holiday Inn Express®, Staybridge Suites®, Candlewood Suites®, as well as our two newest brands, EVENTM Hotels and HUALUXETM Hotels & Resorts. IHG also manages Priority Club® Rewards, the world's first and largest hotel loyalty program with over 65 million members worldwide.
IHG franchises, leases, manages or owns over 4,500 hotels and more than 661,000 guest rooms in nearly 100 countries and territories. With more than 1,000 hotels in its development pipeline, IHG expects to recruit around 90,000 people into additional roles across its estate 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.
Visit www.ihg.com for hotel information and reservations and www.priorityclub.com for more on Priority Club Rewards. For our latest news, visit www.ihg.com/media, www.twitter.com/ihgplc, www.facebook.com/ihg or www.youtube.com/ihgplc.
Caroline Huston, IHG