Bruce McKenzie at the Holiday Inn launch
Bruce McKenzie at the Holiday Inn launch

Fresh from the world’s largest hotel rebranding program, Holiday Inn is making a play for the hearts of Australian travellers – and it has all the pillows it needs to make that happen.

One of the world’s most popular mid-market hotel brands was relaunched in Australasia at Holiday Inn Old Sydney in The Rocks last night (Sep 8).

The event showcased the results of the US$1 billion investment into upgrading more than 1,200 Holiday Inn hotels worldwide, unveiled plans for the arrival of Holiday Inn Express to the region, and introduced Australasia’s first Holiday Inn resort in Vanuatu.

New brand, service and quality standards are at the heart of the global refresh, in which every Holiday Inn hotel has had its public areas revamped, signage changed and rooms upgraded with new signature products – all for the single purpose of encouraging travellers to take a fresh look at Holiday Inn.

“The Holiday Inn brand is an international household name, but it has outgrown its legacy,” said Bruce McKenzie, chief operating officer Australasia for IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group), owner of the Holiday Inn brand and manager and franchisor of 22 Holiday Inn hotels across Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.

“By the time Holiday Inn celebrates its 60th birthday next year, it will have undergone an unprecedented evolution – and in the process, taken a giant step toward changing the way people think about the brand.”

Close to a quarter of a million Holiday Inn hotels rooms worldwide have been upgraded with more than 1.2 million signature pillows as well as new eco-friendly shower heads, higher quality amenities and consistent furnishings.

More than 36,000 Holiday Inn employees have undergone training in the new Holiday Inn service standards, and close to 3,350 hotel lobbies and facades have been upgraded with new signage and welcome experiences.

Speaking at the launch event, McKenzie said these changes have paved the way for Holiday Inn to transcend the typical ambivalence of customers toward mid-market hotel brands. 

“There’s no reason why Holiday Inn cannot command the same loyalty as an upscale or luxury hotel brand.  It’s a question of how the brand resonates with the consumer – and with these many changes, Holiday Inn is in better stead than ever to achieve that,” McKenzie said.

Coinciding with the brand’s relaunch is the introduction of the first Holiday Inn Resort in Australasia, Holiday Inn Vanuatu, which will officially open in October.  A multi-million dollar refurbishment of the resort previously operated as a Le Meridien hotel, has transformed the property into Vanuatu’s only internationally-branded resort – and a world-class Holiday Inn destination.

According to McKenzie, Holiday Inn is well-placed to capitalise on the need for more hotel accommodation in major centres in Australia and New Zealand.

“The biggest opportunities for growth in Australasia’s hotel sector are the mid-market and limited service categories.  Holiday Inn will continue to grow in this region, and we’re getting close to introducing the Holiday Inn Express brand to Australasia as well.  At this rate, we should see our first Express hotels in this region opening their doors in 2013.

“We’ll continue to make a significant contribution to the more than 100 million guest nights at Holiday Inn hotels worldwide each year, and to a global pipeline that currently sits at more than 750 new Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express hotels,” McKenzie said.