IHG to 300 Holiday Inns: put up or shut up

The message is clear: shape up or ship out.Up to 300 Holiday Inn hotels could be booted from the brand if their owners don’t get their respective acts together. Intercontinentals Hotel Group has told them they need to get on board with an enormous improvement plan by February 1, 2010.

Does 300 sound like a lot? It is. In fact, it’s 12% of the 3,300 hotels that fly the Holiday Inn flag. The holdouts haven’t begun to play ball with the brand’s requirements, which include new bedding, pillows and towels — not to mention modern music, a renovated lobby and green uplighting on the exterior. The total package is expected to cost around $1 billion.

Kevin Kowalski, brand chief for Holiday Inn, made clear how flexible the mother ship is willing to be: “We’re not changing the timing.” So, he told the owners of these 300 hotels, “If you have a quality problem, fix it.” Not doing so by the deadline will garner the hotel owners failure letters. Sound relatively harmless? Their banks will get them, too, which could trigger some hefty consequences.

[Photo by curioustraveller99 via Flickr]

Bouncing Brit babes help hotels launch free nights offer

InterContinental Hotels kicked off its biggest free nights promotion with a hell of a bounce. Around the world, the hotel chain invited people to bounce on oversized beds in an attempt to set a world record. In all, more than 20,000 bouncers bounced in Paris, New York, Shanghai and London for 16 hours.

The highlight for most was probably the presence of Olympic gymnasts at each of these locations, but it’s hard for anyone to compete with The Sun‘s famous “Page 3” models, who made an appearance at London’s Covent Garden for a bit of bouncing.

In New York, the crowed gathered in mid-town’s Bryant Park (which I walked by, but didn’t see any Page 3-caliber hotties).

Why all the fuss? InterContinental Hotels was just psyched to dish out 4,000 free room-nights at its hotels. Scoring with a Page 3 girl would have just been a bonus.

To see all the bed-jumping action in one place, click here.

Crowne Plaza Today Gurgaon nabs top hotel award

The Crowne Plaza Today, Gurgaon just picked the Best Luxury/Upscale Hotel of the Year Award at the Fifth Hotel Investment Conference for South Asia (HICSA). Winners were determined by a vote of registered HICSA delegates, and this was the first year the awards were held.

Tony South, Chief Development Officer for InterContinental Hotels Asia Pacific (which manages the property) was obviously thrilled, “It is an honour to receive this prestigious award. This is yet another feather in Crowne Plaza Today Gurgaon’s cap. With IHG hotel management, our business partners are assured of quality service delivery and brand standards to guests, especially important when establishing brands in new markets.”

On the other hand, here’s a look inside the “dirtiest hotel in America.”