HIE’s new prototype puts the focus on flexibility

The Holiday Inn Express breakfast area was redesigned to include different seating types, more TVs and an expanded food selection. HOLIDAY INN EXPRESSAtlanta – Holiday Inn Express’ new prototype for its U.S. and Canada hotels was designed with guests—and owners—in mind. The architecture streamlines back-of-house operations, centralizes public spaces and guest services and introduces new design concepts all over the hotel.

Picture: The Holiday Inn Express breakfast area was redesigned to include different seating types, more TVs and an expanded food selection.

InterContinental Hotels Group introduced the new-build design details in late March. The product underwent extensive testing among guests, owners and employees. Heather Balsley, SVP of the Americas for the Holiday Inn brand family, said the turnkey plans would be available by late second quarter of this year, and plans to convert existing Holiday Inn Express hotels to the new designs are forthcoming.

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From an architecture standpoint, the new-build plans call for two highlights that appealed particularly to owners: a streamlined “amenities corridor” and an interchangeable room type. While the great room lobby and breakfast areas remain the focal public spaces (check-in now will be done from pods instead of a traditional counter), the new design concentrates vending, guest laundry and fitness areas together and away from guestrooms to lessen noise. Housekeeping, kitchen and other back-of-house facilities are similarly concentrated to maximize efficiencies. Guestroom sizes now are interchangeable to accommodate either a double-queen or a single-king layout.

Guestroom casegoods are designed to allow guests to use areas for seating, storage or both. Open shelving and fewer drawers mean guests will be less likely to leave belongings behind, and outlets abound all over the room. The most notable change is a sliding barn door dividing the entrance and bathroom area from the bed and working area, to cut down on sleep interruptions.

The newly designed breakfast area is much more flexible, designed around various seating arrangements. The area can be closed off when breakfast isn’t being served, and a new multipurpose space off the breakfast area can convert to a meeting room.

“It’s a great time for new-builds in the select-service space,” said Joel Eisemann, CDO, The Americas. “We’re talking with owners who have PIPs coming about incorporating these new designs in."