Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Holiday Inn's Updated "Arrival Experience," With Music

Posted By on Wed, Jan 20, 2010 at 4:30 PM

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The made-in-Memphis Holiday Inn chain has been revamped, and the $1 billion in updates include a new logo, tinted lighting and a system-wide scent, according to this piece from the Houston Chronicle (scroll past the story about Krystal's loyalist — and former Memphian — Angela Sims-Quinty for the details). The Holiday Inn update also includes INNTunes, a pre-programmed system that pipes music into all 3,000 hotels worldwide.

Reading about INNTunes reminded me of the legacy of Holiday Inn Records, a vinyl label started by hotelier (and Holiday Inn founder) Kemmons Wilson, music producer Sam Phillips, and Holiday Inn sales manager D. Wayne Foster in 1961. Sure, INNTunes won't be releasing records by the likes of Charlie Feathers, Ironing Board Sam, and the Climates, but it's an intriguing idea nonetheless.

I caught up with Eric Nicolas, Director, Global Brand Management, Holiday Inn Brands, to ask him about the INNTunes program:

Flyer: What is the criteria for picking songs?

Nicolas: The music program at Holiday Inn was designed and developed by a company called Rock River. The sound strategy is to create a "Holiday Inn sound" that enhances the on-property experience and strengthens the emotional connection with the brand by leveraging external resources who bring deep knowledge of and experience with music and the proven ability to balance the three key brand factors in the effective selection of on-brand music: Brand Personality Traits, Target Demographic and Target Need State.

How frequently do the songs cycle?

Each hotel has a library containing 4,000 songs, which is updated every month and adds approximately 400 songs every month. With this volume, a song won't be repeated for at least 10 days.

Do you do theme programming?

We do have a holiday music channel that is available to the hotels as an option. Currently, our hotels located in EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) have a larger mix of regionalized music due to hotels which are located in several different countries who have different cultures and speak different languages. For the Americas region (North America, Latin America and Mexico), hotels in Mexico and Latin America do have the choice to play more regionalized selections, but they have opted to use the core program that is used in the U.S. and Canada. We are currently working on regionalized programs for different areas of the Americas region (i.e. U.S. and Canada) as additional options for our hotels.

Which medium do you use to distribute the music?

The hotels receive music library updates once a month via the internet. Once the music has been downloaded, it plays from the InnTunes player through an existing sound system.

In which portions of the hotel do guests hear the music?

The InnTunes is required in the lobby and in the exterior at the primary entrance. Hotels do have the option of playing in other areas of the hotel, but they are not required to do so.

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