Where IHG’s SVP of Guest Products gets inspiration

Plus: Silent disco yoga at Ritz Carlton San Francisco

Hospitality Daily is a summary of stories for busy people who want to get better each day at providing hospitality.

Where IHG’s SVP of Guest Products gets inspiration

While IHG’s SVP of Guest Products Jolie Fleming monitors competitors and keeps up with the industry, the bulk of her inspiration comes from outside the hospitality industry, she shared in a recent session at Dreamforce.

“The bottom line is our guests really want frictionless digital interactions. So we need to seek that inspiration from a broad array of businesses.” 

Each market leader provides something different to learn from:

  • Amazon: convenience

  • Netflix: personalization

  • Tesla: innovation

  • Chick-fil-A: building a cult brand following

  • Etrade: displaying complicated information simply

“The bottom line is we want our guests to feel loyalty and an affinity to us. To do that, we need to not stop at getting inspiration from within the industry, but also borrow some of the best thinking from outside of our industry as well.”

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Silent disco yoga at Ritz Carlton San Francisco

In November 2020, Stephen Power took over as general manager at the Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco while it was still shuttered due to the pandemic. Temporarily living in the Presidential Suite, he got to know the hotel sans guests and started brainstorming new ideas for the April 2021 reopening. One of the first pivots was an embrace of leisure travelers, who were fueling travel's comeback.

Since the reopening, the leisure market has made up 95% of the Ritz-Carlton's business. "Because the guest mix has changed so much, the timing felt right to feature some unique programming," Power said.

"We have this wonderful private park that, pre-Covid, we would put a tent up and use for additional meetings space. We started doing morning coffee out there, and one day I realized it would be the perfect place for outside yoga." And thus, Silent Disco Yoga was born. Participants practice their downward dogs and warrior poses while wearing Bluetooth headphones all tuned into the same tracks.

The property further leaned into the leisure market with a Respite Concierge focused on rest and relaxation amid the hustle and bustle of downtown San Francisco."The impact of this pandemic on tourism, and the hotel business, in particular, cannot be overstated, but it also provides an opportunity to rethink old norms and reenergize our strategies," Power shared.

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