THE BREAKERS' CLASS ACT

Alegacy resort, The Breakers in Palm Beach, FL has cultivated an image of civility and luxury going back to 1896. At the same time, forward-thinking management has looked to develop new tools to attract a changing customer demographic that encompasses busy Baby Boomers and meeting goers to attention-challenged teens.

It was an ideal case study last fall for the students in Professor Jukka Laitamaki's New York University Tisch Center Strategy Formulation and Decision Making class, where real-life business problems are examined in the classroom.

John Bradway, The Breakers' director of innovation management, visited with the class and provided working practical insight into the resort's challenges and opportunities. The students were then charged with developing strategic solutions to address the issues based on the business principles called Blue Ocean Strategies.

“The students at NYU did an excellent job of learning about The Breakers,” reports Bradway, “and through research and creative thinking they arrived at many outstanding recommendations on how to improve specific customer experiences at the resort. Some went so far as to do outside benchmarking and in-depth research. Some even put focus groups together.

“The NYU students arrived at solid, realistic and innovative recommendations, many of which will be studied and implemented in the future.”

One of the recommendations already adopted relates to the often-untapped but potentially lucrative teen market. According to one student group's research, teens reported that one of the most liked things about hotel stays is roomservice, something most adults take for granted. While a roomservice menu might offer selections that appeal to adults and children, seldom are teens offered choices that appeal to their tastes. The Breakers has since implemented a special menu for teens.

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