Homewood Suites Ups the Ante

Innovation is the new mantra at Homewood Suites. Hilton's 190-plus-property extended-stay chain recently rolled out several new initiatives as part of its three-year-old Distinctly Homewood brand enhancement program:

  • In a first for the hotel industry, the brand will soon launch Suite Selection, a web-based tool that gives guests the ability to view a hotel's floor plan and select a suite based on personal preferences. The Suite Selection tool features floor plans, photos and descriptions of every room type in the brand's system.

    The service starts this quarter for Hilton HHonors Gold and Diamond members, followed in coming months for Silver members. By the end of the year, Hilton says the selection tool will be available for anyone with an HHonors profile. The company may eventually adapt the system for other brands in the portfolio.

  • Homewood will introduce a new associate training program next month that uses video iPods. Brand executives say they chose the technology because of its portability and ease of use. Each property in the system will receive two or thee iPods pre-loaded with training materials, plus cases, clips, lanyards and power adapters.

    The initial phase of the program, which starts next month, will focus on training for the brand's new food and beverage initiative.

  • Tweaks to the f&b program include new menu items for breakfast and the welcome reception and a changeover to 100-percent china, glassware and flatware. First phase of the program will be complete this month.

    The 200th Homewood Suites opens later this month in suburban Phoenix, and the first property in Mexico will debut in June. Other international properties are in Ontario and Quebec. There are 122 Homewood Suites in the development pipeline.

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