Member Spotlight -
Hotel Indigo Costa Rica
(Latin America Region)
Our hotel has been associated with the Owners Association since 2009. We easily recognized the benefits of membership in the Association. We were new to the industry, and we welcomed all the help we could get to grow our business.
More Communications Focused On Latin America
Since we joined, I’ve noticed that the communications we receive are now much more often specific to our region’s concerns. Those communications are particularly helpful in making us more aware of what is happening at other properties. It’s the kind of information that helps us make faster decisions for our own property.
Committee Service: Common Challenges, Valuable Dialogue
Membership in the Owners Association is like any worthwhile endeavor: The more you put into it, the more you get out of it. Serving on committee has given me exposure to many more owners in my region. It’s given me the opportunity to learn much more, first-hand, about common challenges and issues owners face in Latin America.
More importantly, serving on a committee gives me the opportunity to help not only to my hotel, but other owners as well. A lot of issues come out during committee meetings, and we don’t always agree. But once we get past the disagreements, we’ve enjoyed open, friendly dialogue—and that’s been valuable for all of us.
Aligning All The Regions For The Common Good
I was lucky to be involved in several open discussions in Las Vegas last year. I think the Association is making a strong effort to involve owners from all regions in discussions about our brands, and our future. I feel that the joint Committees are moving in the right direction to align all the regions. When everybody is contributing ideas, it can only benefit the common good
Cause For Optimism
I understand that real change takes time, but I honestly sense a genuinely positive, collaborative atmosphere developing—and because of that I’m optimistic we’re going to start producing real solutions for our region’s goals and objectives.
Starboard Hotels Limited
I joined the Owners Association five years ago; having built our first Holiday Inn Express, it was clear that I could get more out of my membership than it costs to be a member. This has certainly been the case, and membership has been invaluable to my small company.
An Impartial Source Of Valuable Information
One of the main benefits of Owners Association membership is the ability to meet other owners and share experiences and information with them. My background is in property and not hotels so, as a member of the Owners Association, I learned a lot of impartial information about the brand, IHG and Holiday Inn Express operation from other owners that I could not have found elsewhere; like what other owners pay for goods and services from laundry services, utilities to tins of beans.
At the same time, it was a great comfort for us to compare trading experiences and to know how we perform against the estate, especially during these challenging times. Conversely, it’s encouraging to hear other owners report their successes during good times.
Thanks to the Owners Association, I have grown in my knowledge of our property portfolio—and in my knowledge of how the Holiday Inn Express brand works.
The Opportunity to Interact With Other Owners
I also enjoy the social side of my membership—in the opportunity to meet and interact with other owners face-to-face. I now represent other UK Holiday Inn Express owners as a member of the European IT Sub Committee, where I have the ability to help other hoteliers, and that’s important to me.
A Forum for Actively Engaging the Brand
Although we represent an international brand in Holiday Inn Express, we still feel like we’re very much part of a family. IHG gives their owners a say in how their franchises are run. Unlike a lot of other companies, who are very strict, and give owners no voice at all. No, we don’t always get our way. But at least we have a say, and we get to voice our opinions.
When I get together with other members, we routinely debate proposed brand standards and owners fees before they’re implemented. We meet three or four times a year—and those debates are always valuable. Membership in the Owners Association enables me to embrace the brand in a relationship—instead of just being a passive recipient of brand policies and plans.
Pride Management’s Liz Beneski recounts her 2011
Leadership Institute experience.
The main reason I wanted to attend for myself is: It’s so easy to get mired in day-to-day operations, you just don’t have the time to know everything you should know to be a better leader. I thought the course outline looked intriguing, and (having lived in Atlanta) I already knew about Emory University by reputation.
A Personal Goal
I wanted to learn how to communicate more effectively with my team. We’re short-staffed these days, everyone is pressed for time, and leadership decisions occasionally get steamrolled through the process.
When that happens, it’s tougher to create buy-in for our missions. In my case, I wasn’t always getting my “Achievers” on board with our plans—and as a result, we weren’t always achieving the desired results.
Valuable Lessons About Communication
What I learned is that, if you want to achieve group success, effective communication has to start at the individual level. Taking the Birkman 360 test had a big impact on me. It was a great reminder that you need to tailor your message and mission to each audience.
There is so much more individuality in today’s corporate culture, even compared to just 10 years ago. We have a new generation coming-up, and they communicate differently from my generation. There’s also more cultural diversity, and different people often hear the same message differently. It’s great that we’ve broken down a lot of cultural barriers, but that diversity can create communication barriers. Particularly for people like me, who’ve been in the corporate world for decades, and have ingrained communication habits.
Group Dynamics In Action
My Leadership Institute experience was particularly valuable in this one area, because the attendees in my class came from all walks of life. And we were all willing explore several really important issues together. We were so close, we even did things together after class.
What was especially interesting is how the teachers impacted each of us differently. They were all great teachers, but each teacher’s message resonated differently with each person in the group. Because of that, we were also able to learn from each other’s experience.
Long Term Benefits
Six months later, our entire group still keeps in touch. What’s more, I still routinely reference the course materials. For instance, if I feel myself going off course in any area, I use my binder for a course correction.
I’ve also used the follow-up Leadership Mirror survey to help me understand how others see me. It’s helped me understand how different people listen and learn. In the process, it’s made me a more effective communicator. Not only with my team, but with people outside our organization—everyone from businessmen and bankers to our investors.
A Message To Fellow Owners Association Members
One thing I would like to see is more Leadership Institute graduates promoting the program to fellow owners. Too many owners become members of the Owners Association just for the perks, and they don’t take advantage of the benefits.
If you’re an owner, I honestly think you’re obligated to take full advantage of those benefits. After all, this industry changes every day. And those of us who are longtime veterans, who’ve become accustomed to doing things the way they used to be done, can easily lose touch. The only way to succeed moving into the future is, you have to continually improve.