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June 24, 1994 - Image 34

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1994-06-24

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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Company chairman drops by for opening
of Jerusalem Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza.

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s chairman of Holiday Inn
- which franchises over
1,800 hotels, with some
340,000 rooms worldwide
- he should know.
"We have been opening a new
hotel every day for the past 18
months, and we intend to contin-
ue expansion at that rate," Bruce
Langton said during a recent vis-
it to Israel for the official opening
of the Jerusalem Holiday Inn
Crowne Plaza, formerly the
Hilton.
Mr. Langton said the only se-
rious competition for Holiday
Inn worldwide comes from the
French Accor chain, which has ex-
pressed an interest in Israel and
which Mr. Langton describes
as the most aggressive in the
world.
Africa-Israel, which holds an
exclusive franchise agreement
with Holiday Inn for Israel, ac-
quired the Jerusalem hotel last
October and effected the
changeover without losing a.day
of business.
Africa-Israel and Holiday Inn
also own the Tel Aviv Holiday Inn
Crowne Plaza, the capital's for-
mer Diplomat Hotel, the Tiberias
Holiday Inn, the former Ganei
Hamat and the Eilat Holiday Inn,
a new property.
Mr. Langton said Israel is one
of the few countries in the world
in which a single company has an
exclusive concession.
Many international hotel

chains have been eyeing Israel as
a promising destination since the
signing of the agreement with the
PLO. But Mr. Langton said Hol-
iday Inn's interest and the deal
with Africa-Israel came before
that agreement.
Mr. Langton, who hails from
Lancashire, England, came to
Holiday Inn from Bass, the
British brewery that took over the
chain in 1990.

Holiday Inn has
the largest
marketing budget
in the world
$100 million
a year.

He said it will become increas-
ingly difficult for the local inde-
pendent hotel, or even the
relatively small chain, to compete
with the technology and market-
ing resources that the worldwide
chains can enlist.
"It's OK for the domestic mar-
ket and working well now, but the
cost of technology will be too much
for them," he said, noting that in
most of the world a one-touch tele-
phone call will secure instant
reservations in a hotel which is

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June 10 June 17
'17.00
'16.63
'18.25
'17.88
'25.19
'24.63
'28.13
'27.50
'26.00
'24.75
'2.25
'2.00
'12.50
'11.88
'16.88
'15.50
'8.63
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7.88
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Change
-s0.38
-$0.38
-$0.57
-$0.63

J0.25
J0.63

'0.00
'0.00

Source: Allen °lender, Prudential Securities,
West Bloomfield.

part of the chain anywhere in the
world.
"It's sad in a way because I'm
an old-fashioned hotelier," Mr.
Langdon said, referring to the in-
creasing dependence on technol-
ogy.
It is the same technology that
enables each hotel to determine
how many rooms are sold at what
rate at any particular time.
Mr. Langdon also said Holiday
Inn has the largest marketing
budget in the world - $100 mil-
lion a year. The smaller chains
just can't match that.
Despite his insistence on the
virtues of technology, Mr. Lang-
don said his worst nightmare
would be to have hotels run by
machine. A hotel, according to Mr.
Langton, should have a good lo-
cation and be clean, comfortable
and friendly.
He was full of praise for Africa-
Israel and Shlomo Grofman,
chairman of Africa-Israel Hotels
and Resorts Ltd. Holiday Inn nev-
er even considered doing business
with any other company in Israel,
he said.
During his trip to Israel, Mr.
Langton visited every hotel in
Eilat to keep in touch with the
competition. He said the steadily
increasing number of hotel rooms
could result in a buyer's market
there.
"If the number of rooms dou-
bles and the supply doesn't, some
of the hotels will suffer," he said.
He also expressed concern
about the character of the Red
Sea resort town: "I just hope you
don't turn it into a concrete jun-
gle."
Just as he said a resort can be
overbuilt, he also insisted a hotel
can become too luxurious.
As it happens, the chain's
newest venture is Holiday Inn Ex-
press - popularly priced hotels
without frills, intended primari-
ly for the domestic market. The
first such hotels are opening in
India.
"You have to be careful about
overproviding what the customer
can't afford," he said. "Hotels of-
ten make the mistake of adding
touches that cost money, but are
not what the guest wants or is
willing to pay for.
"Look at that light," he said,
pointing to a simple fixture in the
ceiling. "We could put a crystal
chandelier in there and you might
like it, but you wouldn't be will-
ing to pay extra for it. You have
to treat the guests at the level
they are prepared to pay for." El

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