Walnut Creek Holiday Inn Undergoes $4M Rebranding

Walnut Creek Holiday Inn undergoes $4M rebranding and hotel renovation with AXIS Architecture + Design

Walnut Creek’s full-service Holiday Inn has been given a $4 million make-over and is being rebranded as a limited service Holiday Inn Express, aimed at repeat corporate customers and families seeking value.

The rebranding will allow the 161-room hotel, managed by Dallas-based Prism Hotels & Resorts, to position itself as a better value among Walnut Creek’s downtown full-service hotels.

“We are a mid-scale product in an upscale market,” said Ruben Barahona, director of sales and marketing for Holiday Inn Express. “The product was old and tired and this is an opportunity to refresh the entire hotel.”

The big changes for the hotel, which dates to 1989, include an upgraded look, improvements to guest rooms and the elimination of its restaurant and bar.

Instead, the Holiday Inn Express will feature a hot breakfast bar, open seven days a week, 365 days a year.

The price range is staying the same, $169 to $189 a night, although it will now include breakfast. Also included will be free parking and Internet service.

Hotel managers hope the price point and upgrades will make the difference in taking business from downtown Walnut Creek hotels, which have a price point of $229.

The remodel includes a fresher look: A new lobby with soaring ceilings and natural lights, wood and tone accents, contemporary rooms and a library. The shower heads, for instance, will have several settings.

“Simple things like the carpeting have changed,” said Barahona. “All the linens are white. They don’t have loud prints.”

The rebranding arrives as Holiday Inn is going through a major re-branding effort nationwide, with goals for properties to meet by the first quarter of 2010. Barahona said the hotel was working on meeting the requirement for upgrades, including a bathroom package of designated shampoos and conditioners, to qualify for the company’s new logo.

It’s also expected, given the changing economic conditions.

“I think what they call the ‘select service’ hotel is becoming more and more prevalent and popular,” said Allison Bocan Handy, with Prism Hotels & Resorts. “Even the corporate customers are looking twice now.”

Robert Mandelbaum, director of research information services with the hospitality industry advising firm PKF Consulting Inc. in Atlanta, noted that several mid-scale brands like Holiday Inn have many 20- to 30-year-old full-service hotel properties that are being converted to limited-service hotels. There’s less need for the three-meals-a-day hotel with meeting rooms for the local Kiwanis lunch, he added.

“Every year since 1997, the number of rooms (that are) mid-market with food and breakfast has declined,” Mandelbaum said.

A grand opening party for the renovated Holiday Inn Express is scheduled for Oct. 15 at the hotel, 2730 N. Main St. The hotel is owned by the global private equity fund The Carlyle Group.

View the original San Francisco Business Times article here.