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The Country Inn and Suites Analysis

The Country Inn and Suites Analysis

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The Country Inn and Suites Analysis

Table of Contents

Company Profile. 3

General description. 3

Market Position and Business model 4

Ownership. 4

Marketing Analysis. 5

Target Markets and Market Segments. 5

Selling advantages and disadvantages. 5

Marketing Strategies. 6

Competitive Set Analysis. 6

Operations and Administration. 7

Guest Service and Computerization. 7

Financial Management 7

Revenue analysis. 7

Human Resource Management 8

Staffing Levels and Compensation. 8

Personal Assessment 8

Additional skills/knowledge. 9

Interviews with Managers/Networking. 10

Conclusion. 11

Company ProfileGeneral description

The location of the Country Inn and Suites was conveniently placed at 5420 Grand Avenue within the busy political Illinois state and at the heart of the Gurnee village. This establishment is privately owned and administered under a license agreement with Country Inn and Suites that was initially owned by Carlson Inc. The Country Inn takes up a relatively small land area with the three storied building about sixty-five guest rooms as the main feature. The establishment consists of eighteen regular king suites, thirty-two queen suites and eighteen junior suites. Other striking features of the hotel include saunas and hot tubs, gymnasiums, business hubs, laundry utilities, conference and dining rooms. The hotel offers all its guests a complimentary hot breakfast, wireless internet access and free parking slots. The location of the hotel is another advantage as it is situated in an accessible and close area.

Market Position and Business model

The Country Inn and Suites seeks to target the nuclear family and older member of the society as their main clients. The reason for this lies in the simplicity of their hotel setting, which makes it ideal for families having children, or for adults who seek a peaceful holiday or recess. The Carlson Companies, Inc. is a group of privately owned company in the hospitality sector. The group provides tour services using Carlson Wagonlit branch, hotel services through establishments such as The Country Inn and Suites and eatery services through Pick Up Stix and T.G.I. Friday’s branches. The T.G.I. Friday’s branches are by far the most extensive adding up to 900 chains over 60 countries (Andreescu, 2010).

Ownership

The Country Inn and Suites (Illinois) are a small branch of the larger mother company, the Carlson Companies. This is a privately owned global corporation in the hospitality and travel industries. Its official headquarters are situated in Minnesota. The mother company and its associated franchises give jobs to over 171,230 employees in more than 110 countries (Andreescu, 2010). By 2008, the company’s sales combine with the sales from all the braches totaled $37.965 billion. Currently, Carlson Companies is one of the largest family-owned companies in the US (Gardeen, 2012).

Marketing AnalysisTarget Markets and Market Segments

The Country Inn and Suites was designed to cater for the typical nuclear family, and this can be evidenced in the high number of positive family reviews. Most visitors to the hotel were families who complimented the establishment for having spacious rooms, allowances for pets and swimming pools to keep their children busy. The establishment also targeted couples who were able to afford high-end lifestyles. The reason for the couples’ suites was to cater to such clients.

Selling advantages and disadvantages

Some of the advantages that greatly boost the hotel’s reputation include the following. The Country Inn and Suites are located close to the important towns and other popular hotels and establishments. Its location between Milwaukee and Downtown Chicago makes it easily accessible to most of the people around the vicinity through road and air. It is also located near the Six Flags Great America and therefore, most of the tourists that visit this place end up staying at the Country Inn and Suites. The facilities are also modern, well serviced and adequate for all the guests at the hotel. The swimming pools, gymnasium and conference centers, are just some of the facilities that cater for a wide range of demands from the clients. The Country Inn and Suites also invested in the latest technology for all their premises including microwaves, wireless internet, high definition television, refrigerators and coffee makers. Lastly, the hotel offers free transport to clients within a 7-mile radius.

However, the Country Inn and Suites also has several disadvantages. One, the hotel has occupied a relatively small space. Therefore, it has a lesser number of rooms and can only host about 50 people at the maximum. There were also reviews by various clients concerning the maintenance of the electrical systems and furniture. Country Inn and Suites adopted a mid 1980s theme in their establishment that made some clients feel there was an element of neglect and insecurity. The acceptance of underage children and pets within the hotel was another disadvantage to their sales pitch. This is because these two groups are normally perceived to be chaotic, disorganized and troublesome.

Marketing Strategies

The Country Inn and Suites offer several revenue-generating programs that are expected to market he qualities of the hotel and boost internal sales. The Stay Night Automated Pricing innovation that was established to boost the hotel’s RevPAR was very successful as it handled the evaluation of client requirements and competitive conditions. The hotel also has customized revenue support system that was established under the Revenue Optimization Performance Enhancement Services (Andreescu, 2010).

Competitive Set Analysis

The main competitors of Country Inn and Suites within the hotel and restaurant industry include Red Roof Inn Chicago – Northbrook/Deerfield, Wyndham Glenview Suites, and Holiday Inn Express Chicago – Schaumburg, Jameson Suites Arlington Heights and Staybridge Suites Chicago – Lincolnshire.

Operations and AdministrationGuest Service and Computerization

Within the hotel, guests are considered a top priority and are attended to at the earliest opportunity. Some of the services offered exclusively to guests include free parking, non-smoking areas and heated swimming pools. The hotel also feeds and takes care of the clients’ pets for an added fee of $50. The Country Inn and Suites employed the services of RevenFlo’s Web Team to investigate the online presence of their rival companies. The results of these efforts were increased investment in the hotel’s online presence. The hotel also has an online booking system that is highly effective and contributes toward 40% of the overall bookings for the establishment (Gardeen, 2012). Currently, The Country Inn and Suites is a prominent hotel on different tourism and travel sites such as Orbitz, Travelocity and Expedia (Elliot, 2013).

Financial ManagementRevenue analysis

Since The Country Inn and Suites is a franchise of the Carlson Companies, the revenue is lumped together with the mother company. In 2012, the Carlson Companies reported a 12.95% increase from the year 2011 that reflected an upward trend of about $ 37 billion while the consolidated revenues made an 8% every year of its businesses to stabilize at $ 4.51 billion (Gardeen, 2012). Comments by the president and chief executive officer of Carlson Companies, Mr. Hubert Joly showed that the company had made immense progress toward achieving the Ambition 2015 objectives set in 2010 (Elliot, 2013). The company mainly focused on growth and strategic development in all of their three businesses. The three groups reported revenues as follows: Carlson Wagonlit Travel at $1.9 billion, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group at $7.0 billion and T.G.I. Friday’s at $2.6 billion (Gardeen, 2012).

Human Resource ManagementStaffing Levels and Compensation

The Country Inns & Suites has several categories of employees, eleven to be precise. These posts include the following: front desk agents and clerks, night audits, guest services representatives, general and hotel managers, a housekeeper and an advertising and promotions manager. The starting salaries for staff in the Country Inns and Suites (Illinois) are $1.146 that is awarded to the housekeeper. It is imperative to realize that the following employees are paid on an hourly rate: front desk agents and clerks, night audits, guest services representatives and the housekeeper. This rate is way below the regular accepted rate for paying housekeepers by the hour. According to Gardeen (2012), the minimum that a housekeeper should be paid should be between $7.5 and $9.5 per hour. Therefore, the Country Inns and Suites were underpaying their support staff.

Personal Assessment

In my personal opinion, my experience at the Country Inn and Suites was filled with more benefits than disadvantages. This are in which the hotel was located was very small and intimate environment. However, the management personnel and staff were very welcoming and hopeful. Conversely, some of the things that I did not like included the minimalist approach. I was hired as the Assistant General Manager at the Country Inn and Suites and I would have preferred to contribute more in that field. Owing to the small level of operation in the hotel, the main staffing technique led to a lot of duality and replication of tasks. Nevertheless, I must say I was very privileged to learn these various functions at the same time.

My main strength in the hotel and restaurant industry is the handling the technical aspects. I am well versed, with many years of experience in managing hotels, and I am fully computer literate. During this period, I have gain more self-confidence, and I have acquired some of the basic skills of solving problems that different guests present to the management. With about two more weeks to complete my three-month internship at the Country Inn and Suites, it is important for me to add that this has been a wonderful learning experience, and an amazing feeling of accomplishment, to know that I have had a first class experience in the field of hotel managing. It is truly a pleasure for me to have had this opportunity at the Country inn and Suites. I am also looking forward to working with the Country Inn and Suites staff in the future.

Additional skills/knowledge

Apart from the main role of assisting the hotel general manager, I managed to widen my knowledge and understanding of the hospitality industry. For over twenty years, I have been working in the hotel industry doing assorted tasks in all the different departments. I was still able to learn new things on a daily basis because of the high number of guests and diversification that the Country Inn and Suites had. During the internship period, I managed to complete my Diploma in Sales and this added to the skills that I had acquired. At the start, I had some doubts concerning sales, and that I would find it hard to fit into that department. With all my experience, I have had the least exposure in the sales departments.

However, my first three months in the sales department was very successful as I was selling catalogues, books and registering future clients with the company. I would have to say that every day was a learning experience as new skills and job knowledge are acquired daily. Even though I have been working in the hospitality industry for over twenty-one years, this internship gave me the opportunity to do a few things that I was not allowed to do in my past jobs. I have screened applicants and conducted interviews for new employees, responded to guest complaints, processed and completed payrolls for approximately thirty employees. These three main criteria were not a part of my past job experiences, as these tasks were only given to employees that are in management position.

Interviews with Managers/Networking

The following interview was conducted between an intern and the President and Chief Executive Officer of Carlson Restaurants, Mr. Nick Shepherd. Mr. Shepherd has worked at the global level for over 25 years in franchising, brand management, development and marketing. He has also successfully established his own service management consulting business and worked in other large companies such as Whitebread PLC, Grand Metropolitan PLC and Allied Lyons PLC.

Q: How Would You Describe Your Management Style?

My management style is highly decentralized. I have the notion that employees are skilled and capable of performing their allocated tasks. Therefore, giving them relevant jobs and support will result in increased productivity. However, in the rare event that slackness begins to show up, I immediately intervene and sort the situation.

Q: What Would You Do if You Had a Subordinate Doing Their Job Inefficiently?

I would summon them to my office and personally discuss their deteriorating performance and motivate them to be more productive.

Q: How Do You Measure Your Success as a Manager?

Personally, I set goals that must be achieved for each project that I undertake. There are also conventional methods of assessing my performance such as appraisal processes that are done annually. Using such tools, I can determine my level of success.

Q: How Do You Keep Staff Members Motivated?

I have established reward systems based on the individual employee productivity. These rewards include salary increases, increased leave periods, promotions and other gifts.

Q: How Do You Delegate Tasks?

Delegation is done by assessing the expertise of each staff and awarding them tasks based on how well they can perform. However, delegation is limited to the relevant departments.

Q: What is Your Biggest Management Weakness?

Conflict resolution has been a major problem for me. I have the weakness of siding with one of the afflicted parties instead of solving the problem impartially.

Interview No. #2

The following interview was conducted between an intern and the President and Chief Branding Officer of Carlson Restaurants, Mr. Gordon McKinnon.

Q: How Would You Describe Your Management Style?

My management style is highly decentralized. I have the notion that employees are skilled and capable of performing their allocated tasks. Therefore, giving them relevant jobs and support will result in increased productivity. However, in the rare event that slackness begins to show up, I immediately intervene and sort the situation.

Q: What Would You Do if You Had a Subordinate Doing Their Job Inefficiently?

I would summon them to my office and personally discuss their deteriorating performance and motivate them to be more productive.

Q: How Do You Measure Your Success as a Manager?

Personally, I set goals that must be achieved for each project that I undertake. There are also conventional methods of assessing my performance such as appraisal processes that are done annually. Using such tools, I can determine my level of success.

Q: How Do You Keep Staff Members Motivated?

I have established reward systems based on the individual employee productivity. These rewards include salary increases, increased leave periods, promotions and other gifts.

Q: How Do You Delegate Tasks?

Delegation is done by assessing the expertise of each staff and awarding them tasks based on how well they can perform. However, delegation is limited to the relevant departments.

Q: What is Your Biggest Management Weakness?

Conflict resolution has been a major problem for me. I have the weakness of siding with one of the afflicted parties instead of solving the problem impartially.

Conclusion

The Country Inn and Suites as well as the Carlson Companies management have come up with a set of projections aptly named Ambition 2015 that tackles three main issues. These are making all their brands including Country Inn and Suites (Illinois) be leading brands in their segments, shaping the image of Country Inn and Suites as a company worth investing in and lastly, make the hotel be the best in the industry. To achieve this, The Country Inn and Suites will focus on four main aspects: better brand positioning, hasten development, and fight revenue conflicts. Another minor objective is to develop an international team. The interview with the chief executive officer, Mr. Nick Shepherd was very influential in painting the picture on the technique used to manage staff at the Country Inn and Suites.

References

Andreescu, D. (2010). Measuring business performance: A systems approach. Saarbru?cken: Lap lambert Academic Publishing.

Elliot M. (2013).Carlson to add 77 hotels in 2013. Travel Daily Media. Retrieved from http://www.traveldailymedia.com/147876/carlson-to-add-77-hotels-in-2013

Gardeen B. (2012). Carlson reports strong revenue growth and strategic progress across its businesses in 2011. Carlson. Retrieved from http://www.carlson.com/cdc-cms/pdf/news/March%202012/Carlson%202011%20year-end%20release_03%2021%2012_final.pdf

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