Holiday Inn Express is a franchise company of 1,450 hotels, part of the InterContinental Hotels Group. Developing a curriculum to serve – and appeal to – a wide employee base with limited time and training budgets required an innovative, personalized solution.

Their Big Challenge

They had one shot at teaching and exciting tens of thousands of employees.

The Normal Presentation Deck or Immersive Experience? That’s a “No” Brainer.

At Holiday Inn Express, trainings were typically created for management and conducted in traditional classroom settings. Not anymore. Holiday Inn Express decided to reimagine training. Now, the company offers anywhere, anytime, self-paced electronic learning modules specifically designed for franchisees to share with employees. The 3D fully interactive, scenario-based trainings enable learners to immerse themselves in the learning environment. They can even go through the same module many times and always learn something new.

“Hotels were excited to have something available 24/7 to fit random times for training. Also, it was free, which was something new for them, and it was offered in Spanish, as well as English.”

— Hannah Kahn, brand manager for Holiday Inn Express

Getting There

Together Root and Holiday Inn created a completely new training program for the brand that included:

  1. Development of “Smart Service University” – the ultimate employee eLearning experience
  2. Executing all content development, design and, optimization against the vision of creating engaging, compelling, consistent training for all users at all times
  3. Promotional campaigns to build excitement for “Smart Service University” via email in a series of teasers leading up to launch at a franchise conference
  4. Rolled out “Smart Service University” to the field through an existing company Intranet

“This collaboration was really about producing the best product. We feel free to be open and innovative and work with each other to push boundaries. Being innovative is so important in today’s environment, because everything changes so fast and technology offers so many things.”
Hannah Kahn, brand manager for Holiday Inn Express


Also, guest surveys are being analyzed to see if customer service is reported as better in hotels whose employees are actually using the training.

“It’s still preliminary,” says Kahn. “But we do notice an upturn in improvement scores.”

4 million Intranet hits for training within the first year

Most visits lasted 40 minutes or longer

Disruptive Methods Applied

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