Sol Meliá, the 15th-largest hotel chain in the world and the leading Spanish hotel and resort company, has selected LRA Worldwide to assist with elements of its Strategic Plan presented to investors in Madrid last year. LRA, a pioneer in the consulting discipline of Customer Experience Management, is working with Sol Meliá on the “brand equity” pillar of the plan, helping the company further define each brand offering and how that offering is delivered at the property level.
Sol Meliá currently operates a variety of hotel and resort brands including Gran Meliá, Meliá, ME, Innside, Tryp, Sol and Paradisus, as well as its vacation ownership offering, Sol Meliá Vacation Club. As part of Sol Melia’s plan for “enhancing the value of the brands [and] repositioning the brands on a higher level,” LRA has facilitated “brand standards boot camps” for corporate and property-level representatives of each brand. The boot camps are designed to:
• Identify the core elements of the guest experience expected of a hotel of that service sector;
• Identify and define the “differentiators” that enhance the guest experience delivered by each Sol Melia brand;
• Craft the service and operational standards that enable each hotel to “operationalize” the desired brand experience.
“This is an extremely important initiative for our company,” explained André Gerondeau, Executive Vice President, Hotels for Sol Meliá. “Each of our brands has something unique and special to offer the guest; our ability to both articulate and deliver that distinct brand experience is crucial to our strategic plan. The LRA team brings a unique mix of skills to the project that will help us both creatively and operationally.”
“Sol Meliá is aware that current global economic conditions require an increased focus on value and quality,” said John Roberto, SVP of LRA Worldwide. “Brands that can better define the unique quality and value that they provide to the guest – and then deliver on that – will be well-positioned to thrive in these difficult times.”
LRA has worked on a variety of projects of this nature, helping them first define the elements of a branded customer experience and then translate that vision into a working, operational reality. Most engagements have been within the hospitality industry with companies such as Wyndham Worldwide, Choice Hotels International and Starwood Hotels & Resorts, but LRA has also worked with leaders in food service (ARAMARK Corporation), travel (NetJets), homebuilding (WCI Communities), entertainment (Live Nation) and sports (Churchill Downs Incorporated) on similar initiatives.
“The process is always equal parts art and science,” said Nancy Peel, Director of LRA’s Standards Development & Content Management practice. “For Sol Meliá, the riddle is how to cultivate and capture the style, flair and vision of each individual brand while ensuring that standards are in place to deliver on that brand vision at every hotel, for every associate, in every interaction, every day.”
The year-long project kicked off in March of 2008 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, with the first “boot camp” for Gran Meliá and was subsequently followed by sessions for each of the other brands. In 2009, the program will transition into a measurement and compliance phase, ensuring that the proper brand experience is being delivered consistently across the global portfolio.
About Sol Meliá
Founded in 1956 in Palma de Mallorca (Spain), Sol Meliá (solmelia.com) is the largest resort hotel chain in the world and market leader in Spain in both business and leisure travel. The company currently provides more than 300 hotels in 30 countries on four continents, and employs 35,000 people under its Gran Meliá, Meliá, ME, Innside, Tryp, Sol, Paradisus and Sol Meliá Vacation Club brands.
About LRA Worldwide, Inc.
LRA Worldwide (lraworldwide.com) is a leading research and consulting company in the emerging discipline of Customer Experience Management (CEM). We work with our clients to help them design and deliver consistently exceptional customer experiences in order to drive customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy, and company growth and profitability.
In LRA’s 25-year history, we have grown from a provider of customized quality assurance evaluation programs for the hospitality industry, to a leading CEM consulting company offering a variety of client solutions. The evolution has been driven by our clients asking us one question – "How do we get better?" In response, we have built a range of performance measurement, research, training and consulting solutions to help them do so. Today, we are a growing company operating in more than 120 countries throughout the world, helping clients such as Starwood Hotels & Resorts, the National Basketball Association, the PGA TOUR, InterContinental Hotels Group, Hyatt Hotels Corporation and Ritz-Carlton Clubs deliver exceptional customer experiences. Every touch. Every time.