Holiday Inn Designs Dynamic Social Section

There are over 1,200 Holiday Inn hotels worldwide. It’s a trusted brand, one that manages to balance reliable business amenities with reasonable rates. While this combination is certainly popular amongst its clientele, let’s face it, the Holiday Inn brand is not very sexy, even if it is known as “America’s Favorite Hotel.” So, you might find it interesting that, as part of an overhaul of its hotels, a rather innovative new concept space, called “The Hub,” was introduced.

This year, the Holiday Inn St. Petersburg/Clearwater International Airport introduced the 24-hour gathering space guests are calling “The Atrium.” This frequent area combines the communal spirit of an informal meeting space with perks such as a lobby sports bar and restaurant, “Aviator’s” — complete with big screens, pool table, darts and signature cocktails — free Wifi and Chef offerings until later in the evening.

The Atrium is a 2,000-square-foot space with high ceilings and skylights that integrates social, dining and working environments. It’s built with the intention of getting guests out of their rooms. And the interior is not what you’d expect. Imagine an urban-oriental theme colliding with art deco couches and moveable tables and seating: It’s modern, clean and spacious.

Guests can watch the news on the plasma TV that hangs on the breakfast seating area, or they can be productive in the “Bamboo Room,” a designated round table seating 8 persons within a secluded bamboo half wall. Lose tables and chairs within the Atrium provide ample workspace and business center amenities. We can only hope this means that gone are the days of closet-sized business centers located on empty hotel room floors.

In Social Media, The Holiday Inn St. Petersburg/Clearwater International Airport (“PIE” airport code) has its own Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/HolidayInnPIE) and Aviator’s Sports Pub with their own (http://www.facebook.com/AviatorsSportsPub) While exploring the hotel’s photo gallery on Facebook, guests can post their own travel stories and contribute to the conversation. Contests, games and other interactive feeds will be posted in 2012.

Kemmons Wilson, Jr. was one of the first people in the company tapped to contribute a story online. He’s the President and Chairman of the Board of the Wilson Hotel Management Company and son of Holiday Inn founder Kemmons Wilson. “From the first personal connections made at check-in to its online communications, it’s clear the Holiday Inn brand understands that listening to guests’ stories drives innovation and service,” he said.

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