Swan Creek to become privatized
July 1, 2013
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - On May 1, IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) and Lend Lease took over management, development and operations of Army Lodging under the Department of the Army's Privatization of Army Lodging (PAL) program. IHG and Lend Lease now operate on 39 Army installations, including APG's Swan Creek Inn.
Under the program, the Army gives ownership of the hotels to a subsidiary of the international property and infrastructure group Lend Lease and the Army retains ownership of the land. IHG operates the hotels under the Holiday Inn Express®, Staybridge Suites® and Candlewood Suites® brands. Over the next eight years, on-post hotels will be standardized, meaning customers can expect the same quality, service and hospitality that meet IHG's brand standards. After a 50-year lease, the buildings will revert to the Army.
"Guests will soon see improvements at Swan Creek Inn with amenities that are equal to what is found outside the gate," said Lend Lease Interim Director of Marketing Meryl Exley. "With the PAL program, Soldiers, their Families and all government travelers are able to stay at comfortable, convenient hotels with amenities and services tailored to meet their unique needs."
IHG is one the world's largest hotel companies and has a 60-year global track record of building and operating hospitality brands. IHG is the brander and the manager of employees that work for IHG Army Hotels. Eventually Swan Creek Inn will be branded into a Holiday Inn Express, during the initial development period which will occur over the next eight years.
IHG Vice President of Operations Arthur Holst said that there are several advantages to the PAL program. One advantage is that hotels are provided at a 25 percent discount to the government standard per diem, saving on lodging costs for those travelling on official government business.
Another advantage is that over one-third of what guests spend at IHG Army Hotels is reinvested back into the hotels to contribute to improving the quality of life for Soldiers and their Families. Another advantage is that guests can earn Priority Club® Rewards' points, soon to be renamed IHG® Rewards Club on July 1, that can be redeemed for free stays at any IHG hotels around the world.
Holst said that while 4,000 rooms cannot be renovated "overnight," there have been a few changes already. Currently IHG Army Hotels are going through "project deep clean" where all the carpets, drapes, tiles, will be thoroughly cleaned and the mattresses and linens will be replaced. Other changes include new training for employees to meet IHG standards, weekly barbeques, new breakfast items, on-post shuttle service, laundry facilities and free Wi-Fi.
In addition to new amenities, Lend Lease will be responsible for life safety upgrades, like replacing fire alarms and smoke detectors and upgrading the sprinkler systems.
Holst said that IHG also gives back to the Army by donating to Soldiers to Summits, a non-profit No Barriers USA program, that helps wounded service men and women learn mountaineering skills. IHG also gives funds to support local Fisher House programs located near IHG Army Hotels. IHG is also operates several IHG Academy Programs, which gives individuals a chance to learn about the hospitality industry and enhance their employment prospects through skills training.
Holst added that IHG Army Hotel's primary customer is Soldiers who are on TDY, or are waiting for permanent housing. Holst said that IHG Army Hotels are not listed on the main IHG website, www.ihg.com, and should not be considered "competition" for off post IHG hotels.
"[The PAL program] is a wonderful platform to expose Soldiers and their Families to IHG's offerings, standards, our branding of hotels and our loyalty program," Holst said. "This is a whole new audience to expose people to our brands."
About Swan Creek Inn
Swan Creek Inn operates 148 guest rooms in Bldg. 2207, on APG North. For more information or to make a reservation, call 410-278-4373, or visit www.ihg.com/armyhotels/hotels/us/en/reservation, or call 1-877-711-TEAM. Pets are welcome, with a small fee.