For the second year, Holiday Inn is sponsoring a “happy hour” for its youngest guests. As described by Rebecca Indarte, brand head of Holiday Inn for the Americas, the program is strictly family friendly, in keeping with the brand’s long-held and prized reputation for catering to families with programs such as Kids Stay Free and Kids Eat Free.
To be clear, the refreshments—chocolate milk and cookies—will be provided by program partners fairlife Ultra-Filtered Milk and Otis Spunkmeyer, and kids of all ages—including parents or other adults in the hotel—are welcome to participate in this Chocolate Milk Happy Hour, which will be held at 20 different locations from the end of June through early August.
Indarte says the decision to bring back Chocolate Milk Happy Hour is part of its efforts to “delight and surprise” guests. “We found out last year, this is a great way to engage our summer travelers—especially our families with kids. It gives them another chance to relax and enjoy summer and make lasting memories.”
The program, she says, is designed both to get owners to know the guests they have better, but also reach out to potential guests who may not be familiar with the brand as it exists today. “We’re always trying to understand our customers better, to make sure we’re giving them what they need. Summer family travel has always been a strength of ours, but we also have new things we want to showcase. Events like Chocolate Milk Happy Hour give us a chance to thank guests for staying with us, but they also give us a chance to learn about them and tell them a little bit about what’s going on with our brand.”
While this program will normally be conducted at individual properties, it kicked off with considerable fanfare with an event last night at the Holiday Inn Brooklyn Downtown. Guests at the event were greeted by Chocolate Milk Happy Hour spokesperson, Vanessa Lachey—herself a mother of three. “Vanessa is relatable to guests we expect to see at a Holiday Inn—busy working parents who want to have great experiences when they take time away from their busy lives to spend leisure time with their kids; they want to create new memories, share small moments that will stay with them forever,” Indarte says.
The brand will also host Chocolate Milk Happy Hour pop-up events during outdoor movie nights, the first of which will be at Millennium Park in Chicago in late June. “For these, we will actually take the event out of the hotel. There will be a popup oversized guestroom where families can climb into bed together, take pictures, have fun, and enjoy the free milk and cookies. There will be a DJ and music, and, we hope, some dancing,” Indarte describes. “It’s a fun and new way to grab our guests’ attention and also put the brand out there.” But, she notes, it will also support owners. “They can see we’re promoting the brand at a very relevant time for our hotels—summer—and showcase some of our new initiatives, such as innovative restaurant offerings and our new contemporary guestroom and public space design.”
Indarte says the brand is able to help owners more successfully incorporate popular programs such as this with guidelines and signage that help them create an experience that is consistent, as well as fun and engaging.