Challenges and opportunities
Virgin Hotels is the new hospitality brand from the Virgin Group. The new venture aims to deliver a distinct hospitality experience in beautifully appointed hotels across North America, opening first in the landmark 27-story Dearborn Bank Building in Chicago.
Virgin Hotels asked Engine to assist with the brand proposition and translate it into the design of the guest experience. Engine worked with the Virgin team to create a range of opportunities which we defined in a suite of signature services. These were communicated through visual guest scenarios and tailored into a presentation for investors. Virgin Hotels’ story is ongoing, taking forward their unique proposition to build a new arm of the Virgin Group.
What we did
To establish the vision of the guest experience, Engine worked with the initial brand ideas to develop a point of view around the question: what does membership mean? The vision developed around the idea of community, not exclusivity. Engine and the executive team refined and developed this vision and how it could be translated into guests' experiences and a series of valuable and differentiating signature services for the hotel brand.
We explored the hospitality market and researched the needs and requirements of Virgin’s target audience, understanding their core capabilities, attitudes, and hospitality and social requirements. We used these insights to develop key personas and a vision for the new service experience, with a range of tactics to bring it to life, such as creating a sense of belonging through participation and local interactions.
Engine and the Virgin team used the tactics to create a range of service features and touchpoint ideas across each opportunity area in the customer journey. A key feature of the new experience was the use of technology to enable smoother and easier interactions in the hotels. Engine also developed a range of technological features to enable a number of the desired service experiences. This included an easy-access smartcard and online guest portal and networking space.
Each opportunity was then assessed against a proposition framework, which considers the strategy, tactics, technological enablers and the aesthetic and service personality to deliver it. The most appropriate and effective ideas were used to create a suite of distinct signature services. Engine then brought these to life through visualised guest scenarios and engaging communication materials, detailing each of the roles Virgin Hotels could play for their guests, from business support to providing forgotten or mislaid items.
Engine delivered all the guest needs, brand ideas and detailed descriptions of the signature services as a service package to brief delivery partners and investors in the venture. We produced visual and engaging descriptions of the final proposition: the brand story, the guest experience and how the new brand vision delivers unique experiences every step of the way. Virgin Hotels goes forward, aiming for their first opening in Chicago, USA.