Le Méridien Partners with LRA Worldwide to Achieve a More Consistent Global Brand Experience

September 20, 2006 (PRLEAP.COM) Travel News
LONDON, England/HORSHAM, Pennsylvania; September 20, 2006 – Le Méridien, the global hotel brand with a European-French heritage and more than 120 properties worldwide, has selected LRA Worldwide, Inc., to design and administer a program that ensures a consistent delivery of the Le Méridien brand on a global basis. A joint Le Méridien – LRA team developed the customized site inspection protocol and LRA consultants are currently rolling it out to the entire portfolio for the 3rd and 4th Quarter of 2006.

Le Méridien brand was acquired by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. in November of 2005. LRA has partnered with Starwood since 1999, and currently provides the brand assurance programs for W Hotels, Westin, Sheraton, Four Points by Sheraton and The Luxury Collection. Le Méridien is now the sixth Starwood brand to partner with LRA.

“LRA was a natural choice for Le Méridien,” explained Eva Ziegler, Senior Vice President of Le Méridien brand. “LRA’s extensive experience with Starwood and its industry-leading approach provide us with the confidence that the Le Méridien brand experience will be delivered consistently and flawlessly through our associates around the world.”

LRA is uniquely equipped to run the Starwood program, as its QA practice is but one part of its integrated Customer Experience Management consulting offering. With many clients, LRA bundles its quality assurance services with a standards review and writing process, the design and development of related training programs, and rigorous “voice of customer” and employee engagement research. In this way, LRA helps clients “operationalize the brand” – turn brand promise and customer strategy into operational reality.

“It is very gratifying that Le Méridien and Starwood have opted to expand our relationship,” said John Roberto, Executive Vice President of LRA and director of the firm’s Quality Assurance practice. “Starwood leadership recognizes that our services go well beyond a typical ‘mystery shop;’ our professional consultants are trained to focus on the brand, first and foremost, which aligns LRA’s capabilities nicely with Starwood’s corporate goals.”

In addition to the multiple engagements with Starwood, LRA provides customized quality assurance, brand compliance, inspection, audit and mystery shopping programs to a number of leading brands in lodging, hospitality, sports, entertainment and leisure, both internationally and domestically.

About Le Méridien:
Founded in Paris in 1972, Le Méridien epitomizes European service culture, with a commitment to offering guests a unique experience, respecting local culture and appealing to the curious and open-minded guest who appreciates the good things in life. Le Méridien has more than 120 properties in 52 different countries; almost 70 percent of the Le Méridien properties are located in Europe, Africa and the Middle East with an aggressive growth plan in North American and Asia-Pacific currently underway.

About LRA Worldwide, Inc:
LRA Worldwide, Inc., is a leading consulting, organizational development and research company that specializes in Customer Experience Management (CEM). LRA helps companies and brands design and deliver the optimal customer experience across all key touch points using an integrated suite of services that measure and improve service quality, customer satisfaction, employee performance, loyalty, customer advocacy and profitability. LRA specializes in “operationalizing the brand” – turning brand promise and customer strategy into operational reality. LRA’s tactical CEM practice areas include Customer Experience Strategy Design, Standards Development & Content Management, Organizational Development & Training, Customer and Employee Research and Quality Assurance & Mystery Shopping; these are either deployed together in a strategic manner to continually monitor and improve the customer experience or deployed individually to address a specific client tactical need.

LRA’s clients include some of the world’s leading companies and brands in the hospitality industry and beyond, including Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Hard Rock, the PGA TOUR, Albertsons Supermarkets, the NBA and MGM MIRAGE. For more information, visit the company’s Web site at www.LRAworldwide.com.

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