Golden Arch Hotel Case Study
Topics: Hotel / Pages: 6 (2111 words) / Published: Mar 10th, 2011

John Allert Aussie Rules - Sleeping with Ronald McDonald
By John Allert
February 25, 2002

Think of Switzerland and you're likely to think of private banks and beautiful scenery. Think a bit deeper and you might picture cowbells, cheese fondue and the inimitable Swiss Army Pocket Knife.

After a recent visit to Zurich, however, these cliched images of Switzerland have been forever shattered in my mind, and replaced with one succinct, memorable mnemonic.

No, not a red flag with a white cross – more a Golden Arch.

Golden Arch Hotels, as they are known (there are two), are a high stakes experiment in brand leverage. After lobbying by Urs Hammer, Head of McDonalds in Switzerland, McDonalds has made the brave move to exploit their core competence (no, not making hamburgers - delivering absolute product consistency) to develop a holistically branded hospitality offer.

Sitting incongruously in a lush green field, just minutes from Zurich's busy international airport, the prototype Golden Arch Hotel offers business travelers (read cheap-suited sales execs) a no-fuss, highly processed experience, replete with brand reinforcement at every turn. And yes, you can have fries with that.

From the 'McDrive' in the hotel car-park, to the show piece “restaurant” (read regular McDonalds outlet), to the licensed Golden Arch Lounge (where one can order McNuggets as bar nibbles) the hotel takes every opportunity to maximize your exposure to the brand.

The Golden Arch logo itself is a seemingly sacrilegious half form of the ubiquitous 'M' mark to which we are accustomed. This is duly represented in the car park fountain, shaped most precisely in the same 'h' shape, a symbol that is replicated throughout the hotel. Indeed, the arch logo finds its way onto most fittings and fixtures, from security smart-cards to luggage trolley handles and even bedroom furniture. Each bed is embellished with a red nylon sash (featuring the logo), and in case you

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