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Strategy and Operating Model Design (Hospitality)

A client in the UK hospitality industry with a portfolio of offerings making it the largest company in its sector.

The Client

A client in the UK hospitality industry with a portfolio of offerings making it the largest company in its sector.

The Engagement

To fundamentally reshape the corporate vision, strategy and operating models throughout the group:

  • To work with the CEO and leadership team to define a new five-year vision, refresh company values and shape strategy to invigorate the group and revive investor confidence.

  • To cascade that vision, strategy and high-level plan into the organisation and co-design the detailed operating models of the future portfolio.

  • To create the communications and engagement messaging for all stakeholders that would ensure success.

The Complexity

After unfavourable ‘headwinds’ for several years, the client’s business was at last demonstrating a sustained turnaround in growth performance. However, it was becoming clear that the current operating model was no longer fit for the purpose of delivering shareholder value and an overhaul would be needed. Impending regulatory changes acted as a catalyst for change, and added a sense of urgency to the engagement.

Design and Delivery

Innovation Arts was asked to be particularly responsive in working to the tight time-frames required to deliver the new proposition in the light of new legislation, and to position interventions in line with key transformation milestones. We used a series of Sessions to explore and iterate the new vision, values, strategy and operating models:

1.A small initial Session with the CEO, who brought the senior leadership team together for the first time to share the thinking so far and define together the elements of a new five-year vision. After a deep dive into the different options and their impact on stakeholders, we then began to shape the strategy and operating model.

2. A subsequent session four weeks later to develop the initial thinking of the rich picture.

3. Two months after the initial session, and following the group’s initial announcement to the City, we ran a much larger Session with the next level of leaders and managers  to share the vision, values, strategy and top level plan, and work with them to identify the challenges ahead and create the operating model that would support that vision and strategy. We drew on their expertise with customers to develop a plan to keep external stakeholders informed and engaged with the changes ahead and to outline the specific ways in which they would now manage trigger events under the new operating models.

4. As the Group began to transition to the new Operating Model, ahead of revealing a rebranded portfolio to the City and customers, we ran a further series of four sessions to align the Leadership team on the Vision, Values and Names for both the Group and for each of the distinct Business Units, along with accompanying narratives to bring the values to life and illustrate how they would manifest themselves in reality.


  • A new strategy, articulated values and vision, which investors called ‘bold’, ‘innovative’, ‘dynamic,’ and ‘brave’ and which was also embraced by group leaders and managers.

  • Leadership and management alignment on the revitalised operating model, defined down to a granular level of detail, including responses to trigger events and clear stakeholder messaging.

  • Leadership aligned on the way the Group Vision and Values would be reflected and brought to life in a distinct but coherent way across the portfolio, where each Business Unit would be differentiated through its own branding and market positioning.


  • A rich picture clearly articulating the vision and the transformation process required to reach it, which acted as a working storyboard for the organisation and which evolved as new parts of the business were brought onboard to engage with the plan.

  • A series of narratives that illustrate for employees how the Group Values are brought to life via the specific behaviours and approach of each part of the portfolio.

  • Complete session archives, including a website containing session outputs, including the sequential thinking/emotional journey taken by participants, and the detailed conclusions.

What I valued was the flexible, innovative and challenging approach. Innovation Arts looked beyond our first articulation of what we thought we wanted to the undercurrents beneath in order to design the right sessions for the challenges we faced. They used tailored facilitation and playful approaches to take us under the skin of the issues. This resulted in aligned proposals for the Values that will underpin the new organisation.”
Simon Glucina, Change Program Director.


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