Chain Focus: InterContinental Hotels Group

by Mahak Mannan | Published 5 months ago

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About the group

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) is a global organisation with a broad portfolio of hotel brands, including InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, Hotel Indigo, EVEN Hotels, HUALUXE Hotels and Resorts, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Holiday Inn Club Vacations, Holiday Inn Resort, avid hotels, Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites.

InterContinental Fujairah Resort

InterContinental Fujairah Resort

IHG franchises, leases, manages or owns more than 5,300 hotels and nearly 800,000 guest rooms in almost 100 countries, with nearly 1,700 hotels in its development pipeline. IHG also manages IHG Rewards Club, our global loyalty programme, which has more than 100 million enrolled members.

InterContinental Hotels Group PLC is the group’s holding company and is incorporated in Great Britain and registered in England and Wales. More than 375,000 people work across IHG’s hotels and corporate offices globally.

Current number of properties in the region (MEA)

  • 84 hotels (approx. 30,000 rooms) across nine countries in the Middle East region (GCC, Levant, and Egypt), across five brands:
    • InterContinental Hotels & Resorts
    • Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts
    • Holiday Inn Hotels & Resorts
    • Holiday Inn Express
    • Staybridge Suites
  • 20 hotels (over 4000 rooms) open across Africa (excluding Egypt)

Upcoming properties in the MENA region

The group is expected to grow by almost 25% (by number of rooms) over the next three to five years with the opening of 27 hotels (6,800 rooms) from the pipeline in the Middle East (GCC, Levant, and Egypt).

Holiday Inn Dubai Festival City

  • UAE’s largest Holiday Inn.
  • 510 keys, three restaurants, one rooftop bar, one crew lounge, four meeting rooms, and a conference centre with the capacity to seat 200 people.
  • Leisure facilities include a pool and fitness centre.
  • Located 10 minutes away from the Dubai International Airport and other city landmarks, tourist attractions
  • Direct access to Dubai Festival City’s shopping, entertainment, and dining facilities.

Holiday Inn Algiers 

  • Marks IHG’s debut in Algeria
  • The hotel is the tallest building in Algiers, offering a unique, panoramic view of the city.
  • Strategically located west of Algiers and is in close proximity to international business centres and embassies. Easy access to popular tourist spots such as Downtown, Hydra District, the Opera and Sidi Fredj Marina
  • Features a ‘wellness floor’ consisting of a fitness centre, an indoor pool, an outdoor pool, Hammam, sauna and a treatment & massage centre
  • The hotel also offers Holiday Inn brand’s signature Kids Stay and Eat Free programme, where kids under the age of 12 can stay and dine for free – making it an ideal choice for Algerian families visiting the hotel and international business visitors alike.

In the words of Bastien Blanc, VP, Operations, Middle East, IHG:

What were the hotel group’s key achievements and milestones in the past 12 months?

At IHG, we are embarking on several strategic growth initiatives designed to ensure we continue to grow strongly as well as having the best brands in the most attractive markets, and a first-class owner proposition.

Towards this, we have identified a number of strategic growth drivers, one of which is an increased focused on luxury. As we build momentum around our plans in the luxury space, we have recently agreed to acquire 51% interest in the Regent Hotels and Resorts brand.

Additionally, last year, we launched a new brand, avid Hotels that plays in the midscale space and opened our first Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants in Europe, as well as signed the first one in Asia.

In the Middle East, we had an exciting year, with opening of some of our brand defining hotels, such as the Crowne Plaza Muscat OCEC in Oman, Crowne Plaza Riyadh RDC Hotel & Convention in Saudi Arabia and InterContinental Fujairah Resort, our first resort in the UAE. Most recently, we have opened the biggest Holiday Inn hotel in the UAE – Holiday Inn Dubai Festival City, in collaboration with our long term partners, Al-Futtaim Group.

Bastien Blanc

Bastien Blanc

What have been the key challenges facing a) your hotel group b) the hospitality sector in general and how have you met these challenges?

The world around us is evolving at a fast pace changing the existing norms and conventions, and this is also being reflected in the hospitality industry. The new generation of consumers, including millennials and smart travellers are looking for distinctive brand offerings at varying price points. Understanding this, we are continuing to strengthen our existing brands, as well as adding new brands to our portfolio to match the market opportunities.

Another common challenges that the tourism and hospitality sector is confronted with today is the lack of a skilled workforce. To overcome this challenge and to increase the proportion of the employable workforce for the hospitality industry, we have a programme called the IHG Academy, which is a pioneering global collaboration between IHG and local education and community providers.

What are the hotel group’s key goals for the immediate future and why?

As mentioned above, we are embarking on several strategic growth initiatives designed to ensure we continue to grow strongly as well as having the best brands in the most attractive markets, and a first class owner proposition. Towards this, we are focusing on:

  • Strengthen our portfolio of existing brands; continued innovation to drive accelerated growth and augment portfolio with new brands to match identified opportunities
  • Structuring for scale and accelerated growth – the reorganisation of IHG around 3 main regions, with a clear focus on markets with strong development opportunities, both in franchised and managed business models
  • Growing Guest loyalty – continue to innovate IHG Rewards Club to further differentiate our offering and to leverage loyalty partnerships
  • Driving revenue through digital and technology, with the deployment of our new cloud-based Guest Reservation System (GRS)
  • Creating a more powerful owner offer including more franchised opportunities, opening up more brands to international development such as EVEN hotels and Kimpton Hotels & Resorts

How is technology dictating the way you run your business and liaise with customers (from bookings and social media to in-room technology)?

At IHG, we do our best to deliver great guest experiences at our hotels. As one of the largest international hotel companies in the world, we have the benefit of scale, which gives us the ability to develop world-class delivery systems, including technology.

Among our recent innovations is the industry’s first cloud-based Guest Reservation System (GRS) which remains on track for roll out, worldwide. The GRS will enable guests to build the kind of stay they want, and for us to offer stay options and amenities according to past booking preferences of the guests. The GRS will enable guests to search in ways they cannot today, for example looking up ocean view room in a particular location, with a price cap, for a hotel and theatre package where available, for a beachfront location, among other options. In addition, guests will be able to book directly specific rooms and select preferences, for example booking top floor, corner room, extra-large room, late check-out, lounge access, among other amenities. This will transform our ability to categorise, sell and revenue manage inventory.

 

 

 









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