InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG®) revealed plans to launch a new, high-quality midscale brand at its 2017 Americas Conference this week in Las Vegas.
The brand will champion the traveler who wants a hotel stay that meets their expectations for ‘the basics done exceptionally well’ at a price point of $10 – 15 less than its Holiday Inn Express brand.
Richard Solomons, chief executive officer, IHG, said: “This new brand builds on IHG’s leading position in the midscale segment alongside Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express. It addresses the needs of a rapidly growing and underserved segment and we believe it will shape the future of this unique midscale category. This launch will extend our track record of innovation and brand development, with a new offering that is right for our guests, our owners and our shareholders.”
The brand was created around with the objective of taking a new approach to designing everyday travel; appreciating the value of guests’ every hard-earned dollar and being direct, honest and clear.
The name, logo and other brand elements will be announced later this year.
Initial features of this brand include rooms designed for sound sleep with high quality mattresses and linens, reduced noise and intuitive in-room climate control.
Guest rooms will be a mix of 220ft2 king (65%) and 275 ft2 queen (35%), featuring a built-in work space, open closet storage with luggage shelf, a shower and a smart TV.
Hotels will feature public spaces with a mix of seating designed for travelers looking to spend 30-45 minutes in the lobby working, socialising or enjoying a complimentary breakfast.
Optional amenities include a pool and porte cochere based upon market dynamics.
A cloud based reservation system, mobile check-in and check-out and enhanced WiFi speed are some of the technology features of the new brand.
Rooms will also feature enhanced in-room entertainment options, allowing guests to cast content from their smart devices to in-room TVs.
Another aspect of the brand is a ‘fresh, no-nonsense breakfast’ with a select number of high-quality, brand-name options for grab and go or to eat in the lobby.
Hotels will also offer a market for F&B and personal items.
The brand provides owners with a simple, low-cost operating model, with an average lot size of 1.5 acres and 95-100 keys with three storeys in the prototype design.
Elie Maalouf, chief executive officer, IHG, Americas, continued: “These travelers will often spend hours researching hotels to find a great and affordable lodging experience in this segment. When they can’t find it, they compromise, accepting lower standards and an inconsistent experience to get the price they want. We will change that with this new brand by delivering a superior guest experience that doesn’t currently exist at this price point. It’s a game changer and a huge opportunity to build scale, strong brand awareness and great financial performance for our owners.”
IHG expects the brand to be franchise-ready in autumn 2017 with the first hotels beginning construction in early 2018 and opening in 2019. Initial development will be focused in the US market.
Once the brand is launched, key elements of the initial owner offer will include a target build cost between $85K – $90K/key (excluding land costs) and 5% royalty free.
The first 100 signed license agreements will be eligible for a 2% fee discount in year one and 1% fee discount in year two (2/1 royalty fee reduction).