InterContinental Hotels Group’s (IHG) wellness lifestyle brand Even is set to be launched in Australia and New Zealand following the signing of a partnership with Pro-invest Group that would see the brand’s debut for the first time outside the United States.
The deal was announced at this week’s HICAP Conference in Hong Kong and the partnership could see a significant portfolio established of Even Hotels, which provides a holistic wellness experience under one roof, across capital cities in Australia and New Zealand.
IHG says it has recognised that “health and wellness is one of the fastest growing industries in Australia, making it the perfect place to grow the brand”.
The company already has a significant relationship with Pro-invest, which is currently rolling-out a portfolio of Holiday Inn Express hotels across Australia. The first property opened at Sydney’s Macquarie Park earlier this year and four more are currently in the pipeline in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Newcastle.
Speaking exclusively to HM, IHG’s Chief Operating Officer for Australasia and Japan, Karin Sheppard, said it was “exciting for the Australasian region to be launching the brand for the first time outside the United States”.
“We are bringing the brand to a similar market [to the United States] and the opportunity to launch with Pro-invest Group us great,” she said.
“We are probably looking at 10-15 hotels in the first phase and we are actively looking for sites in capital cities as we speak.”
Following the success of IHG’s partnership with Pro-invest for the Holiday Inn Express brand in Australia, both parties have been exploring the launch of further IHG brands in the market according to IHG’s Chief Executive Officer for Asia Middle East and Africa, Jan Smits.
“The launch of the Even Hotels brand in Australia and New Zealand comes at a great time for IHG and is a strong fit to local consumer tastes and trends,” he said.
“We are continuing our expansion in bringing new brands to this market. We have established a strong hotel franchising model to provide owners and investors in Australia, such as Pro-invest, with a reliable and profitable alternative to our equally-successful management model.
“This is an exciting example of the growth and development of IHG, and a strong signal of our ambition,” Smits said.
IHG says the Even brand is designed to help travellers “eat well, rest easy, keep active and accomplish more, making it ideal to better serve wellness-minded travellers”.
Pro-invest Group’s CEO, Ronald Barrott, one of IHG’s long-term partners and who developed a portfolio of Holiday Inn Express properties in Europe in the 1990s and early 2000s with Stannifer Hotels, is excited about the latest partnership in Australia and New Zealand.
“We are seeing great growth in lifestyle services in Australia, both in health and wellness and exercise,” he said.
“This growth reflects the importance Australians, as well as those travelling to Australia, place on personal health and well-being, making it the perfect market and time to launch Even Hotels.
“We believe Australians will be excited to learn and experience the truly unique wellness offering of Even Hotels and support in growing this inspiring brand in the market,” Barrott said.
Launched in 2012, Even Hotels is now expanding rapidly with five hotels now open in New York City (two properties), Omaha (Nebraska), Rockville (Maryland) and Norwalk (Connecticut). The pipeline includes Manhattan, N.Y. (second location); Seattle, Washington; Miami, Florida; Eugene, Oregon; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Shenandoah, Texas.