IHG has unveiled imminent plans to launch a new conversion brand for independent hoteliers, designed to appeal to high-value, frequent and affluent travellers who seek distinctive luxury and meaningful experiences.
Announced in IHG’s official 2021 half-year results, the as-yet-unnamed label will bridge the divide between upper-luxury and upper-upscale on the hierarchical IHG brand diagram, sitting below Regent and Six Senses, above Hotel Indigo and at the same level as its flagship brand, InterContinental Hotels and Resorts.
On the axis between traditional and lifestyle hotels, the new marque will sit slightly on the side of lifestyle but not as far as its luxury lifestyle brand, Kimpton, which will debut in Sydney later this year. The brand will be positioned as a luxury lifestyle conversion brand, slightly higher than IHG’s current conversion brand, voco Hotels.
The move follows introductions of similar conversion brands by some of the world’s other large hotel conglomerates, including Radisson Individuals, WorldHotels Crafted Collection by BWH Hotels Group and the Independent Collection by Event Hospitality.
IHG’s reaffirmed push into luxury lifestyle will add a new consideration to the booking decisions of young, luxury-hungry travellers. IHG says is continues to see great growth and potential in the lifestyle sector, having grown its presence in this space from two brands in 2014 to five currently and now, a sixth on the way.
For owners, the new brand will provide all of the hallmarks of being in the IHG Hotels and Resorts family, including access to the IHG Rewards loyalty program, global sales, revenue and distribution systems, digital prowess, limited capital outlay, strong focus on sustainability and retention of independent identity.
IHG’s half-year results overall pointed to a strong recovery in RevPAR, up 20% on the year prior but remaining well down on its pre-pandemic performance on 2019. The most significant improvement was seen in Greater China and the Americas, while Europe, Middle Ease, Asia-Pacific and Africa remained burdened by the pandemic.
The first half for IHG saw 132 new hotels and 17,400 new rooms opened across the portfolio, taking its global estate to 884,000 rooms. A further 203 new hotels and 32,600 rooms were signed for development, swelling the company’s pipeline to 1,805 hotels and 274,000 rooms.
IHG Chief Executive Officer, Keith Barr, said he was excited at the forthcoming launch of the new luxury and lifestyle brand which will provide further choice for guests and owners.
“The addition of a collection brand will provide high quality independent hotels access to the many benefits of IHG’s system, whilst retaining a property’s distinctive identity,” Barr said.
“There are currently around 1.5 million independently run rooms in the market segments we are targeting, and we expect the collection to attract more than 100 hotels within 10 years.”