InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) is all set to introduce a new brand in June 2018. The major focus for this new brand is to convert existing hotels in the same segment into an IHG branded hotel. The brand will be less stringent in the hardware side but will focus on soft segment.
Speaking about the new brand Rajit Sukumaran, Chief Development Officer, EMEAA, IHG said, “We are rolling out a new brand. This brand is more convergent friendly and we will be more focused on converting hotels. We will be rolling out this brand in June. This brand has huge potential in India, as if you look at this market the upscale and upper upscale segment has a lot of local unaffiliated hotels and this brand will have less stringent standards to convert. We will mainly be looking at Brownfield conversions.”
Last year, IHG signed 20 new deals in the India market, majorly driven by the Holiday Inn family brands. “We had a fantastic year globally. India was another exceptional year for us. The market has turned better over the last few years. In 2017, we recorded a comparable RevPar growth by 11.2 per cent Y-o-Y. From a growth perspective, we did 20 new deals totalling more than 3000 rooms. This is the largest number of deals ever done in India. The Holiday Inn Brand family globally accounts for over 80 per cent of our signings every year. We do see growth in other brands too. Even in India, the majority will be driven by the Holiday Inn family, i.e. the Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express,” Sukumaran added,
The group has signed a deal with Samhi group to expand its Holiday Inn Express brand. “The partnership is one of the reasons for the record number of signings. Last year, we signed a deal with Samhi Hotels for 14 hotels. Out of 14, 10 are existing and operating assets and three of the Brownfield projects are almost completed and one is Greenfield asset. Of 14, we will open eight hotels this year. This partnership will help us showcase in the Tier I key cities,” he added.
The company has in the recent year’s shows interest to expand in the luxury space. Recently the group acquired 51 per cent stakes in Regent Hotels & Resorts, the deal is set to be closed in June. With this acquisition, the group is also set to introduce a separate luxury team. “We want to have a bigger presence in luxury. The Regent Hotels acquisition is expected to close in June and we will now have three brands in luxury space, Intercontinental Hotels, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants and Regent Hotels & Resorts. Regent fills a space which was previously unoccupied as it comes in the upper end of luxury. It is rich in tradition and heritage and has a lot of recognition. By June, we will acquire 51 per cent and will be spearheading growth and operations. We will be setting up a focused luxury team to run this brand. Luxury has always resonated very well with the India market and this market has a huge potential to grow. Now with Regent being added we have more opportunity to grow, it’s important to have a presence in India.”
As per the long term strategy, the group is looking to open 150 hotels in the next 10 years in India. “In South West Asia itself, we have 32 hotels opened. We have 48 hotels in the pipeline which will open in the next five years in India. We are growing at quite a fast pace for the next five years. We are well on track to open 150 hotels in the next 10 years in India. The bulk of the growth will come from the Holiday Inn family. But we are getting good traction in the Crowne Plaza space; we are getting traction in the luxury space too. We have 12 Crowne Plaza hotels and another five in the pipeline,” he added.