IHG introduces avid hotels – a modern, midscale brand!

Midscale hotels in the US with an average price around $90 are a pretty miserable experience: You find a lot of old motels with exterior corridors that haven’t seen a renovation in decades, offered by budget chains and independent hotels that can’t meet even the most lenient brand standards. Now, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) is introducing their new midscale hotel brand, avid hotels, to provide a better choice in the market!

The midscale hotel segment is a big of the hotel pie in the US, with over $20 billion of spend a year. Hilton Hotels recognized that market and introduced their Tru brand to address that market and now IHG is introducing their solution, avid hotels! It’s targeting the midscale market with a price $10-15 below their largest brand, Holiday Inn Express (Average Daily Rate (ADR) $112). That put’s avid hotels into competition not only with Hilton’s Tru, but also Best Western’s new Glo brand and established chains like Quality Inn (Choice Hotels) and Ramada (Wyndham Hotels). 

Do differentiate itself in this segment, IHG wants to offer customers who focus on price and quality a modern, safe and reliable experience. The prototype hotel design shows three-story buildings with interior hallways, bright color accents and a modern, glass enclosed entry. That looks very similar to other new-built hotels in the segment, but certainly much nicer than the many old roadside motels:

You enter the hotel with a welcoming, open lobby with a breakfast and lounge area. The stylish seating and colorful design is similar to Hilton’s Tru and a welcome departure from the typical “beige” in US midscale hotels. 

Part of achieving the lower price point is by offering smaller rooms: King-size rooms are only 220sf – about 100sf less than at a Holiday Inn Express.

You’ll get the same modern colors, hard-surface floors, an open closet with (optional) safe and fridge) and a workspace (thankfully, unlike Tru!). Modular furniture should make design and maintenance easy. IHG also focuses on a sound sleep experience with extra sound-proofing for the rooms, something I certainly appreciate!

The bathrooms continue the modern look, have tile floors and are shower-only. They have enough space for towels and your toiletries and are probably the biggest step up from standard US fare in this price segment!

IHG promises a “focused, high quality breakfast” which will be complementary and include at least coffee, fresh fruit and pastries. Breakfasts at midscale hotels in the US are generally miserable and unhealthy – let’s hope this will be an improvement from very low standards!

IHG built their Holiday Inn Express brand into their largest, single brand with more than 2,000 properties worldwide and is planning to build avid hotels at a “massive scale”. They are signing new franchise owners now, expect to start construction early 2018 and open the first hotel in 2019.

Bottomline: I dread midscale hotels in the US, I like IHG’s Holiday Inn Express and look forward to the new avid hotels. They offer all the things I need for a basic stay – clean rooms, sound sleep, a strong shower and the feeling of safety! I can get by with the smaller rooms for solo-travel and without bell or concierge services. At a price point below $100, that sounds like a fair offer and I look forward to the first opening, so I can try it out!

 


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