Updated 2018: The Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG) is one of the largest hotel companies in the world, with 5,348 hotels in close to 100 countries, offering almost 800,000 rooms! Their Holiday Inn brand is the largest hotel brand in the world and the InterContinental brand is one of the oldest in the world! Find out all the details about the IHG brands, the price categories and where to find them below!
Regions: IHG has three quarters of their properties in the Americas, 15% in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and 10% in Asia and the Pacific. While that’s a strong focus on America, the share of Europe and Asia is growing and it’s still a higher percentage than the other big American chains, giving you a better chance of finding one of their hotels when you are traveling in those regions! In fact, that’s the reason I started to stay more with IHG – because my business travel took me to Europe and Asia and there were few Marriott, Hyatt or Hilton hotels!. The number and distribution of hotels worldwide gives IHG a distinct advantage over other chains for international travelers.
Brands: Similar to the other large hotel groups, InterContinental has a lot of different brands! But almost three quarters of all hotels fall into the Holiday Inn Express (49%) and Holiday Inn (24%) brands. These mid-scale brands are the number 1 and 3 among all hotel brands and very well known. The flagship InterContinental brand is one of the largest luxury brands in the world, with close to 200 properties around the world. IHG acquired Kimpton, a luxury boutique brand popular in the US and also has the upscale Hotel Indigo brand. IHG also has two extended stay brands, Staybridge Suites (236 hotels) and Candlewood Suites (362 hotels), as well as the first brand specifically designed for the Chinese market , Hualuxe!
Price: The majority of IHG hotels fall into the midscale segment (85%), a much higher share than Marriott or Hilton, who have a higher share of upscale hotels. It’s most similar to French chain Accor and positioned above budget hotel companies Choice and Wyndham! But it’s not quite as crystal clear – IHG reports their Average Daily Rate (ADR) by region, which highlights some of the problems of using the ADR to categorize hotels based on price alone: The InterContinental luxury brand has an ADR between $195 in Europe and only $137 in China – reflecting the very different hotel prices in different regions and even different cities within one region! The boutique Kimpton hotels are generally considered “upscale”, but are located mostly in high-priced US cities, resulting in an ADR of $231!
Crowne Plaza and Hotel Indigo are upscale, full-service hotels and Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express fall into the mid-scale market segment, together with the extended stay hotels.
So far, IHG had no representation in the budget segment, but they recently opened their first Avid hotel, positioned below Holiday Inn Express and the brand is expected to grow quickly. I expect to see numbers next year!
Things I noticed: When I pour over the financial statements, there are always a few facts that stand out:
In the neverending debate whether hotel companies have too many or too few brands, it is noticeable that IHG’s niche brands Even and Hualuxe are barely growing at all. Both were launched years ago and still have less than 10 properties each – a clear indication that they are not doing so well. It’s almost impossible for a large hotel company to successfully market a brand with so few properties!
IHG has recognized their small share of luxury properties and is adding to the segment with the acquisition of Regent and properties in the UK! They have also launched a new luxury soft brand, Voco!
The extended stay segment is frequently identified as the fasted growing segment in the industry, especially in the US. Yet IHG seems to be missing the boat. Their Candlewood Suites and Staywood Suites longstay brands only grew marginally faster than regular hotel brands!
IHG launched a big initiative to upgrade their Holiday Inn properties in Europe – which is about time! Many of them are old and outdated and a far cry from what you’ll find in Asia. It shows in their lagging ADR and it’ll be interesting to see if there is any visible improvement next year!
Bottomline: With their strong focus on their mid-scale Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express brands, IHG offers a lot of choice for the budget conscious traveler. And with 25% of their hotels in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, there are a lot of international options. For rewards enthusiasts, the wide distribution of the luxury InterContinental hotels provides good opportunities for aspirational reward stays for special occasions.
You can find all the details (based on the financial reports for 2017) for their regions, brands and price categories below: