IHG Unveils New Brand, Upgrades to Existing Brands

LAS VEGAS—InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) held its annual IHG Americas Conference this week to reveal enhancements to some of the hospitality group’s existing brands and unveil the details of a new brand, one without a name or logo—for now.

Updates to the Holiday Inn Express brand include Express Start, a new breakfast bar, which includes the introduction of the new Rational SelfCookingCenter combination oven, allowing the brand to serve both fresh and meat products each morning. The brand has also forged a partnership with Cinnabon to offer an exclusive recipe as one of the signature items on the complimentary Express Start breakfast bar for U.S. hotels. With updated signage and design elements, the new Express Start breakfast bar will begin making its way into new hotels in the U.S. and Canada this summer and existing hotels in Q1 2018.

Enhancements are also being made to the Holiday Inn brand. A new fast-casual restaurant concept is available, featuring counter ordering, digital menus and food delivered to guests at their table. “We’re in pilot in two hotels today and already seeing really great results from guests and owners who’ve experienced the concept,” said Heather Balsley, SVP of Americas brands and marketing at IHG, during a press call. 

Launched as a brand standard in January 2017, Holiday Inn’s H4 room design is now in more than 20 hotels (some properties are under renovation). More than 100 hotels with the H4 room design are scheduled to open by the end of next year (2018). 

IHG unveiled design updates for its Staybridge Suites brand, mainly for guestrooms and public spaces. Inspired by nature and natural elements, the new design offers two new color palettes: teal or red. This design update will start rolling out to hotels this month and continue into 2018. The brand also revealed plans for a more comprehensive update to the interior design solutions over the next 18 months.

As for the hospitality group’s new brand, neither the name nor logo has been finalized; however, the new midscale brand will be at a price point about $10-15 less than IHG’s Holiday Inn Express brand. Guestrooms will be a mix of 220-sq.-ft. king (65%) and 275-sq.-ft. queen/queen (35%). These rooms will include a built-in workspace, open closet storage with luggage shelf, a shower and a smart TV. 

“This brand is deeply rooted in value because our guest is a very value-driven individual,” she said. 

Amenities will include public spaces, WiFi, complimentary breakfast and in-room entertainment options. Hotels will provide a market for F&B and personal items.

Key elements of the initial owner offer will include a target build cost between $85,000-90,000 per key (this excludes land costs); a 5% royalty fee; and the first 100 signed license agreements will be eligible for a 2% fee discount in year one and a 1% fee discount in year two.