InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG) is set to witness exponential growth in the India market. The group currently operates 39 properties in India and has another 39 in the pipeline. The majority of the upcoming properties will be from the Holiday Inn Family.
Speaking about the growth in India market, Sudeep Jain, VP, Development, InterContinental Hotel Group said, “In India, today we have 39 operating hotels. We have another 39 hotels in the pipeline. This is a good number for us, and with the signing pace, we will get to 100 soon. Our goal is to have 150 within the next two to three years. Holiday Inn family, which includes Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express, will be our predominant part of our strategy.
This is a brand family which is well known worldwide and recognised in India and caters to demand and needs of customers and owners. Out of around 5600 hotels we have globally, 3600-3700 are from the Holiday Inn family. There is an emphasis in this brand, off the 39 hotels that operate in India, 27 are Holiday Inn Express brand. This is a conscious strategy for us and has worked for us.”
Last year, the group acquired Regent Hotels and Resorts which are into the luxury space and recently it also acquired the Six Senses group. “We are waiting for the right opportunities in the luxury segment. Today, we have four brands in luxury: InterContinental, Regent, Kimpton, and Six senses. We would probably see two to three of those brands come to India. I see an opportunistic demand for the luxury segment in India; it is not classified as a huge demand. This segment will continue to grow, but the mid-tier segment will grow faster,” Jain said.
Last year, InterContinental Hotel Group introduced a conversion friendly brand, the ‘Voco’ that was opened in Australia and Dubai. “We recently introduced the conversion friendly brand called ‘Voco.’ Our research demonstrated that a lot of hotels are running without a brand and are of very good quality. These hotels are generally underleveraged as they may not have the scale to reach a lot of customers or do distribution like big companies.
There is an opportunity to provide them that service without changing a lot of guidelines. There could be a brand which is lifestyle oriented, and with us, they can become much more successful. This was the reason behind bringing the Voco brand. In India, a lot of the running properties are branded in the segment of upper upscale. The brand was introduced 10 months back; we just opened Voco in Dubai. We opened the first one in Australia on the Gold Coast, which is very successful. We are satisfied with the acceptance of the brand. We will also try and having conversations and will have a Voco in India as well. The first few Voco brand hotel will be in bigger cities or well-known resort destinations in India.”
In recent years, IHG has made considerable investments in developing world-class technological developments. The InterContinental Hotel Group boasts first of its kind new technology called the IHG Concerto, which is in its second phase of implementation. “One of the areas which are our USP and we are leading is technology. We have a cloud based system, Concerto, which will change the way people book. Phase I was that all our hotels worldwide would use this system which has happened. During phase II, we want to use the system to benefit the customers with customisation and choice and for owners to help in revenue management.
It uses a lot of knowledge and history to build more customisation. It provides attribute-based price and gives more meaningful choices. This is one arena where IHG has made a lot of investment. Phase two is on its way, we are pilot testing. We also have the IHG Connect. This is a way one can connect with the WiFi network, and people can access everything through mobile phones. We are getting this into all our hotels globally, and in the next couple of years, this will be rolled out. All of these are in implementations right now,” Jain informed.