InterContinental Hotels Group was overtaken in 2016 as the world's biggest hotel company by total room numbers, following the merger of rivals Marriott and Starwood. However, it remains a giant concern with almost 890,000 rooms by 3Q 2020, spread across almost 6,000 hotels, and almost 286,000 more hotel rooms in the pipeline from planned openings. Though it has operations in 100 countries, more than three-quarters of its hotels and almost two-thirds of its rooms are in the Americas. Like other global chain managers (such as McDonald's, for example), IHG runs a management system rather than a real estate operation. IHG itself now owns only 26 of its hotels, and directly manages around 965. All of the rest are independently owned, and most are also independently run, by franchisees who use the hotel brand names under long-term license. The group's principal brand is also one its smallest. InterContinental Hotels connects a chain of around 210 five-star "upper upscale" hotels in 60 countries, catering to business or wealthier leisure customers. In 2020, it was named as the World's Leading Hotel Brand for the 14th time in 16 years at the World Travel Awards. However, IHG's biggest brand is the extensive Holiday Inn family comprising more than 4,190 Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express and related "midscale" properties around the globe, accounting for just over half the group's gross revenues. Crowne Plaza was initiated in 1983 as a slightly more luxurious four-star spin-off from the main Holiday Inn chain, and now extends to 429 hotels, mostly in urban centres or resort destinations. Other brands include extended stay Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites. Newer additions include boutique Hotel Indigo, deluxe Chinese operator Hualuxe, budget brand Avid and upper-midscale Atwell Suites, which launched in 2020. The portfolio has also been swelled with acquisitions. In 2014, the group acquired urban US boutique operator Kimpton Hotels and is rolling out that brand globally. Regent Hotels was acquired in 2018, followed a year later by luxury chain Six Senses. Keith Barr succeeded Richard Solomons as CEO in 2017. Reportable revenues for 2019 were $2.1bn, on record gross systemwide revenues of $27.9bn. However, Covid-enforced worldwide closures have devastated performance during 2020, with bookings down by more than 50%. The company that is now IHG has undergone a series of transformations since the mid-1980s, when the British brewer Bass, founded in the 18th century, evolved into Six Continents, before adopting its current name in 2003. (See separate profile for history of Bass and Holiday Inn).
Capsule checked 10th February 2021
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Historical profile information for IHG
Adbrands Daily Update 13th Feb 2019: Consolidation continues in the global hospitality industry. InterContinental Hotels Group added another niche brand to its portfolio with a deal to acquire luxury operator Six Senses for around $300m. The group manages a collection of 16 high-end resorts in locations such as the Maldives, the Seychelles and Thailand. Six Senses has no properties of its own, but manages privately owned resorts on behalf of their owners. It was originally founded by the Indian businessman Sonu Shivdasani. He sold it to private equity in 2012 to concentrate on his separate Soneva luxury group.
Adbrands Weekly Update 18th Dec 2014: Hospitality giant InterContinental Hotels Group agreed to acquire smaller rival Kimpton Hotels, which manages around 60 urban boutique hotels across the US, for $430m. Kimpton will sit alongside IHG's existing boutique brands Indigo and Even, and is likely to retain its separate identity.
Adbrands Weekly Update 29th May 2014: InterContinental Hotels Group disclosed that it had rejected a $6bn approach by an unnamed American competitor, widely believed to be Starwood Hotels & Resorts.
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