IHG teases out details about new unnamed midscale brand
IHG teases out details about new unnamed midscale brand
21 JUNE 2017 9:05 AM

InterContinental Hotels Group released some information about its new midscale brand to be named in a few months during its owners association conference.

LAS VEGAS—Executives at InterContinental Hotels Group shared a few details about its upcoming, yet-to-be-named midscale brand during the company’s owners association conference.

In a virtual news conference, Heather Balsley, SVP of Americas brands & marketing at IHG, said the company uncovered a large opportunity to meet the needs of mainstream travelers worth as much as $20 billion in industry revenue.

“This is a fresh new brand to meet the needs of guests who are not served today,” she said.

The brand, known internally as Project Horizon, will be aimed at “principled everyday travelers,” she said, a demographic group made up of value-driven travelers looking to find a middle ground between settling for lower standards for the desired price and paying more for higher quality along with other amenities they don’t need.

Company officials said the price point of the new brand will be $10 to $15 less than Holiday Inn Express.

“They’re looking for exceptional quality at a fair price: a clean room and a great sleep experience at a great value,” she said.

The guest experience itself will be differentiated in four key areas, Balsley said. Guests said they spend as much as four hours trying to find the right hotel, she said, so IHG is investing in ways to provide guests with the latest technology to make their booking process “unquestionably easy.” The new brand will also accommodate guests who said they would rather a hotel invest in a great bed, noise reduction and in-room climate control over other amenities and room size.

The brand will also offer a “no nonsense breakfast,” she said, offering high-quality, name-brand options for guests to grab and go or enjoy in the lobby. There will also be a market for food and beverages, she said. Lastly, the brand will build trust among guests who don’t feel they can trust the brands out there, she said, giving them a peace of mind wherever they go.

The hotel prototype sits on 1.5 acres of land, Balsley said, and comprises 95 to 100 keys. The brand will have two room types: a king room at 220 square feet; and a double-queen room at 275 square feet, she said.

The cost to develop will be $85,000 to $90,000 a key, she said, about 10% to 15% less than Holiday Inn Express. There will be a 5% royalty fee, she said.

The timeline puts the brand franchise ready in fall 2017 with construction starting on properties in early 2018 and the first opening in 2019, she said. IHG will develop the brand first in the United States before expanding from there, she said.

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