Will Kimpton be able to retain its boutique brand DNA within InterContinental Hotels Group? CEO Mike DeFrino is trying to reassure the masses that it will but Kimpton and IHG are moving slower than a stuck elevator to provide some proof.
You can bet that Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants’ Karma rewards program members are getting restless six months after the InterContinental Hotels Group agreed to acquire Kimpton for $430 million in cash.
To mark the six-month anniversary of the announcement, Kimpton CEO Mike DeFrino wrote an email to customers assuring them that loyalty is “a top focus” of the integration efforts.
“We think we have a pretty compelling opportunity with the IHG Rewards Club and continue to explore how to best bring these two programs together — keeping Kimpton Karma as unique as it is and also giving you the ability to tap into the rich IHG Rewards Club perks,” DeFrino wrote.
There have no big changes to the Kimpton Karma rewards program yet. Kimpton runs the program separately from IHG Rewards Club and Karma rewards status levels are not recognized by any of IHG’s dozen other brands.
DeFrino states that Karma will “remain as a unique IHG Rewards Club program extension.” He adds that the redefined program would enable Karma members to “tap into the rich IHG Rewards Club perks.”
The guest experience at the more than 65 Kimpton properties strives to feature personalized service, often blending leisure and business travel sensibilities.
Many Kimpton loyalists fear the future of the brand as it gets consumed into one of the largest chains in the world.
IHG and Kimpton certainly are being very deliberate about implementing changes.
DeFrino states that Kimpton has just now “begun” conducting focus groups and surveys to gather information about what Karma members want and don’t want.
On other issues, DeFrino confirms that Kimpton will remain headquartered in San Francisco, and that new properties in the pipeline will be located in Austin, Winston-Salem, Nashville, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Palm Springs and Grand Cayman.
Photo credit: Kimpton CEO Mike DeFrino (right) takes a selfie with doorman John at Argonaut Hotel - A Kimpton Hotel in San Francisco. Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants