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InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) CEO Richard Solomons may have started the current wave of consolidation we’re seeing in the hospitality sector when IHG announced its $430 million purchase of boutique hotel pioneer Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants in 2014, but he isn’t one to follow the crowd.
“We’re big enough,” Solomons told Skift CEO and Founder Rafat Ali while being interviewed on stage that first annual Skift Forum Europe held in London in April.
While Solomons isn’t interested in buying up any other brands at the moment, his company is more focused on growing and evolving the brands it already has to engage with consumers, investing in mobile, and building up brand loyalty.
Solomons also doesn’t think the “direct booking wars” between hotels and online travel agencies (OTAs) are a battle in any regard.
“We want to target those people who can be brand loyal and are interested in being brand loyal and get them to book direct,” Solomons said.
And when it comes to the future of hospitality, Solomons isn’t shying away from looking at the capabilities of machine learning, chat bots, artificial intelligence, and voice search.
You can watch the full discussion below.
Note: Initial planning is in full-swing for our flagship event Skift Global Forum, which will be held September 26-27 in New York City. We wanted to make sure our most loyal Skift readers were able to purchase their tickets early and were rewarded for doing so. That’s why we’ve re-opened up our previously sold out early bird discount for an additional 35 tickets. Attendees can now save $800 per ticket on the largest creative business conference in travel.
At this year’s inaugural Skift Forum Europe in London, travel leaders from around the world gathered for a days of inspiration, information, and conversation on the future of travel.