Skift Take

Kimpton is pretty unknown in Europe and Asia but that is about to change. Whether it truly is a luxury brand is a moot point; InterContinental Hotels Group thinks it is, and will be pushing it as such.

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Luxury Travel News

The Skift New Luxury column is our weekly column focused on the business of selling luxury travel, the people and companies creating and selling experiences, emerging trends, and the changing consumer habits around the sector.

InterContinental Hotels Group has taken its sweet time rolling out the Kimpton brand. It bought the company at the end of 2014 when it had 62 hotels in its portfolio. Three and a half years later it has only added five more.

Bill Kimpton was a pioneer of the boutique hotel model in the U.S., so it’s surprising that the brand has not really crossed the Atlantic or Pacific. There is one hotel in the Cayman Islands, one in Amsterdam — that’s it for the world outside North America, for now.

In the coming years this is all about to change. Last year IHG signed deals for hotels in Greater China and Bali, and last week it signed a deal to rebrand a number of luxury hotels in the UK, some of which are likely to come under the Kimpton brand.

What’s also interesting is that IHG considers Kimpton part of its luxury portfolio, alongside InterContinental and the newly acquired Regent.

“We bought Kimpton because we see that having very strong brand proposition, number one positioning in the U.S. and an opportunity to grow it to a very meaningful business around the world, which we’re now demonstrating out. And it will be a global brand of scale,” Paul Edgecliffe-Johnson, IHG’s chief financial officer, said on an earnings call last week.

Under relatively new CEO Keith Barr, IHG is making a real push in the luxury sector with Kimpton destined to play a big part.

For feedback or news tips, reach out via email at [email protected] or tweet me @paddywhyte.

— Patrick Whyte, Europe Editor

5 Looks at Luxury

InterContinental Hotels Group Focuses on Growing Luxury and Midscale Brands: We’ve noticed IHG has a knack for announcing new brands without giving them names first, so any takers on what the name of IHG’s newest not-yet-named brand will be?

InterContinental Hotels Boosts Luxury Presence in UK: Starwood Capital’s sale of a luxury/upscale portfolio represented a good opportunity for InterContinental Hotels to expand its luxury footprint in the UK. CEO Keith Barr obviously thinks there’s plenty of room for growth in the sector.

Tourism Australia Targets High-Spending Consumers With New Premium Strategy: Everyone is talking about experiential travel these days. But Tourism Australia is upping the ante, using experiences to drive a premium strategy aimed at attracting more affluent visitors.

Why the Hotel Lobby Is the Perfect Antidote to Airbnb: The power of a great lobby is a huge differentiator in hospitality. Hotels shouldn’t forget its power. In fact, they should double down.

Delta Is Doing Better Than Its Rivals When It Comes to Premium Passengers: Sure, Delta benefits from less low-cost competition than the other legacy carriers, but you still have to do things right to retain the biggest spending travelers.


Skift Europe Editor Patrick Whyte [[email protected]] curates the New Luxury newsletter. Skift emails the newsletter every Tuesday.

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Tags: ihg, intercontinental hotels group, kimpton hotels, luxury, regent hotels

Photo credit: The Kimpton Hotel Palomar Phoenix. Parent company InterContinental Hotels Group is looking to grow the Kimpton brand in Europe. IHG

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