Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Hotels

IDEAS: IHG Hotels & Resorts Launches Experiential Winter Chalet Campaign

3 months ago

IHG Hotels & Resorts is getting into the holiday spirit with the launch of a new experiential winter campaign at a selection of its American properties. 

The Winter Chalet at Hotel Indigo Williamsburg
Credit: Roger Davies / IHG Hotels & Resorts

Select InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, Vignette Collection and Hotel Indigo properties will be transformed into ‘Winter Wonderlands’ for the holiday season by incorporating chalet-inspired installations and programming.

The 17 feet tall chalet structures, which will feature in the lobbies of select properties, have been designed and constructed by architect Tristan Al-Haddad and feature interiors curated by interior designer Corey Damen Jenkins.

Each installation features a bar that will serve seasonal beverages throughout the day and will include regular programming for the duration of the campaign.

Outside of the Winter Chalet installations, every hotel across IHG’s Luxury & Lifestyle Americas portfolio will provide guests with some form of winter inspired programming, including festive dining experiences and chalet inspired room activations.

The campaign will run from December 1, 2023 through February 29, 2024.


Skift Ideas uncovers the most creative and forward-thinking innovations happening across travel. We celebrate innovation through our Skift IDEA Awards and hear from leaders on our Ideas podcast.

You can listen and subscribe to the Skift Ideas Podcast through your favorite podcast app here.

Online Travel

Amazon Debuts Cyber Week Travel Deals

3 months ago

Amazon launched what one executive said was its “first-ever” Cyber Week Travel Deals.

Amazon’s travel deals hub offered sales from the likes of American Airlines, Disney, Universal, Budget, Choice, Avis, IHG and Carnival, for example.

American Airlines, for instance, was offering a Black Friday deal of $89 for a one-way Philadelphia to Charlotte flight on January 24, for instance.

The ads appeared on Amazon.com in its travel deals hub, and when users clicked on an ad, then Amazon directed them to the supplier website.

Amazon offers flights in India in partnership with MakeMyTrip, but doesn’t currently have a U.S.-oriented travel offering.

Hotels

IDEAS: Hotel Indigo Launches Neighborhood Borrowing Program

3 months ago

Hotel Indigo has launched a new program wherein residents in the US and UK who share a zip code, or postcode, with select Hotel Indigo’s are now able to “borrow” everyday essentials at no cost. 

A bag containing items on offer as part of the Borrowed by Hotel Indigo campaign
Credit: Hotel Indigo

The ‘Borrowed by Hotel Indigo’ program has been designed to ‘reignite the popular habit of lending to a neighbor,’ according to a release.

So starting this month, locals will be invited to borrow what a survey from the brand has revealed as the most commonly borrowed items, including coffee, tea, sugar and olive oil.

The initiative has taken inspiration from the brand’s latest marketing campaign, which has been created to position the brand as the ‘World’s Neighborhood Hotel’.

“When our hotels join a neighborhood, we become a part of the fabric of the community. We put it at the heart of everything, and we welcome the neighborhood and its people into our spaces – it’s how we create an authentically local experience for our guests. Everyone knows the adage of ‘borrowing a cup of sugar’ from your neighbor – with this program, we want to embody this idea of being a good neighbor and strengthen social connections with those inside and outside of our hotels,” said Carol Hoeller, vice president global brand management for Hotel Indigo.


Skift Ideas uncovers the most creative and forward-thinking innovations happening across travel. We celebrate innovation through our Skift IDEA Awards and hear from leaders on our Ideas podcast.

You can listen and subscribe to the Skift Ideas Podcast through your favorite podcast app here.

Hotels

IDEAS: IHG Hotels & Resorts Launches Initiative to Support Under-Represented Groups in Hospitality Industry

6 months ago

IHG Hotels & Resorts (IHG) have launched a new program – known as IHG LIFT – which has been designed to create more hotel development support for historically under-represented groups within the hospitality industry.

Credit: IHG Hotels & Resorts

The program will include support, access to capital and guidance along the hotel lifecycle, and is open to owners who qualify in the U.S. and Canada. 

According to a release from IHG, the new program will ‘unlock common barriers to hotel ownership among these groups and empower diverse owner-entrepreneurs for success.’

As part of the program, IHG has partnered with two leading Historically Black Colleges and Universities – Clark Atlanta University and Morehouse College – and will commit more than $30 million to the initiative over the next five years.

“As our industry grows, we need to keep our focus on enabling more success for our diverse ownership base. Barriers such as a lack of access to capital and the right networks put such owners at a disadvantage. The IHG LIFT program is specifically designed to help ease the path to ownership and ultimately support owners. Diversifying ownership is not only better for IHG, it also lifts up our entire industry,” said Julienne Smith, chief development officer, Americas at IHG Hotels & Resorts.

IHG LIFT forms part of IHG’s forms part of its broader Journey to Tomorrow 2030 responsible business plan.

Skift Ideas uncovers the most creative and forward-thinking innovations happening across travel. We celebrate innovation through our Skift IDEA Awards and hear from leaders on our Ideas podcast.

You can listen and subscribe to the Skift Ideas Podcast through your favorite podcast app here.

Hotels

IHG to Launch Midmarket Hotel Brand Designed to Grow Quickly

7 months ago

IHG Hotels & Resorts revealed on Tuesday that it has been pitching hotel owners on a new brand addressing an opportunity in the middle of the market it said is underserved.

“Our aim is that this new conversion brand will become the first choice for guests and owners in the midscale segment, accelerating our growth in a space that is already worth $14 billion in the U.S. market alone,” said CEO Elie Maalouf during remarks tied to the company’s quarterly earnings.

The Windsor, UK-based hotel group — whose brands include Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, and Six Senses — didn’t reveal the name of the new brand, which has become IHG’s 19th brand, or other details.

“We’re delighted that more than 100 hotels have already expressed definitive interest in the new brand,” Maalouf said.

Designed for Fast Growth

Maalouf likely wanted to prioritize a conversion brand over a new construction brand to help address IHG’s need to maintain steady growth in its hotel pipeline.

Unlike new-build brands that take time to grow because of construction delays, conversion brands can expand quickly, especially as many independent hotel operators or owners of properties flagged with older brands seek a refresh.

“Conversions represent a major growth opportunity for us, generating around 40% of first-half openings and signings globally,” Maalouf said.

Addressing the Mid-Market

The new brand is Maalouf’s first big move as CEO, having taken the top job last month.

Maalouf had previously led the group’s North American business for 8 years. During that time, he showed an interest in mid-market growth.

Maalouf led his team in debuting the new brand Avid, in 2017, which he said at the time targeted “a vastly underserved $20 billion segment of the U.S. midscale market.” Avid charges roughly $10 to $15 a night less than Holiday Inn Express, IHG’s midscale leader, and less than Candlewood Suites, IHG’s other mid-scale brand. (The difference in market size figures Maalouf has quoted refers to different segments of the overall mid-market.)

Given Maalouf’s sense that the mid-market is underserved, he has prioritized putting another IHG brand on the grid. That said, IHG’s board (on which he’s been a member for years) approved of this initiative before Maalouf became group CEO.

The hotel franchisor already has upper midscale with Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express, so the new brand is likely more affordable.

IHG expects to target around a 25% lower cost per room to convert to the new brand than that for Holiday Inn Express.

Facing Rivals

IHG’s rivals have also been looking at the middle of the market.

  • In June, Marriott International said it would expand into the “affordable midscale” hotel category in North America with a new hotel brand — which it hasn’t yet named. The move came after earlier this year, when it completed its acquisition of City Express, a midscale brand focused on Latin America.
  • Hilton CEO Christopher Nassetta said in his second-quarter earnings call that the “mid-market” was what he coveted long-term. “We’re not ashamed of saying we have every intention to have the best brands in every market to serve the mid-market because we think that’s where the most money will be made over the next ten or 20 or 30 years,” Nassetta said.
  • In May, Hyatt unveiled a new brand, Hyatt Studios, in the upper-midscale segment.

Hotels

IHG Doesn’t Rule Out Public Listing Move From London to New York

11 months ago

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG Hotels & Resorts) CEO Keith Barr told the Financial Times this week that “several shareholders” had asked his team at an investor roadshow last month if it would consider a switch away from listing on the London stock market to New York’s exchanges.

Barr told FT reporter Oliver Barnes: “There’s no clamoring” for a switch in listing from shareholders, and management was “not currently considering” the matter, but acknowledged “that could change at some point in the future.”

Barr added that London was “not a very attractive place” for listed companies and called on authorities to encourage more liquidity and loosen regulations.

In a follow-up piece on Friday, the Financial Times Lex column offered some analysis:

“For IHG, moving its shares to the US would make sense. The Americas, led by the US, are its biggest regional market by both revenue and operating profit.

Analysts assess IHG using a forward enterprise value (market value plus net debt minus cash) to a multiple of earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, a proxy for cash profits. The ratio is currently about 13 times, which is roughly in line with its five-year pre-pandemic average.

This means the group trades cheaply to US peers operating similar “asset-light” models. Marriott trades on more than 14 times and Hilton nearly 16 times, according to data provider S&P Capital IQ.

Even so, that gap does not look huge. Barr will want to weigh up the costs of moving the primary listing against the benefits of pricier shares.”

The carpet is not always plusher in neighboring rooms.”

FT’s Lex column
IHG CEO's interview with the FT

Tourism

Marriott’s India Operator Samhi Hotels Refiles Draft Papers, Cuts IPO Size

11 months ago

India-based hotel ownership and asset management platform Samhi Hotels has refiled draft papers with the Indian stock market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to raise an initial public offering (IPO) of around $120 million.

The Goldman Sachs-backed company that operates hotel chains like Marriott, Hyatt and IHG in India, had earlier filed a draft red herring prospectus with SEBI in September 2019 to raise around $238 million.

Samhi had obtained the markets regulator approval in November 2019, to float the initial share-sale, but the company at that time did not go ahead with the launch.

Last week, while reporting the Yatra earnings, Skift had talked about the subdued sentiments in the Indian stock market, as a result of which many companies wanting to launch their IPOs were said to be in a “wait-and-watch” mode.

Hospitality platform Oyo too disclosed last week that it is reducing the size of its proposed initial public offering to between $400-$600 million, a steep reduction from its earlier plan of $1.1 billion.

The company would be using net proceeds from the IPO towards the repayment of debt of the firm and its subsidiaries, payment of interest and other general corporate purposes.

As of February 2023, Samhi Hotels has the third-largest inventory of operational keys (owned and leased) in India. The company has a portfolio of 3,839 keys across 25 operating hotels in 12 cities, including Bengaluru, Hyderabad, National Capital Region, Pune, Chennai and Ahmedabad.

The company is also the largest owner of the Fairfield by Marriott and Holiday Inn Express brands in India. For the financial year ended March 2022, the company reported an increase of 90 percent in revenue to $40 million, as against $21 million in the previous fiscal.

Hotels

Some IHG Hotel Tech Systems Appear to Have Been Hacked

1 year ago

IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group), one of the world’s largest hotel companies, issued a statement on Tuesday that said it was investigating unauthorized access to parts of the company’s technology systems.

The UK-based company, which manages brands such as Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza, said its “booking channels and other applications” had been disrupted since yesterday. It uses many external vendors, including Amadeus, to help with accepting reservations from third parties and other processes.

“IHG is working to fully restore all systems as soon as possible,” the company said. “We will be supporting hotel owners and operators as part of our response to the ongoing service disruption. IHG’s hotels are still able to operate and to take reservations directly.”

IHG didn’t say there had been any loss of customer data. Europe has strict laws that hold companies responsible for allowing customer data to be stolen by bad actors.

IHG Computer Hacking Statement

Hotels

IHG Sees Full Recovery in the Americas Region

2 years ago

Another quarter, another step in the right direction for IHG Hotels & Resorts, which is “very close” (or 10.5 percent) to global pre-pandemic RevPAR — or revenue per available room, a key industry metric.

But recovery in demand and pricing across its hotels in the Americas has led to group profit more than doubling versus 2021, with profitability now ahead of 2019 for that region, said CEO Keith Barr in a statement Tuesday, as it posted its interim 2022 first-half results.

For its second quarter, Americas RevPAR was up 3.5 percent on the 2019 second quarter.

Europe, the Middle East and Africa saw an “excellent improvement in performance” but Greater China had a “tough period” due to Covid-related travel restrictions.

“We have since seen a strong recovery in the most recent months, although risk of further volatility in trading in the region still remains,” Barr said.

IHG, which now operates 6,028 hotels, reported group revenue of $1.794 billion for the six months ended June 2022, which is a 52 percent increase on the $1.179 billion in the 2021 first-half.

Operating profit soared from $138 million in the second half of 2021 to $361 million in this year’s second half, an upswing of 162 percent.

That’s up 2.6 per cent on the comparable period in 2019.

Check back later today for more updates

Hotels

Desperate Hotels in a Rush Left to Hire Inexperienced Staff

2 years ago

Heavily-understaffed European hotel brands are now scrambling to hire workers, left with applicants with no experience or even no track record, according to Reuters.

Accor needs 35,000 employees in the 110 countries that it operates in. The hotel brand has been conducting trial initiatives to recruit people who have never worked in the industry, Reuters quoted CEO Sebastien Bazin as saying.

Accor had also announced that it would be recruiting 12,000 overseas temporary employees to operate its temporary housing units for the Qatar World Cup.

IHG Hotels & Resorts faces a 20 to 25 percent staff shortage, according to Keith Barr its CEO.

Widespread job vacancies and upward pressure on labour costs in UK’s hospitality sector had been highlighted by a CGA survey in April. The survey cited staffing issues as a major reason for impeding hospitality’s recovery from Covid-19.

Hospitality staff, who had been furloughed or terminated during Covid, have found better paying jobs in other industries and are no longer keen to return, aggravating the staffing crisis.

Further afield in the U.S., nearly all hotels are experiencing staffing shortages, and half report being severely understaffed, according to a new survey by the American Hotel & Lodging Association. Some 97 percent of respondents are experiencing a staffing shortage, 49 percent severely so. The most critical staffing need was housekeeping, with 58 percent ranking it as their biggest challenge.

As travel comes back with a bang, airports and airlines have also been struggling with staffing issues contributing to the chaos for travelers.

In a bid to address the labor shortage at airports, the UK is speeding up national security checks for new airport workers. German airports, on the other hand, will be filling staff shortages by hiring temporary workers from Turkey.