InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has today announced that it has reached 400 open hotels in Greater China, as it continues to expand at pace in its fastest growing region.
IHG has 35 years of experience in Greater China, having opened its first Holiday Inn hotel in Beijing in 1984. Since then it has continued to grow, surpassing 100 open hotels in 2008 and double that number by 2013, with its 300th hotel following just four years later. IHG's next 100 properties have opened in less than two years, illustrating the company's rapid growth and bringing its Greater China estate to 400 open hotels today.
Jolyon Bulley, Chief Executive Officer, IHG Greater China, commented: "IHG has a long-standing commitment to Greater China and we have been scaling up rapidly in the region, which is already our second largest market globally. Our long-term strategic focus and ability to adapt to the evolving demands of owners and guests is truly paying off, be it through new operating models, a growing number of preferred brands or cutting-edge technologies.
"We reported record openings and signings in Greater China last year. Our global expertise and profound insight into the market and the favourable government policies propelling the travel industry make for a powerful combination and we're excited about the future growth potential."
IHG announced its 400-hotel milestone in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province, reflecting an ambition to deepen its roots in southern China in line with the nation's Greater Bay Area strategic plan. This continues the active role IHG has played in bringing its global hospitality expertise to Greater China, whilst growing scale in the world's second largest economy and claiming a number of firsts along the way.
As a leading global hotel franchisor, IHG was one of the first international hotel companies to introduce the franchise model to China. The company has since implemented franchising as an alternative to its successful managed model, as the industry has matured and relationships have deepened with hotel developers and owners.
In 2016, IHG launched the innovative 'Franchise Plus' model for Holiday Inn Express in China which was an immediate success and now has more than 140 hotels signed and nearly 30 already open. In 2017, IHG also expanded franchising to Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza, with seven franchise deals signed across the two brands in 2018.
The introduction of new brands into the Greater China market has also strengthened its leading position in the industry. This includes the recently acquired Six Senses and Regent Hotels & Resorts brands in the top-tier of luxury; lifestyle and wellness brands Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, Hotel Indigo and EVEN Hotels; and HUALUXE Hotels and Resorts, an upscale brand tailored for Chinese consumers.
In addition to its leading brands, IHG has always been the pioneer in digital change to keep its leading position in an increasingly technology driven and interconnected world. The company is one of the first international hotel companies to offer mobile payment options, introduce artificial intelligent-empowered smart rooms at InterContinental hotels, and launch its IHG Rewards Club WeChat mini-programme.
In 2018, IHG opened and signed a record number of hotels, with 77 openings increasing our Greater China system size to 391 open hotels (115,000 rooms) and 142 signings taking our pipeline for the region to 341 hotels (78,000 rooms). Recent regional growth has focused on tier 2 and 3 cities, which represented approximately two-thirds of IHG's open rooms in the region.
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