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InterContinental Hotel Group — better know as IHG — has been on quite the growth spurt recently. In the past few years, the hotel group has launched a number of new brands and acquired other hotel brands. But it seems IHG management isn’t done adding brands quite yet.

On Tuesday morning’s investor call, CEO Keith Barr announced that IHG would launch a new all-suite brand by the end of the year. As reported by Skift, IHG management described the new brand as an “upper midscale” all-suite hotel brand similar to IHG’s existing all-suite brands Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites.

The yet-to-be-named brand will be priced cheaper than Staybridge Suites. Since Staybridge is considered the nicer of the two existing brands, it seems that IHG may be trying to find a middle ground between Staybridge and Candlewood with this new brand.

The new brand is expected to mostly consist of newly-built properties rather than existing properties switching to the new brand.

In announcing the new brand, the IHG CEO explained that the “all-suite segment of the Americas upper midscale market has grown in scale by around 70% over the last four years.” IHG estimated that there’s an “$18 billion pool of guests in this segment.”

As a very-frequent IHG guest myself, this new brand announcement comes as a surprise. I’m not seeing the need for another all-suite brand in the IHG portfolio, as Staybridge and Candlewood seem to have the affordable extended-stay market covered. So, it will be interesting to see how IHG differentiates this new brand.

IHG has been mostly successful in differentiating the brands that it’s introduced in the past few years. However, the growth of these new brands seems to be very slow, leading me to wonder why IHG is rolling out yet another new hotel brand rather than focusing on growth at its other new brands.

IHG’s Other New Brands

In 2012, IHG introduced a new exercise- and health-focused brand called EVEN Hotels. While I’ve enjoyed my stay at the location in Brooklyn, the brand still remains an unknown to many travelers as there are just nine EVEN Hotels locations worldwide.

EVEN Hotel Brooklyn. Image by JT Genter / TPG.
Standing desk at the EVEN Hotel Brooklyn. Image by JT Genter / TPG.

In 2015, IHG announced a new hotel brand HUALUXE Hotels & Resorts that’s focused only in China. This new brand only currently has only eight locations with another three locations announced.

In July 2018, IHG opened its first Avid Hotel in Oklahoma City. From my stay the first week of opening, it felt like a slightly more functional and budget-friendly version of IHG’s existing Holiday Inn Express — but not enough of a difference to seem to justify a different brand. It seems that hotel property owners are hesitant to gamble on the new brand. Over a half-year later, there’s only just this one Avid Hotel open.

The first and only Avid Hotel. Image by Katie Genter / TPG.
The first and only Avid Hotel. Image by Katie Genter / TPG.

While launching Avid Hotels, IHG was simultaneously working on converting its first UK hotels to yet another new brand called Voco. Announced in June 2018, IHG announced it expected to convert 12 existing Covivio hotels to the new Voco brand. As of the end of 2018, only two Voco properties were open.

In total, that’s just 20 hotels that are currently open under IHG’s four newest hotel brands. Given the slow uptake on these new brands, it seems strange that IHG management would focus on launching yet another incrementally-different brand.

Featured image courtesy of Staybridge Suites Missoula – Montana

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