IHG approaches 300,000-key pipeline

Pictured: IHG’s new headquarters in Windsor, UK.
IHG Hotels & Resorts has had another year of solid growth, with its pipeline topping 281,000 rooms as at the end of 2022.

This means the major international group’s upcoming project total has grown 3.9% year on year to 1,859 hotels.

Strong signings

In 2022 the UK-based firm signed over 80,000 rooms throughout 467 further properties.

Across the 12 months, IHG opened and added more than 49,000 keys within 269 hotels to achieve net system growth of 4.3% year on year, reaching a global estate of 6,164 properties encompassing around 912,000 keys. 

Therefore the company’s present pipeline represents around 30% of the current portfolio. The group detailed that its future growth is underpinned by around 40% of its pipeline being under construction and a healthy volume of deal discussions across its regions.

Regional resolve

IHG analysed its pipeline within three main regions: the Americas; Europe, Middle East, Asia and Africa (EMEAA); and Greater China.

As at 31 December 2022, the Americas pipeline stood at around 100,000 rooms, with about 32,500 of these signed last year. That figure included more than 11,000 keys within the Iberostar Beachfront Resorts moniker, which became the group’s 18th brand following a long‑term commercial agreement for resorts and all-inclusive hotels signed between IHG and Iberostar Hotels & Resorts in 2022.

Other American signings last year included 60 Holiday Inn Express, 44 Candlewood Suites and 14 Avid hotels.

Global growth

Within EMEAA, the pipeline stood at 83,000 keys as at year end. Across 2022, nearly 29,000 keys were signed, including 7,000 from Iberostar Beachfront Resorts. Other signings included 14 InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, 16 vocos, 12 Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts and six Six Senses sites.

Year on year, net room total increased by 2.4% (up +5.5% on an adjusted basis), with the gross total growing by 7.2%. However, 6, 500 rooms exited the system following the ceasing of all operations in Russia.

Chinese charge

In Greater China, IHG’s pipeline has reached 98,000 rooms. In 2022, 22,000 keys were signed, with additional projects including 34 Holiday Inn Express, 23 Crowne Plazas and 19 Holiday Inn Hotels & Resorts.

Year on year in the region, net keys rose by 6%, with the gross figure growing by over 8%.

Luxury and lifestyle lift

In terms of hotel segments, IHG’s luxury and lifestyle portfolio is 13% of its estate and 20% of its pipeline, approaching twice the size of five years earlier.

For the Six Senses brand, in the four years since its acquisition, its hotel system has grown approximately 20% and its pipeline has more than doubled. As at year end, the luxury strand had 19 hotels in operation, comprising 1,366 rooms.

Rapid growth is on the horizon, with a pipeline of 38 hotels, representing 2,631 keys, a mammoth 193% of the current system size.

Regent and InterContinental

Also in the luxury sphere, Regent Hotels & Resorts’ system has grown 50% in the five years since the brand’s acquisition, with the pipeline tripling during that period. Its system size is currently nine sites of 3,028 rooms collectively. With a pipeline of 10 hotels comprising 2,310 keys, this equates to 76% of the present portfolio.

The world’s largest luxury hotel brand, InterContinental, has 207 properties in operation globally, collectively comprising 69,806 rooms. With 90 hotels in its pipeline, numbering 22,581 keys, forthcoming additions represent 32% of system size.

Indigo to Vignette

The final three brands in IHG’s  luxury and lifestyle portfolio are Hotel Indigo, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants and the Vignette Collection.

Hotel Indigo is on a fast track to expansion, with its system size accelerating to 200 hotels in the next three years, doubling its current volume in half the time it took to open the first 100 sites. Its current portfolio stands at 143 hotels comprising 18,454 rooms, and as its pipeline is 119 hotels numbering 19,851 rooms, this represents 108% of its system size.

The boutique luxury lifestyle brand Kimpton continues its global expansion and is expected to be in 20 countries by 2025. As at end 2022, the line had 76 properties comprising 13,308 keys. Its pipeline is 63% of its portfolio, equating to 41 sites of 8,443 rooms collectively.

Recent brand addition Vignette Collection opened its first three hotels in 2022, comprising 579 rooms. IHG believes the line has a sizeable market opportunity, with a 14-property pipeline, encompassing 1,768 keys, a massive 305% of the current system size.

Premium positioning

Within IHG’s premium segment, four brands are continuing to deliver on their promise. Wellness-focused Even now has over 50 open and pipeline properties. This breaks down as 22 operational sites comprising 3,180 rooms, while upcoming projects number 31 hotels of 5,279 keys collectively – a significant 166% of the present portfolio.

For Hualuxe Hotels & Resorts, the premium brand designed for Chinese guests, it has reached 21 open hotels encompassing 5,983 rooms. Planned projects will see the site number double, with a further 21 hotels on the slate, comprising 5,350 rooms, representing 89% of the current system size.

Crowne and voco

The Crowne Plaza brand is undergoing refreshment, with three-quarters of its Americas estate due to have been updated by 2025. This major marque currently stands at 403 hotels of 110,419 rooms overall. Its pipeline numbers 111 projects comprising 28,950 rooms, 26% of the present system size.

voco, the conversion-focused premium brand, has opened more than 10,000 rooms in under five years since its launch. The precise current portfolio is 45 hotels, representing 10,424 keys. Rapidly rising, its pipeline is 119% of its contemporary system size, equating to 53 hotels of 12,358 rooms collectively.

Essentials expansion

In IHG’s Essentials brand collection, Holiday Inn Express, thought to be the world’s largest hotel brand, is continuing its category leadership and strong growth. With a huge 3,091 hotels comprising 326,902 rooms in operation throughout more than 50 countries, the line is intending to expand by another 23%, with a pipeline of 617 hotels/76,735 keys.

Sister brand Holiday Inn now has a refreshed estate with a further evolved design and format, and a new premium breakfast offering. With a portfolio of 1,226 hotels encompassing 224,381 rooms, the brand is slated to grow by a further 20%, as another 230 sites comprising 44,242 keys are on the slate.

Finally, Avid, with over 200 open and pipeline properties, has reported strong guest satisfaction and owner returns. It currently stands at 59 hotels of 5,353 rooms collectively, and is headed for vast expansion with a pipeline of 145 properties/12,385keys representing 231% of current system size.

Suite success

IHG sees its extended stay lines as having notable growth potential. Its Americas-focused midscale brand Candlewood Suites currently has 368 hotels comprising 32,753 rooms. It is planned to expand by 31% of its portfolio size, with a pipeline of 124 projects encapsulating 10,268 keys.

Premium extended stay brand Staybridge Suites has a growing global footprint which has now reached 314 sites comprising 33,961 keys. IHG aims to boost this by 53% of current system size, with a further 162 properties planned, representing 17,995 rooms.

Finally, Atwell Suites, the group’s newest extended stay brand has generated significant interest and has an accelerating pipeline. With just two open sites of 186 rooms collectively, the line will expand to be 16 times its current size, equating to 30 hotels/3,001 keys on the slate.

Conversion cumulation

Conversions were 23% of signings in 2022, up from 22% in 2021 but down from a high of 25% in 2020. They also formed around a third of openings, excluding the Iberostar sites, with voco and Vignette Collection in particular accelerating their global rollouts.

In total, there were 283 conversion signings last year. Holiday Inn Express topped the brand count for planned conversions, with 75 hotels on the slate, equating to 27% of last year’s conversion signings across the group. Sister brand Holiday Inn took the runner up spot with 54 hotels (19% of the relevant pipeline. voco was close behind in third on 50 planned sites (18% of this pipeline).

Other brands involved in conversion signings in 2022 comprised Candlewood Suites with 17, Crown Plaza on 16, Hotel Indigo on 14, while both Vignette Collection and InterContinental signed 12 sites.

Strengthened strategy

Keith Barr, CEO of IHG Hotels & Resorts, summed up: “Our strategy over the last five years has significantly strengthened our brand portfolio and seen substantial investment to innovate our technology and distribution platforms.

“Our recent agreement with Iberostar added our 18th brand and substantially increased our resort and all-inclusive presence, and we continue to explore further new opportunities like this for additional growth through exclusive partners.

“Meanwhile, the other six brands we have added since 2017 already contribute more than 10% of our pipeline, and our luxury and lifestyle portfolio is now 13% of our system size and 20% of our pipeline as we increase our exposure to higher fee income segments.

“The Holiday Inn brand family, with its global leadership position, delivered around a third of our hotel signings and half of openings.”