IHG builds China signing pace

It is almost 50 years since IHG first entered the Chinese hotel market, and today the group continues to grow its presence in smaller Chinese cities, having grown an impressive portfolio with more than 700 hotels open.

IHG Hotels & Resorts has been on the road in China, underlining its commitment to grow its presence further across the country. At the end of March 2024, the roadshow arrived in Beijing, where the group signed 24 new sites for its hotel brands.

Of the 24, fully 19 were for the group’s Holiday Inn Express brand, which is leading expansion in the country. In December 2023, the brand hit a milestone of 500 hotels open or signed in Greater China. Also signed were additional hotels for the Holiday Inn and EVEN brands.

Building across China

“With two decades in China, we have served as a pioneer in advancing the franchise model, actively growing into the local business travel market,” said Jerome Qiu, chief operating officer of IHG Greater China. “Over the years, we have extended our brand footprint along convenient high-speed rail routes to offer owners a one-stop solution encompassing cooperation, investment, brand, product, and operations — continuously optimizing profitability. As of now, the brand enjoys a presence in all 34 provincial-level administrative regions. Looking ahead, over 27 cities will host five or more Holiday Inn Express hotels.” Among locations with Holiday Inn Express hotels in planning are Lanzhou Xigu, Zhangjiagang and Wenshan.

Openings in 2023 included Beijing Downtown, Wenchang, Shanghai Honggiao Linkong, Hangzhou airport, Jiangmen East Station and Shantou Chenghai. The Holiday Inn Express brand has consistently evolved, to meet the changing needs of guests. Version 3.0 was launched in Greater China in late 2022, introducing refreshed branding and design, updated guest experiences and promising an enhanced quality of stay.

Across all its brands present in China, IHG now has over 1,200 hotels either open or in development. Of that total, more than 700 are already open and trading. Transport hubs and major convention centres are key locations for hotel development. IHG has upcoming openings including a Voco and EVEN at Shanghai Hongqiao CBD, close to the National Exhibition and Convention Centre, and Shanghai Hongqiao airport. Similarly there will be a new Holiday Inn at the Hangzhou International Expo Centre.

Conversions grow Voco

In October 2023, IHG’s Voco brand celebrated its third anniversary following launch in the Chinese market, launching an exhibition at its voco Xi’an Economic and Technological Development Zone, featuring four young Chinese artists.
“In the ever-changing landscape of revitalizing existing hotel assets in Greater China, voco has positioned itself as a solution for rapid conversion, simplifying the process for owners of high-quality, independent hotels to seamlessly integrate into the IHG system.” Kent Sun, Chief Development Officer, IHG China. At the time, IHG had 10 Voco hotels open in China, with a further 10 in the pipeline, at sites including Shanghai, Changzhou, Jincheng, Shenzhen, Chengdu and Qingdao.

Also growing are IHG’s luxury brands, InterContinental and Regent. Currently there are five Regent properties open in China, in cities including Chongqing and Shanghai. Four more locations have been signed, including Regent Shanghai on the Bund.