IHG diversifies business travel investment initiatives in China

IHG Hotels & Resorts showcased the company’s ongoing development in China’s business travel market at its 2023 IHG Greater China Expo & Owner Roadshow this April.

The demand for business and MICE travel in China has surged with the continuous recovery of domestic tourism in the country.

A business travel showcase

At this expo, IHG was able to showcase its spectrum of innovative services and initiatives while facilitating in-depth communication with business travel customers on IHG’s business travel solutions.

Rita Jiang, Vice President of Commercial, IHG Greater China, said: “Along with the full economic recovery in China, business travel has finally resumed and entered a ‘fast lane’ of development, bringing with it great confidence and motivation for IHG to expand the business travel and MICE markets.”

“We will continue to work with our partners to build convenient and abundant meeting solutions, create efficient and worry-free meeting experiences, and help foster the high-quality development of business travel in the future.”

Of particular note this year, IHG hosted a new owner session aimed at providing more opportunities for brand investment.

Kent Sun, Chief Development Officer of IHG Greater China, said: “Upgraded consumer demands as well as the evolution of hospitality and other industries have created a new landscape for hotel investment and brand development. IHG has always been committed to creating ‘True Hospitality for Good’ through a diverse and personalised brand portfolio – providing our partners with richer investment choices and returns.”

“We pay close attention to national policies and market trends as part of our commitment to meeting current consumer travel needs. We plan to explore more diversified investment models with partners and provide innovative products and services in Greater China to create a better journey for guests in more destinations.”

Following the trends

Trends identified at this time include seizing opportunities in sustainability and wellness and promoting smart investment with select brands. These trends come at a time of increasing demand for cost reductions, efficiency improvements and green accommodation in business travel.

IHG closely follows the evolving trends and works with corporate travel management companies to create solutions, which have included introducing its EVEN Hotels brand to China. Mid and upscale hotels focusing on business travellers are key to IHG’s hotel investment here. A key driver for IHG’s global growth has been Holiday Inn Express entering its 3.0 Era at the end of 2022 in Greater China, bringing ‘simple and smart travel experiences’ to guests.

In terms of development, IHG has highlighted how China’s business travel market offers broad prospects for investment, with the future of the market in multi-regional networks and the demand for meetings and exhibitions in lower tier markets.

With the continued development of China’s hotel industry, the franchise model has become more widely recognized. IHG has customised a more flexible “Franchise Plus” model for the market, providing owners in China with more diverse investment options. IHG offers the service of a local business operations team, assisting hotels in enhancing their business travel offering, from pre-opening to operations and marketing plans.

The group succeeded in signing 24 agreements for new hotels at the roadshow, including properties under the Holiday Inn Express, voco and EVEN brands. The group will continue to follow national strategies and regional policy developments, focusing on strategic regions.