Q4 2021 Covid development update: IHG [Infographic]

by | 01 Nov 2021 | Portfolio

InterContinental Baku

The next instalment of our exclusive series considers how development at the British hotel giant behind the InterContinental and Crowne Plaza brands appears to have plateaued.

It’s no secret that hospitality has been badly affected by the emergence of Covid19, which has presented all sorts of headaches for the top six hotel groups, Marriott International, Hilton Worldwide, Accor, IHG, Hyatt Hotels Corporation and Radisson Hotel Group. In this report, we’ll explore what impact the crisis has had on IHG’s development slate.

Headquartered in the UK, the London Stock Exchange-listed company has around 6,000 properties spread across more than 100 countries globally, with a portfolio of brands encompassing InterContinental, Six Senses and Regent in the luxury sphere and Crowne Plaza, Voco, Even and Hualuxe in the premium sector. But this impressive scale meant that the business found itself well and truly in the firing line in early 2020, when hotels were hit hard as markets rushed to impose strict travel bans, curfews and lockdowns to limit the spread of coronavirus.

IHG’s development slate has climbed by 6%

By drawing on stats compiled by our research team from the TOPHOTELPROJECTS construction database, we can get an insight into how the pandemic has played out on the ground at IHG:

Quarter Date Hotel projects in progress
Q2 2020 04/30/2020 453
Q3 2020 07/02/2020 455
Q4 2020 10/02/2020 476
Q1 2021 01/06/2021 471
Q2 2021 04/13/2021 484
Q3 2021 07/02/2021 480
Q4 2021 10/04/2021 478

The first thing to point out is that IHG had 453 hotel schemes in progress on 13 May 2020 when Covid19 was sweeping across Europe, North America and Latin America, but that rather surprisingly its project count climbed by 6% to 478 as of 4 October 2021 – this is the second biggest rise in percentage terms across the top six hotel groups, behind only Accor (+8%). But if we look more closely at the quarterly breakdowns, we notice that the hike can mostly be attributed to the second half of 2020, with the total jumping from just 455 on 2 July to 476 on 2 October. The figures have basically remained steady thereafter, hovering around the 480 mark ever since.

We can’t say for sure why IHG underwent a growth spurt in late 2020, despite all the uncertainties around Covid and indeed Brexit in its home market, but the fact that it happened at all indicates that management are resisting the temptation to batten down the hatches and ditch large numbers of hotel projects. And while there are questions about why development activity has effectively plateaued over the last year, the overall picture certainly looks a lot brighter than many feared when the pandemic took hold 18 months ago.

IHG continues to bring hotels through to completion

While stats can be useful in isolation, perhaps it might also be helpful to see some real-world examples of IHG projects that’ve been successfully realised in recent months. There was InterContinental Baku, for instance, which represented the Azerbaijani debut of the world’s largest luxury hotel brand. The Voco brand has also been exceptionally active, launching Voco Milan – Fiere, a 280-key property with its very own Congress Centre, and Voco St Augustine – Historic Area, a 50-room development characterised by upscale amenities and an unstuffy atmosphere in the Sunshine State, among others.

In addition, the company’s pipeline is continuing to be replenished by new schemes as existing ones finish and throw over their doors. Among the most noteworthy additions to TOPHOTELPROJECTS construction database of late are InterContinental Resort Amma, Canj – Montenegro, a spectacular coastal retreat earmarked for a picturesque site near Dubrovnik, and Regent Kyoto, set to share its address with one of Japan’s most celebrated restaurants.

An ongoing commitment to development

To sum up then, IHG’s still backing new hotel projects, and in fact has actually increased the number of schemes it’s working on since Covid19 spread like wildfire in early 2020. Its activity levels have remained pretty constant over the past year, moreover, suggesting that the company’s taking the long view with regards to development rather than rethinking its plans every time a negative headline spooks the markets.

As more and more people get vaccinated – and healthcare professionals discover better ways to treat the most severely affected patients – there’s growing confidence that the global hospitality sector will ultimately make a full recovery from coronavirus, which would certainly come as a welcome relief to IHG and justify management’s decision to keep investing in its pipeline.

Click here to read our exclusive Q4 2021 Covid development update series in full: Marriott International | Hilton Worldwide | Accor | IHG | Hyatt Hotels Corporation | Radisson Hotel Group | Marriott and Hilton slumps hit pipeline

Many TOPHOTELNEWS articles draw on exclusive information from the TOPHOTELPROJECTS construction database. This subscription-based product includes details of thousands of hotel projects around the world, along with the key decision-makers behind them. Please note, our data may differ from records held by other organisations. Generally, the database focuses on four- and five-star schemes of significant scale; tracks projects in either the vision, pre-planning, planning, under-construction, pre-opening or newly opened phase; and covers newbuilds, extensions, refurbishments and conversions.

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IHG operates hotels in three different ways – as a franchisor, as a manager and on an owned and leased basis.