InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has always been a forerunner of hospitality trends, given how its brands span from just-the-basics road warriors to experience-seeking luxury travelers. Several of its brands anticipated shifts in guest tastes ahead of the pack. Before Instagram and hybrid working, the group created and acquired lifestyle brands with photogenic lobbies for guests who blend business and leisure travel. IHG also invented the concept of a hotel loyalty program. Today, with nearly 6,000 properties in more than 100 countries and with more than $2.9 billion in annual revenues, U.K.-based IHG curates 17 brands serving guests and owners with truly varied needs.
The competition is fierce, a fact of life that the hotel giant’s leadership confronts daily.
“We always have to up our game, so we have to continue to invest more and more in technology, reduce friction in the digital experience, and find better ways of reducing costs for owners and our technology platforms,” CEO Keith Barr told Skift in January. “We can’t sit still, but it’s pretty darn hard to replace [the traditional hotel experience], which is the advantage we have.”
Read on for insight from IHG on each of its 17 brands, followed by our own takes.
Note: Global footprint numbers and quoted takes from IHG are from each brand’s home page, with property and room number data from March 31, 2022.
IHG’s Categories & Brands
Lifestyle & Luxury: Six Senses, Regent, Intercontinental, Vignette, Kimpton, Hotel Indigo
Premium Collection: Voco, Hualuxe, EvenHotels, Crowne Plaza
Essentials Collection: Holiday Inn Express, Holiday Inn, Avid
Suites Collection: Atwell Suites, Staybridge Suites, Holiday Inn Club Vacations, Candlewood Suites
- 21 open hotels
- 1,412 open rooms
- 33 hotels in the pipeline
IHG Take: “Each Six Senses property commits to guest rejuvenation and reconnection, with an expert focus on wellness and sustainability and creating a place where people can reconnect, in harmony with the local environment.”
Skift Take: Since its acquisition in 2012, Six Senses has been a balancing act of luxury and sustainability. Its well-developed missions to create zero waste, such as by striving to be plastic-free and by growing fruits and vegetables on-site, suggest that this brand is well-positioned for an expected rising demand for greener travel. Many brands struggle to get owners to spend on sustainability, but Six Senses commits them by management contract, said Raini Hamdi in IHG’s Six Senses Goes a Step Further on Being Green Among Hotel Chains. Therefore, Six Senses successfully shifts the luxurious hotel narrative into something healthier for the environment. It’s all in the name. This brand appeals to the six senses while also making strides to achieve what one can’t sense, but is becoming more critical by the day.
- 7 open hotels
- 2,190 open rooms
- 8 hotels in the pipeline
IHG Take: Regent Hotels “seeks to redefine luxury hospitality through innovation and design based on understanding the modern luxury consumer,” with the goal of becoming one of the world’s “most prestigious luxury brands with hotels in gateway cities and resort destinations around the world.”
Skift Take: Even though businesses struggled during the pandemic, Regent has not given up on its high-lux initiatives. Those who are financially capable are ready to treat themselves, and this brand’s upscale rooms and suites, wellness facilities, and dining options — which are available in 8 locations across the globe — are up for the challenge.
- 207 open hotels
- 69,917 open rooms
- 79 hotels in the pipeline
IHG Take: “As the world’s first international luxury travel hotel brand, we have been pioneering new international destinations for decades. Each of our hotels is a destination in its own right with a distinctive style and ambience, from historic buildings to city landmarks and immersive resorts in every corner of the globe.”
Skift Take: Due to InterContinental’s focus on international travel and cultural experiences, this brand is struggling, like any other, to get back on its feet since the pandemic. However, it is IHG’s most well-known brand and dates back to 1946, so it’s not going anywhere. Its competitors are Grand Hyatt, W Hotels, JW Marriott, and Ritz-Carlton, but the large number of hotels and simultaneous lavishness seem to keep the brand afloat.
- 2 open hotels
- 539 open rooms
- 6 hotels in the pipeline
IHG Take: “We’ve created a collection brand that gives guests an inspiring new choice. A family of one-off hotels where guests can indulge a growing passion for stays that are authentic, experiential, and considerate. Unique and Proudly independent, our hotels all embody luxury in a different way. What they share is a commitment to a succinct set of standards that we know discerning guests seek out and love.”
Skift Take: The Vignette Collection is currently open in Brisbane and Bangkok, but other locations in Asia and Europe are coming soon. It’s a soft brand, which enables IHG to compete with similar branches of Hilton and Accor, which have both pointed to luxury and lifestyle hotels as leading sources of growth.This brand seems like it might be one of the final touches for IHG’s ultra-luxe hotels and thanks to its personalized yet high-end approach, it is only helping raise rates and reviews. Though each location has differing styles, there are a handful of quality offers — from cocktail trolleys to morning yoga on the beach —that make guests feel cared for every time.
- 75 open hotels
- 13,297 open rooms
- 38 hotels in the pipeline
IHG Take: “As the industry pioneer that first introduced the boutique concept to the US, we at Kimpton® Hotels & Restaurants are renowned for making travelers feel genuinely cared for through thoughtful perks and amenities, inventive meetings and events, bold and playful design, and a sincerely personal style of guest service.”
Skift Take: Kimpton’s boutique experience with fashionable urban locations and creative, personalized decor is essential to this brand’s mission. Straying from the traditional amenities of larger hotels, Kimpton hopes to attract younger crowds who are looking for unique and new travel experiences. Kimpton had a mighty history of financial success prior to IHG’s acquisition of it for $430 million back in 2015. It was also one of the first brands to offer a hosted happy hour for guests, and was early to proclaiming inclusion for LGBTQIA guests. IHG’s partners have invested in fresh rethinkings of some properties, such as Kimpton Saint George (Toronto) and Kimpton Banneker (D.C.), but we worry that IHG hasn’t been giving enough support to help this gem of a brand fulfill its full market potential.
- 133 open hotels
- 16,717 open rooms
- 119 hotels in the pipeline
IHG Take: “At Hotel Indigo we serve the curious – people who are inspired by new places, new people and new ideas. With hotels in culturally diverse locations all over the world, no two properties are the same. Each is part of the pulse and the rhythm of a place, drawing on the story of its local area to inspire every aspect of the hotel, from intriguing design to distinctive local ingredients in our menus.”
Skift Take: Hotel Indigo is also a boutique hotel, but with more of an emphasis on cultural immersion and style. It fixates on localness and creating a sense of place. It achieves this through the addition of local art, specialized food, and various experiences based on location. This way, it might feel like you are staying at a close friend’s place in a new city with lots to look at, as opposed to finding a hotel to crash at each night. This brand changes each property’s design every five years to maintain its fresh feel, suggesting that it will be “hip” for a long time.
- 35 open hotels
- 8,523 open rooms
- 36 hotels in the pipeline
IHG Take: “Drawing on our years of experience in delivering True Hospitality, voco hotels, gives people a different choice. Hotels that are reliable enough to depend on, but different enough to be fun. Our new family of hotels are connected by their individual characters, that make memorable travel dependable. Unstuffy hotels, where people feel comfortable to relax, and just get on with relaxing. Hotels that stand out from the crowd.”
Skift Take: Part of Voco’s magic has to do with the opportunity for owners to truly make it their own. While its soft-brand approach is a smart business model it may not comfort returning clientele. With that being said, it was IHG’s fastest brand to launch, and is continuing to change and grow by the minute.
- 17 open hotels
- 4,893 open rooms
- 22 hotels in the pipeline
IHG Take: “We have woven into every detail of the luxury brand’s service and design an acknowledgment of Chinese culture and heritage, with particular emphasis on the Chinese values of etiquette, rejuvenation in nature, recognition of status and enabling spaces.”
Skift Take: Hualuxe is the “first upscale international hotel brand designed specifically for Chinese guests,” as stated in its mission statement. As of right now, this brand only has locations in Greater China, but there are plans to expand worldwide. IHG had already been established in China for over 35 years with other hotel brands before taking Hualuxe under its wing, so it was well equipped to create a Chinese culture-inspired stay.
- 21 open hotels
- 2,994 open rooms
- 29 hotels in the pipeline
IHG Take: “Our hotels and wellness-savvy staff offer guests a best-in-class fitness experience, healthier food choices and natural, relaxing spaces.”
Skift Take: As it suggests in the name, Even Hotels is meant to provide travelers with a feeling of balance. Most hotel gyms stink. At last, there is a brand that promises quality equipment. In terms of food, Even’s “Cork & Kale” menu plan consists of all natural ingredients to fuel guests. Even Hotels has continued to grow since it opened in 2012, leaning into the masses who want to take care of their bodies. It seems like people want to get off the couch after two years in a pandemic and opt for the hotel with a wellness-based model.
- 406 open hotels
- 111,491 open rooms
- 107 hotels in the pipeline
IHG Take: “At Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts we believe business travel should work better. In every market in the world, business has changed, and so has work. It’s more digital, more flexible, more mobile, more connected. As one of the world’s largest upscale brands, we have properties located in major urban centres, gateway cities and resort destinations all around the globe.”
Skift Take: Crowne Plaza markets itself toward the modern business traveler who seeks a sweet spot between business and leisure. Its design pays attention to meeting spaces and individual areas for work. With the resurgence of business travel post-pandemic, this brand is making forward strides to rebound. In the height of the pandemic, IHG removed 90 hotels from Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn in an attempt to maintain profitability. This brand has paid its dues and will stick around so long as the transition back into a bustling, business-oriented world continues.
Holiday Inn Express
- 3034 open hotels
- 319, 407 open rooms
- 658 hotels in the pipeline
IHG Take: “At Holiday Inn Express hotels we keep it simple and smart. As IHG’s fastest growing hotel brand, we’re first choice for the increasing number of travelers who need a simple, engaging place to rest, recharge and get a little work done. We offer everything guests need and provide more where it matters most.”
Skift Take: Reasonably priced and covering basic necessities, Holiday Inn Express now covers a lot of territory. With 658 hotels in the pipeline, this brand dips into both corporate and leisure travel because of its long history of trustworthiness. When Covid forced hotels to shut down across Europe, over 80 percent of Holiday Inn Express’s remained open. It’s an essential brand that gets the job done, and then some.
- 1,192 open hotels
- 215,841 open rooms
- 251 hotels in the pipeline
IHG Take: “At Holiday Inn Hotels & Resorts we pride ourselves in delivering warm and welcoming experiences for guests staying for business or pleasure. Whether it’s time with friends, family, colleagues or clients we have a breadth of hotels from urban centres to beach resorts offering environments, services and amenities that make it easy to work, rest and connect.”
Skift Take: Holiday Inn has grown to be so successful that not only is its name mentioned in various popular songs, but there are an estimated two people checking in every second, according to IHG’s site. The Holiday Inn Express brand is geared toward shorter stays, while this brand is meant for a few days longer — with full service rather than limited. “The Holiday Inn” is recognizable, tried and true, and people love to come back to what they know. On the other hand, there is the worry that it will become stale. To address this, the brand announced in 2021 that it was starting the year with a “brand refresh.”
- 52 open hotels
- 4,676 open rooms
- 161 hotels in the pipeline
IHG Take: “At avid hotels, we are championing everyday travel at a fair price, meeting the needs of the guests who all too often have to pay more for things they don’t need, or compromise on the quality they expect. We’re here to offer the type of hospitality they value most – the essentials done exceptionally well. Experiences that feel just right, every time.”
Skift Take: Similar to the Holiday Inn Express, Avid aims to successfully satisfy customers’ needs—no more and no less. Due to the brand’s efficient business model, it is able to operate well without extraneous expenses. This positive feedback loop keeps Avid profitable and with happy travelers who need a trustworthy place to stay for a very reasonable price. Avid’s “look” includes simple designs with red, aqua, and warm neutrals that provide a practical feel.
- 1 open hotel
- 90 open rooms
- 22 hotels in the pipeline
IHG Take: “Welcome to Atwell Suites, a new upper-midscale, all-suites hotel brand that brings inspiration to every journey. Our hotels give guests options at every turn, so they can choose a stay that’s right for them. We create an environment that allows guests to build connections, find their place, and be themselves. Hotels that provide our guests with opportunities to explore and spark curiosity. No matter where they are headed, we help guests take their journey to new places.”
Skift Take: The all-suites segment needed a stylish brand meant for longer stays, and Atwell Suites came to the rescue. On the edgier side, Atwell has mid-century modern furniture and decor that you might find in a higher-class Airbnb. The spacious suite design includes its own kitchenette—but don’t worry there is still a complimentary breakfast. Atwell Suites filled the need for an upper-mid scale suite style hotel, and it has yet to disappoint.
- 318 open hotels
- 34,559 open rooms
- 158 hotels in the pipeline
IHG Take: “We believe our guests deserve more, and it’s always been our simple mission to provide something different. Distinct. More space and a greater sense of community that breaks down the walls of monotonous, restrictive travel – to help you feel unconfined…and experience a break from the travel norm.”
Skift Take: Spaciousness is one of Staybridge’s strong suits, as its suite-style rooms offer full kitchens and an outdoor space. About half of guests stay for at least five nights, proving that this brand takes the lead in areas with a demand for extended stays. The staff-to-guest ratio is low, which drives profit margins. While this may seem like a downside for travelers, there are a handful of amenities that provide a very residential-like experience. Main competitors include the Residence Inn, Hyatt House, and Homewood Suites, but Staybridge puts up a good fight in consumer brand awareness with over 300 open hotels.
Holiday Inn Club Vacations
- 28 open resorts
- 8,822 open villas
- 0 resorts in the pipeline
IHG Take: “Our Holiday Inn Club Vacations owners are part of a community of people who understand the importance of family and investing in a lifetime of invaluable memories. Our collection of US resorts has expanded rapidly since the brand launched in 2008. All offer spacious villa accommodation for families in top leisure destinations, and access to world-class attractions such as mountain adventures, championship golf courses and serene beaches.”
Skift Take: This brand is meant for larger groups and longer stays, thanks to the option of timeshare ownership and deluxe villas. Holiday Inn Club Vacations profits off the desire to have rich experiences. These resorts are meant to form bonds and connect guests as much as the beautiful location they chose to vacation near. As the most up-scale Holiday Inn brand, it provides families with much more than the trusted essentials.
- 361 open hotels
- 32,024 open rooms
- 107 hotels in the pipeline
IHG Take: “At Candlewood Suites, we believe the world would be a better place if everyone had the personal and physical space to create a sense of normalcy when traveling for a long period of time. Our guests have come to depend on us for reliable services and amenities that support their independent ways. It is our mission to provide your space to settle in.”
Skift Take: This brand is incredibly reliable with limited amenities. It may not be an exciting, experience-filled stay, but it works well for those who are staying on the longer side and want to feel sound. “Normalcy” is one of its adjectives on the site, which captures its essence perfectly. No surprises, but satisfying. Since it promotes guest independence, it doesn’t require a large team of employees to keep it up and running. Candlewood is an asset for IHG because of its simplicity.