First Hermes launched a Chinese luxury brand, Shang Xia, now comes word that InterContinental Hotels (IHG) will launch a new Chinese brand hotel in 2012 or 2013 to diversify and capture a larger share of the booming Chinese travel market.
Developed for the Chinese luxury market, IHG wants to infuse Chinese culture, history, and preferences into this new hotel brand, which will be positioned between “the Crowne Plaza and the luxury InterContinental brand.”
“There are thousands of years of history that have shaped their culture, their backgrounds and their beliefs — the way that you should arrive at a hotel and be treated, it’s just different,” Keith Barr, IHG’s chief executive for Greater China told Reuters.
Aimed at business travelers and government officials, the company plans to make their services and offerings distinct from other Western hotels. These include “a smaller hotel bar and bigger teahouse space to facilitate social gatherings, and a Chinese restaurant that is open for dining all day.” Their research also found that Chinese equate a grand lobby with luxury.
IHG’s new Chinese brand hotel will launch in the 2nd and 3rd tiered cities of China which are seeing some of the fastest growth.
Similar to Hermes, IHG indicated the possibility of bringing the Chinese brand hotel overseas once it becomes more established domestically.
“There are going to be 100 million Chinese tourists traveling abroad in the near future and if we build a brand locally here that really resonates with them, it will be prudent business for us to move that brand outside of China over time,” said Barr.
IHG expects China to overtake the US as the largest hotel market by 2025. IHG has 145 hotels in China. There has been a flurry of activities – the company opened 23 hotels in 17 Chinese cities in 2010. The company launched Hotel Indigo, a boutique brand, in Shanghai late last year.
image credit: ihg