IHG in ‘very strong position’ to grow luxury segment as UK footprint increases

IHG Hotels & Resorts has said it is in a “very strong position” to grow its luxury and lifestyle hotel footprint after signing more than 1,000 rooms in the UK and Ireland this week. 

The group is set to open nine new hotels in the UK and Ireland across five of its brands, including Hotel Indigo and Voco, boosting its portfolio of 350 hotels in the region. 

The group detailed “rapid growth” across all its market segments of Luxury & Lifestyle, Premium, Essentials and Suites but said both consumers and investors were driving demand at the higher end of the market. 

“We have seen a big uptick in luxury and lifestyle in terms of where investors have wanted to deploy capital,” said Matt Walton, senior director, development UK & Ireland at IHG.

“It’s always connected to the consumer – they’re wanting that one-off experience and something special. If you look at our brand family in that segment we are in a very, very strong position to grow even more in that luxury and lifestyle space.”

Walton admitted the group was “hugely under-bedded in London versus our competitors” but said upcoming openings including Six Senses London was set to help change that. 

“There are some exciting openings coming in the UK – we’ve got Six Senses opening in [the former] Whiteleys department store which is going to be an absolute wow asset," he said.

Next month, IHG will also unveil the first property under its new brand Vignette Collection, which Walton termed IHG’s “first luxury collection in the UK”. 

The Halyard at Ropewalks Liverpool, Vignette Collection will house 133 rooms and industrial interiors in honour of the area’s dockland heritage. 

Walton said there were “hotspots galore” across the UK ripe for hotel development and said a dedicated data analytics team was focused on identifying top “micro-locations” for each brand, going down “to postcode level”. 

He said the group was strategically focused on the conversion of existing hotels and said he could “only see an increase” in the number of independent, unbranded hotels wanting to come under the group’s umbrella in the future. 

“It’s a very exciting time in the UK and Ireland and that’s backed up by the activity [we did] last year and the activity we’re seeing already this year in the market – it’s something for us to be positive and upbeat about,” he said.

Asked if the hotel giant had intentions to make more acquisitions, the group’s managing director for the UK and Ireland, Joanna Kurowska, said: “Part of the plan is to make sure that we have a brand for every customer; [in terms of] how we get there, there are at least a few options.”

IHG comprises 19 hotel brands and has more than 6,200 hotels in more than 100 countries, with nearly 2,000 in the development pipeline. 

The nine new openings in the UK and Ireland include the 131-room Hotel Indigo Gloucester - The Forum (pictured) and five Voco properties in Salisbury, Belfast, Leicester, Manchester and Folkestone. 

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