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InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) is truly that. As the world's largest hotel company by room count at around 836,000, IHG has more than 15 brands boasting rooms across 5,600 hotels across the world. IHG takes an asset-light approach, franchising or managing hotels for third parties. Its mainstay chain, Holiday Inn, offers mid-market accommodation, while limited-service locations operate under the Holiday Inn Express brand. IHG also serves the upscale market with its Crowne Plaza and InterContinental chains, and its Staybridge and Candlewood Suites offer extended stay services. With a presence in around 100 countries in the US, Europe, and Asia, most revenue comes from outside the UK.


InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG) operates some 5,600 hotels across more than 15 brands. The company organizes its brands into three categories: mainstream, upscale, and luxury segments. Mainstream brands include Holidy Inn, Candlewood Suites, Staybridge, and avid hotels. Upscale brands include Crowne Plaza, voco, HUALUXE, EVEN, and Hotel Indigo. Luxury hotels include InterContinental, Regent, and Kimpton.

The four Holiday Inn brands (Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Holiday Inn Club Vacations, and Holiday Inn Resort) account for around 70% of the total hotel count. 


Geographic Reach

UK-based InterContinental Hotel Group's (IHG) largest market is the Americas, which is home to more than 60% of its room count and which generates nearly 55% of revenue.

The Europe, Middle East, Asia, and Africa segment brings in about a third of revenue and accounts for about a quarter of rooms. Greater China generates about 15% of revenue but holds nearly 15% of IHG's rooms. 

Sales and Marketing

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) offer discounts, travel benefits, and other perks to repeat guests through its IHG Rewards Club loyalty program. The company has identified strengthening its IHG Rewards through personalization and partnerships as a major strategic focus.

IHG has a mobile booking app as well as cloud-based hotel solutions designed to drive demand for its third-party owners. Distribution channels (call centers and booking sites through which hotel rooms are marketed and booked) allow hotel owners to reach potential guests at a lower cost.

Financial Performance

InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG) reported major revenue growth from 2014 to 2018. However, net income has been on the decline since 2015. As a global hospitality company, IHG has been hit with macroeconomic and geopolitical uncertainties in some markets.

In fiscal 2018 sales increased 6% to $4.3 billion primarily resulting from 4.8% rooms growth as well as 2.5% growth in RevPar (revenue per available room, a closely-watched metric used in the hotel industry). The total number of IHG rooms increased by nearly 5% and underlying fee revenue increased by 6.5%.

Profit for the year from continuing operations dropped to $352 million, down from $541 million in 2017. Higher costs related to the company's efficiency program offset an increase in revenue. The program is expected to realize $125 million in annual savings by 2020; IHG estimates a cost of $200 million to achieve these savings, of which $103 million was incurred in 2018.

Cash at the end of 2018 was $600 million. Cash from operations was $666 million, while investing activities generated $189 million. Financing activities generated $86 million.


InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has adopted an asset-light strategy enabling it to grow the business while generating high returns on invested capital. About 80% of revenue comes from franchise fees while the remainder comes from owned, leased, and managed hotels. Whether the company franchises or manages hotels depends on market maturity, owner preference, and the particular brand. For instance, in more developed markets such as the US and Europe, more than 90% of IHG hotels are franchised. By contrast, in emerging markets such as China, about 90% of IHG hotels are managed by IHG. Over time, IHG expects the Chinese market will move towards a franchised model. 

In 2019 IHG launched a new all-suites upper midscale brand in the US, Atwell Suites, in a further step to expand its brand portfolio. The brand joins IHG's other all-suite brands — including Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites — but falls between traditional extended stay and select service hotels. Guests are encouraged to stay up to six days, and the hotel offers a limited kitchenette in the suites. The Atwell launch is part of a strategic growth initiative announced in 2018 that includes a focus on optimizing IHG's portfolio and enhancing revenue through new digital tools. To this end it launched HG Concerto, a cloud-based technology platform with a new guest reservation system that brings together all core hotel systems.

Challenges for the company include a dependence on highly mature US markets, as well as intense competition. Pressure comes from Marriott and Hilton, which have large luxury portfolios, including brands such as the Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis, Waldorf Astoria, and DoubleTree, as well as newer competition from Airbnb.

Mergers and Acquisitions

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) regularly expands its hotel count and brands via acquisitions. In 2019 it agreed to acquire the brands and operating companies of Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas for $300 million. Additionally, it acquired 12 hotels in the UK from Foncière des Régions. In 2018 it acquired a 51% stake in Regent Hotels & Resorts, adding six hotels in the fast-growing luxury space to IHG's portfolio. 

Company Background

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) traces its roots to 1777, when William Bass open his first brewery. In 1875, its red triangle logo was the first ever trademark registered in the UK. Several of the enlarged company's pubs also offered accommodation, and Bass relaunched this business under the name Crest Hotels. Bass formed a partnership with Holiday Corporation in 1987 to take control of Holiday Inn's properties outside North America and also expand its footprint into new territories. It took over full control of the Holiday Inn brand worldwide by early 1990. Meanwhile, Pan American Airways founder Juan Trippe founded InterContinental in 1946. Bass purchased InterContinental Hotels for £1.8 billion in 1998.


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Phone: 44 01895 512000

Firm Stats

Employer Type: Publicly Owned
Stock Symbol: IHG
Stock Exchange: , NYSE
Chairman: Patrick Cescau
CFO: Paul Edgecliffe-Johnson
CEO and Director: Richard Solomons

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