Shanghai – April 26th, 2023 – With the continuous recovery of domestic tourism in China, the demand for business and MICE travel has surged. Responding to this market growth, IHG Hotels & Resorts launched its 2023 IHG Greater China Expo & Owner Roadshow with the theme of “Go Beyond”, hosting events in Shenzhen, Shanghai, and Beijing to showcase the company’s robust development in the business travel market.
At the Expo, IHG presented a diverse range of booths which allowed participants to gain a deeper understanding of the innovative services and rich initiatives provided by the company. The event facilitated in-depth communication with business travel customers on how IHG provides convenient one-stop solutions for meeting activities and creates efficient business travel experiences.
Ms. Rita Jiang, Vice President of Commercial, IHG Greater China, said: “Along with the full economic recovery in China, business travel has finally resumed and entered a ‘fast lane’ of development, bringing with it great confidence and motivation for IHG to expand the business travel and MICE markets. This Expo showcases IHG’s 12 unique brands in Greater China, and also provides an opportunity for offline communication between our hotels and business travel clients. It is the right time and place for business travel to grow, and this roadshow provides an opportunity for us to further explore markets and channels. We will continue to work with our partners to build convenient and abundant meeting solutions, create efficient and worry-free meeting experiences, and help foster the high-quality development of business travel in the future.”
This year, IHG notably added an owner session to its roadshow for the first time, providing more opportunities to expand brand investment and engage with potential owners. At this session, IHG presented one-stop solutions that are based on current trends in consumption, investment, and tourism. It also provided in-depth analyses of the unique characteristics and advantages of Holiday Inn Express, voco, and EVEN Hotels – highlighting these brands’ precise market positioning and strong capabilities, while further enhancing owners’ confidence in brand investment.
Mr. Kent Sun, Chief Development Officer of IHG Greater China, said: “Upgraded consumer demands as well as the evolution of hospitality and other industries have created a ‘new landscape’ for hotel investment and brand development. IHG has always been committed to creating ‘True Hospitality for Good’ through a diverse and personalised brand portfolio – providing our partners with richer investment choices and returns. Combining the Expo and owner roadshow represents an ‘industry first’ that creates an immersive experience for our owner partners. When introducing key hotel brands, we provide the opportunity for potential owners to experience our strong revenue system and business travel customer resources. We pay close attention to national policies and market trends as part of our commitment to meeting current consumer travel needs. We plan to explore more diversified investment models with partners and provide innovative products and services in Greater China to create a better journey for guests in more destinations.”
Trends | Seizing Opportunities in Sustainability and Wellness, Promoting Smart Investment with Selected Brands
With increasing demands for business travel, cost reductions, and efficiency improvements, green and low-carbon accommodation has become a highly relevant topic in the business travel market. IHG has closely followed evolving trends and worked together with corporate travel management companies to create an all-in-one business travel management solution for enterprises. For example, one leading domestic conference management platform has synchronized the meeting room information of Holiday Inn hotels into its system, providing more flexible and transparent meeting services for the business travel market. In addition, IHG introduced its EVEN Hotels brand to the Chinese market in order to provide travelers with more options for healthier and happier stays away from home, with the brand having opened hotels in Shenzhen, Chengdu, Suzhou and other cities. In the future, IHG plans to continually build more personalized services for business travellers.
When it comes to hotel investment, mid & up-scale hotels focusing on business travelers are key for hotel groups to achieve economies of scale in the business travel market. As one of the key drivers for global growth at IHG, Holiday Inn Express entered its “3.0 Era” at the end of 2022 in the Greater China market, continuing to bring “simple and smart travel experiences” to guests with a “new generation” of products – all while optimizing hotel space utilization and cost management, which helps owners increase ROI. Under the strategy of “Expanding along high-speed rail lines,” Holiday Inn Express is making progress in first and second-tier cities as well as emerging markets while creating new investment opportunities for owners in third and fourth-tier cities in Greater China.
Development | With Resources Covering All Aspects of Business Travel, Signing Momentum Continues
With the expansion and revitalization of first and second-tier cities, as well as increasing development in third- and fourth-tier cities, the Chinese business travel market offers broad prospects for investment. The future of the market will not be limited to single developed cities or regions, but will involve multi-regional networks, and the demand for meetings and exhibitions will further penetrate lower-tier markets. With strong brand support, a precise regional layout, and distinctive and personalized products and services, IHG has accurately captured the core requirements of local business travelers. Through its powerful system construction capacity, IHG’s business travel service fully covers domestic and four international channels for customer acquisition, with its reservation system connecting to global digital platform resources. IHG has a professional local business operations team to assist hotels in enhancing business travel, from pre-opening to operations, and system utilization to marketing plans, with comprehensive training and support to hotel operations teams. To simplify complexity, IHG utilizes group tools and resources that support individual hotels.
Built upon IHG’s deep local experience and global channel resources, the Group’s brands have gained the trust and favour of owners and investors, with strong signing momentum continuing even in the post-pandemic era. During the owner roadshow, IHG signed agreements for 24 new hotels, including Holiday Inn Express, voco, and EVEN – covering various market segments and highlighting IHG’s unwavering commitment to further develop in the Chinese market. IHG will continue to closely follow national strategies and regional policy developments, focusing on strategic regions such as the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, Hainan Free Trade Port, Yangtze River Delta, and other national strategic development areas. With the targeted expansion, IHG will continue to unlock investment opportunities while supporting the revitalization of the local culture and tourism market.
Models | Exploring the Business Travel Market with Diverse Models, Enhancing Franchising for New Development Opportunities
Following the Expo, IHG will maintain its growth in the business travel market and will carry out a series of small-scale roadshows and continue into the third quarter, targeting nine MICE destination markets – including Hangzhou, Nanjing, Chengdu, and Taipei. To further support its robust business travel services, IHG launched IHG® Business Rewards, a business travel loyalty program that offers global corporate travel discounts and benefits for small and medium-sized enterprises. The program conducts online interactions with business travelers, offering innovative services in the era of digital travel.
With the continued development of China’s hotel industry and the growing operational expertise of local owners, the franchise model has become more widely recognized and sought after in the country. Based on IHG’s constant commitment to “In China, For China,” the Group has customized a more flexible “Franchise Plus” model for the market. In addition to franchised and managed brand portfolio options for the Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, and Crowne Plaza brands, the model has been expanded to include a fourth hotel brand – EVEN – to provide owners with more diverse investment options in the Greater China market.
IHG not only provides comprehensive support to franchised hotels in different aspects such as professional training, operation and management of service teams, but also explores the sinker hotel market through this model to continue to strengthen its leading position in mid-to-high-end and high-end hotels.