A Word with GHN Advisory Board Member Keith Barr

2019 Priorities and Growth Aspirations

In February 2018, we defined a clear set of new strategic initiatives for our business, designed to help IHG achieve industry-leading net rooms growth over the medium term. This includes evolving our family of great brands, and further strengthening our portfolio where we see the biggest opportunities.

Together, these initiatives will help to accelerate our growth. We’re focused on investing behind them and we’re already seeing a big impact. We reported our best performance for both openings and signings in a decade in 2018, which shows that our owners like what we’re doing, and there is real energy about the business.

Evolving our portfolio of brands for guests and owners

The ongoing investment we’re making in our established brands is paying off, with the Holiday Inn® Brand Family driving almost half of our total signings last year. InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts is the world’s leading luxury hotel brand with more than 200 open hotels, and our boutique brand, Hotel Indigo® has reached 100 open properties. We’ve also driven the international expansion of our luxury boutique brand, Kimpton® Hotels & Restaurants, which has now secured a presence in 14 countries around the world, with key destinations including London, Bangkok, Tokyo and Mexico City.

We are continuing to innovate, with two new brands launched in the last 18 months that will meet owner and consumer demand in high-growth, high-value segments. In mainstream, we launched avid™ hotels, which has seen phenomenal demand from our owners in the Americas, alongside an MDA and recent signing in Germany, which is a key market for us. Our new upscale brand, voco™ offers a different avenue of growth for IHG and owners, principally focused on conversion opportunities. The brand is attracting strong interest with hotels open in the UK and Australia, and signings ahead of expectations.

To further support our growth, we’ve been clear that we will look at opportunities to enhance our portfolio. Our acquisition of Regent® Hotels & Resorts last year, and Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas in February, were key moments in rounding out the top-tier of our luxury portfolio. We’re now preparing for the launch of an all-suites upper midscale brand targeted at an $18bn industry segment in the Americas where guest and owner demand has driven a substantial increase in room supply over the last four years.

Transformational technology

As our industry evolves, so must we, and investing intelligently in technology to transform the way we do business and provide the right platforms to deliver revenue to our hotels is essential. In 2018, we completed the roll-out of the industry’s most sophisticated cloud-based platform, IHG Concerto™. This gives IHG a strong foundation to build out our technology architecture over the coming years. The ongoing development of our Guest Reservation system, a core part of IHG Concerto, will give guests the opportunity to customise their stay, and owners the ability to unlock value, by optimising prices for different room attributes. We’re developing this functionality now and we’ll be piloting throughout 2019 with a view to rolling out to a select number of hotels towards the year-end.  

Our diverse team is delivering for guests and owners

As a growth company, the dedication of our 400,000 colleagues is vital, and it is important that we have the right talent in place to support our growth as our business and the wider industry continuously evolves. This includes being an organisation that is committed to welcoming and including people of all backgrounds. We were proud to have recently been listed as a 2019 Best Place to Work for LGBTQ equality by the Human Right’s Campaign Corporate Equality Index, and several initiatives led by our newly formed Global Diversity & Inclusion Board will ensure further progress for a fair and balanced workplace.

About Keith Barr

Keith Barr has been Chief Executive Officer of IHG since July 2017. Keith is responsible for implementing IHG’s strategy for high-quality growth and generating industry leading value creation for hotel owners, operators and shareholders. This strategy focuses on strengthening a diverse portfolio of differentiated brands, building scale in key markets, creating lifetime guest relationships, and delivering highly profitable revenues to hotels. Keith has spent more than 25 years working in the hospitality industry across a wide range of roles, having started his career in hotel operations. He has been a member of IHG’s Executive Committee since April 2011 and served as Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) for four years before being appointed CEO. In this role, he led IHG’s global brand, loyalty, sales and marketing functions, driving consistent brand strategies and leveraging IHG’s scale and systems to deliver continued industry outperformance. In addition, he oversaw IHG’s loyalty programme, IHG® Rewards Club, which now has more than 100 million enrolled members globally. Prior to his role as CCO, Keith spent four years as CEO of IHG’s Greater China business, where under his leadership, IHG drove outstanding results and helped set the foundations for growth in a key market. During this time, IHG= developed and launched the HUALUXE® Hotels and Resorts brand in 2012, which is tailored specifically for the Chinese traveller. Keith joined IHG in 2000 and subsequently held a number of senior positions in IHG’s Americas and Asia, Middle East and Africa (AMEA) regions. He was previously Vice President of Operations for Midscale brands in North America, Vice President of Operations for the Holiday Inn brand in North America and Chief Operating Officer for Australia, New Zealand, and South Pacific. Prior to joining IHG, Keith held several senior positions at Bristol Hotels and Resorts, which was acquired by IHG in 2000. He is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and is currently a member of its Leland C. and Mary M. Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship Advisory Board. He also sits on the International Advisory Board.

About IHG®

IHG is one of the world’s leading hotel companies, with more than 5,600 hotels and 837,000 guest rooms in more than 100 countries, with a further 1,900 hotels in its development pipeline. The company has a rich history, beginning as a local UK brewery in 1777 before becoming the global hospitality player it is today. Its diverse portfolio of brands is known the world over and includes the Holiday Inn® Brand Family, the world’s largest luxury hotel brand InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza®, and Kimpton® Hotels & Restaurants. IHG acquired Regent Hotels & Resorts in 2018 and Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas in early 2019, both in the top-tier of luxury. It has also launched new brands in the mainstream and upscale segments with avid™ hotels and voco™ hotels respectively. IHG has a promise to provide True Hospitality for everyone, which is delivered by more than 400,000 colleagues working across IHG’s hotels and corporate offices globally. It is also home to global loyalty programme, IHG® Rewards Club, which has more than 100 million enrolled members.

Six Senses Yao Noi, Thailand