InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has just launched its newest hotel brand, called Vignette Collection.
Basics of new IHG Vignette Collection
Historically IHG has lagged when it comes to its luxury portfolio. Fortunately this is an area where the company has been improving — IHG first acquired Kimpton, then Regent, and then Six Senses, all while growing its luxury footprint with existing brands organically. On top of that, IHG has a marketing partnership with Mr. & Mrs. Smith, opening up luxury properties around the world.
IHG is now formally launching a new luxury & lifestyle collection brand. The plan is to allow independent luxury hotels to join IHG with minimal conversion costs, allowing them to retain their distinctive identity, while benefitting from IHG’s distribution power and loyalty program. This will be along the lines of Hilton Curio Collection, Hyatt Unbound Collection, or Marriott Autograph Collection. IHG is hoping to grow this new brand to over 100 properties globally in the next decade.
The first two hotels to join IHG’s Vignette Collection will be the following:
- Hotel X, a 5-star hotel in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley
- Pattaya Aquatique, located in Pattaya’s Aquatique District
Here’s how Keith Barr, IHG’s CEO, describes the new brand:
“Our new Vignette Collection gives IHG a compelling way to welcome world-class independent hotels into our brand family, combining each property’s distinctive identity with the power of our global scale. As our first hotels in Australia and Thailand both showcase, each property is as unique as the next, and all will be endorsed by IHG’s trusted reputation for quality.
We’ve been strategic with the enhancements we’ve made to our Luxury & Lifestyle portfolio in recent years, which at more than 400 hotels and 100,000 rooms is the second largest in the industry. We’ve built on the heritage and global success of our InterContinental brand, with the rapid international expansion of Kimpton and Hotel Indigo, and acquisitions of Six Senses and Regent. We expect to attract more than 100 Vignette Collection hotels in 10 years, and the brand will be key to delivering our ambition of industry-leading net rooms growth.”
Here’s a video IHG has published about the new brand (why do all new brand videos have to basically be the same?):
This new brand makes sense for IHG
A big focus for the major hotel groups in recent years has been converting existing independent hotels, rather than just signing contracts for new hotels. For existing hotels joining a brand, the “independent” hotel collection concept makes a lot of sense. That’s because hotel conversion costs are low with this model, since hotels can maintain their own design, rather than having to go full-on cookie cutter.
This gives independent hotels the upside of a global hotel group’s distribution power and loyalty program, all without paying much money upfront.
A couple of years ago IHG launched the Voco brand, which is also an independent hotel group concept, except it’s a bit lower end (it’s “upscale” rather than “luxury”). This new brand is clearly intended to be a bit higher end, so in Marriott terms you can think of this as Tribute Portfolio vs. Luxury Collection.
I’m curious to see how fast this new brand grows for IHG, given that just about all of the major hotel groups have independent luxury collections nowadays:
- On the one hand, I don’t think IHG has quite as loyal of a following as some of the other major hotel groups
- On the other hand, perhaps hotels will like that IHG’s loyalty program benefits are cheaper and easier to provide; IHG doesn’t offer elite members free breakfast, a guaranteed upgrade benefit, guaranteed late check-out, etc. (though I do wonder if these hotels might participate in the InterContinental Ambassador program, in addition to IHG Rewards Club)
IHG has officially launched Vignette Collection, a new luxury & lifestyle independent hotel group. This is a segment that has become popular with the major global hotel groups in recent years, but it’s a market that IHG hasn’t really gotten into.
IHG has Voco, which is a similar concept but lower end, and IHG also has Kimpton, which offers hotels that each have their own charm, but are still fairly consistent. This new brand will allow just about any independent luxury hotel to join IHG without spending that much on the conversion process.
What do you make of IHG’s new Vignette Collection brand?