IHG Turns Attention to Crowne Plaza

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Flush off the success of the Holiday Inn relaunch, InterContinental Hotels Group is at it again, this time with plans to reposition and remake its Crowne Plaza brand. That was the main message to nearly 5,000 attendees Monday at the 2011 IHG Americas Investors & Leadership Conference at the Venetian and Palazzo Alliance Resorts in Las Vegas.

The five-year plan from IHG will include three phases and take direct aim at improving the quality and consistency of Crowne Plaza. The goal is to reach a new target guest — “the striver” — who makes up 9% of all room stays, and is not loyal to any brand. Interestingly, it's the same guest, by name at least, that Choice targeted with its Cambria Suites brand several years ago (although with that brand's limited distribution, I guess the striver may still be looking for a hotel brand).

If IHG's plan comes to fruition, Crowne Plaza will become home to those 9% of people traveling for success, and the brand will bring higher rates and climb into the upper-upscale segment. The brand currently has 394 properties, and Janis Cannon, the brand leader, fully expects to lose 10% of those during this process.

The brand new look will be more modern, include new design and service hallmarks, or features, and also comes with a new Crowne Plaza logo and signage. The focus will be on an improved lobby, including the check-in experience, and also creative new f&b concepts.

Cannon says IHG learned a lot from its massive relaunch of the iconic Holiday Inn brand, specifically the importance of communication to all the stakeholders, and the help available from the owners association, IAHI.

The focus of IHG's conference has been on the brands, and the company's new term for itself, “brandhearted.” The focus of that, so far, has been on Crowne Plaza. “It's already a strong brand,” said Kirk Kinsell, IHG's new president of the Americas, “but it's not as crisply focused as the others.”

Check back to LHonline.com for a more complete look inside the plans for Crowne Plaza and a recap of the event later this week.

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