The InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has revealed plans to triple their number of hotels in Malaysia in the next five years.
The global pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on the hospitality sector as lockdowns, travel restrictions, closed borders and social distancing have severely affected business on a global scale.
But as owners focus on the long-term attractiveness of the industry, demand for IHG’s trusted brands continues to grow.
Rajit Sukumaran, Managing Director of South East Asia & Korea at IHG, said that they are aiming to triple the size of their estate in Malaysia in the next five years and so build further on the relationship with Malaysia.
“We currently have four hotels across three of our brands there, and we’re looking forward to extending that to more than 14 hotels across six brands within the next five years, which will be truly fantastic.
It’s already been exciting to see how we are rejuvenating our IHG portfolio in the country by opening outstanding hotels, such as the flagship Holiday Inn Johor Bahru City Centre last month, and we look forward to more,” he shared.
Rajit added that he was confident of IHG’s future success in Malaysia, despite the many difficulties faced by the hospitality industry because of Covid-19.
“History tells us that travel will return and, as demand comes back, we’ll be well-positioned to welcome guests to our hotels and continue to grow,” he highlighted.
“We have been able to re-open most of our hotels, and we are also still continuing to grow as we open and sign new properties. Globally, we opened more than 80 new hotels in Q3 and we also signed more than 80 hotels in the quarter which adds up to 263 signings this year – almost one a day. A clear sign that owners believe in our brands,” he mentioned.
Serena Lim, Vice President, Development, South East Asia & Korea, IHG explained that Malaysia is an important part of their overall growth strategy and the mainstream hotel segment is key to the company’s strategy in Malaysia.
“Mainstream travel is proving to be the most resilient to the crisis around the world, and it’s where we are seeing occupancy levels rebuild the quickest. We see it as key to our growth in peninsula Malaysia and East Malaysia, where we are seeking to unlock secondary markets such as Ipoh, Alor Setar, Kuching and Miri.
Our Holiday Inn brand family will be integral to our growth in the country. We already have nine properties in our pipeline, all of which reflect the latest Holiday Inn brand hallmarks of cutting-edge, modern and trendy design.
Holiday Inn has been in the country for more than a decade and we are delighted to be expanding its footprint. For instance, Holiday Inn Express has proved to be a great value proposition for owners and consumers, alike. It’s our fastest-growing brand across the globe, and it’s growing in Malaysia, too. We have two openings coming up – in Kota Kinabalu and Johor Bahru – and we’re already excited about what’s to come in the future.
We know that, when the pandemic is behind us, we will see more conversions as independent hotel owners look to bring the IHG brand strength, know-how, and system delivery to their hotels,” she further elaborated.
Serena continued to explain that another part of IHG’s strategy is to introduce new luxury and lifestyle brands to the country, such as Kimpton and Hotel Indigo, both of which are set to launch in Kuala Lumpur.
“We are thrilled to extend our selection of brands in Malaysia through the signings of Kimpton Kuala Lumpur at The Exchange TRX, and Hotel Indigo Kuala Lumpur on the Park.
In a post-Covid world, experiential travel will be a huge driver for our industry and these fantastic hotels will be a wonderful addition to our portfolio. We are also looking forward to opening our first Regent hotel in Malaysia – also in Kuala Lumpur,” she announced.
As part of its masterplan for the country, IHG is also planning on introducing one of the world’s largest upscale brands – Crowne Plaza – which will debut in Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu.
IHG’s confidence in the hotel industry’s ability to recover from the pandemic and thrive once more comes at the end of the most unexpected and challenging of years.
“Although a full industry recovery will take time, we’re confident in the steps we’ve taken to protect and support owners and drive demand back to our hotels when guests feel confident and safe to travel again.
The IHG Clean Promise, launched in June 2020, is a good example of how we have combined our knowledge and processes with cutting-edge expertise from specialists including Cleveland Clinic, EcoLab and Diversey.
We remain focused on leveraging the strength of our brands, scale and market positioning to recover strongly and grow this business moving forward,” Rajit said.
Additionally, he also emphasised that there are plans out there to grow aggressively. “We would not grow for the sake of it but we want to make a difference. The key focus is on localisation and to give job opportunities.”