ha+d speaks to Andrew Gill, IHG's VP of development for Europe

Classic guestroom at the Paris Le Grand hotel

IHG's InterContinental brand has nine hotels in its Europe pipeline in London, Milan, Moscow, Marseille, Porto, Kittsee, Davos, Tbilisi and Belgrade, representing a mixture of new builds and conversions, said Andrew Gill, IHG's VP of development for Europe.

Of note, the InterContinental Moscow Tverskaya and InterContinental Porto-Palacio das Cardosas, a conversion of a historic, 250-year-old building, will open this year, and IHG was part of a bigger team that worked together to win the bid to convert a historical building in Lyon into an InterContinental hotel. The InterContinental London Westminster, set to open in 2012, will be located in the former Queen Anne’s Chambers, which were built in the 19th century.

Gill noted that IHG is seeing a trend “away from unbranded or independent hotels towards the stronger hotel brands. A strong hotel brand makes financing a lot easier to secure. It brings comfort on revenue delivery and due to the power of the brand can significantly reduce a hotel’s cost of sale,” he said.

Eastern Europe is certainly on IHG’s radar.

“There is a need for branded hotels in significant growth markets such as Turkey, Russia, Ukraine and Poland,” he said. He said currently, 60 percent of the world’s hotel rooms are unbranded and 40 percent are branded. Gill predicted that by 2015 that statistic will skew to be 40 percent unbranded and 60 percent branded.

“In Moscow alone, there are roughly 9,000 international standard rooms, which is equivalent to around just 10 percent of the hotel rooms in London or Paris. Kiev has only six internationally branded hotels, four of which are ours. This means there’s still huge room growth for branded hotels in these markets,” Gill said.

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