IHG taps Holiday Inn Express franchise model for China expansion

Jolyon Bulley, CEO, Greater China, IHG, has signed off on the company's franchise agreement with HK CTS Hotels.

InterContinental Hotels Group is taking a cue from its own playbook: To accelerate brand expansion throughout China, the hotel group has decided to extend its franchise model for Holiday Inn Express to the Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Resort brands.

According to IHG, the group has recorded positive results since the May 2016 launch of its Franchise Plus model for China, which the company attributes to driving growth for the brand. Through this model, IHG signed 68 hotels, six of which are already open, as activity is planned to pick up over the next 12 months. The Holiday Inn Express brand portfolio in Greater China now totals 95. The brand's pipeline has another 134 upcoming hotel projects, including 62 that are Franchise Plus.

IHG has more than 80 percent of its approximately 5,300-hotel global portfolio operating under franchise models. The company will grow this franchise business in China, teaming up with hotel management and operations partners along the way. 

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To jumpstart its new expansion strategy, IHG and long-term partner HK CTS Hotels will seek out opportunities for multiple hotels to be operated under a franchise model. As part of this, the group has signed three hotels on franchise agreements. The first, the existing Crowne Plaza Beijing Lido, will transfer from a managed to a franchise contract in early 2018. Also in early 2018, IHG's existing Holiday Inn Shanghai Pudong will transfer from a managed to a franchise deal now that the group has handed long-term partner Shanghai China Coal Mansion a franchise license. IHG will follow up these transfers with the rebranding of HK CTS Hotels’ Metropark Lido Hotel Beijing to Holiday Inn Beijing Lido in late 2018.