Home' Hotel Management : HM JUNE 2016 Contents global [hotel new project] pipeline and billions of dollars we can spend on marketing
and on technology. So we're very comfortable with our position and we'll keep an eye on
what happens elsewhere, but it's not a key driver for us at all.
There has been a lot of talk about Kimpton recently. How do you
see the growth of that brand in Asia Pacific? As you know there are
a lot of boutique hotels coming up at the moment and obviously
Kimpton has the strength of IHG behind it alongside your other
brand Indigo. There is a lot of potential for growth isn't there?
Yes there is. With Hotel Indigo we have a fantastic boutique brand at an upscale price
point and we added Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants, as I said. The boutique sector is one
of the fastest growing in the industry globally and with Hotel Indigo and Kimpton we now
have the largest boutique business. So, I see tonnes of opportunity in Asia and in Australia
particularly. We just announced a few weeks ago the first Kimpton outside the US. We
signed a deal in Amsterdam, we've got several others in Europe and pushing the team here
[in Australasia] because we see a lot of opportunity and it's a unique brand, Kimpton with
the heritage that it has and the restaurant expertise, so there is tonnes of opportunity.
A lot of the markets globally are performing well, so
how do you see those markets at the moment?
You know, we're an industry that's always had ups and down, you get some doing better
and some doing worse. For us, we've seen very consistent growth around the world
actually and in 2015 we announced revenue growth between 8% and 9% in most markets.
In some markets like China, it's adding a lot of new hotels; while in the US it's actually
better performance in the exciting hotels. So there are different dynamics, but people
need to travel for business, for leisure, [and] hotel revenues grow ahead of GDP, so in a
world where GDP is growing -- maybe not as fast as it was -- there are real opportunities
for hospitality and we're seeing very significant growth.
Let's talk about leadership. You [were in Sydney] for the General Managers
meeting for the Asia-Pacific region and when it comes to leadership,
particularly with Aussies, Jolly Bulley is doing very well in the United
States, Karin Sheppard here in Australasia and Japan, and Keith Barr is
pretty much an Aussie for the amount of time he spent over here. Even
your predecessor Andy Cosslett was in Australia for a long time so there's
very Australian flavour in leadership globally with IHG isn't there?
You know our business well actually. Yes, Australia is a great market, it's competitive
and in fact it's one of the markets in the world where the global brands have a smaller
position than they do in many others, so it's a great training ground and we've seen
that. As you mentioned, many of our senior leadership team came from Australia, so
it's a market we're close to. We've been in here since the 60s and I think it's a great
heritage. I'm actually myself one quarter Australian. My grandfather was born in
Adelaide and moved to the UK where he met my grandmother. So I think that's an
important part of our group.
Tell us about the culture at IHG at the moment. Obviously
there are so many hotels in the pipeline. Is it a challenge for you
to find the sta to be able to sta these hotels, especially in
countries like China where the growth is really significant?
It is actually and the thing we worry about the most is getting the right quality people,
who have the right attitude and the right values to deliver against our brands. So,
recruitment is important, training is important and we have an initiative -- that's part of
our responsible business initiative -- that's called the IHG Academy where we partner
with local education establishments to train people. We have over 1000 of them globally
now, so it's one of our really important contributions to communities, but it also enables
us to train people who work the IHG way and understand our brands. A brand like
Holiday Inn Express that's new here in Australia requires the right approach and young
dynamic people are very important to us.
Some would say if you look at all of the hotel chains globally you're
the expert in corporate travellers. What are you doing to appeal
that that market? You're doing new rooms at Crowne Plaza primarily
for business travellers, so you know that market well don't you?
Yes we do. About 60% of our business is business travel but 40% is leisure and you have
to be an expert at both. So I think the important thing for us is understanding the guests
properly. I do think our industry's been a little slow in
understanding guests. We talk brand, but we tend to talk
physical product. We talk price point, economy, mid-
scale, upscale and those are not meaningful distinctions
to consumers, so we've done a lot of work on really
understanding the consumer, their needs, their occasion,
who they are and we built our business around that. So
Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants is filling a gap, and the
development we've done at Holiday Inn Express Sydney
Macquarie Park is fantastic. It's a great social space and
it's all about how people behave. So that's how you win.
Whether it's business travel or leisure travel it is really
understanding the guest.
Do you think because of your strength in
countries like China, when the Chinese go to
invest globally -- we're seeing that now with
IHG properties in California, in Australia
and around the world -- they're thinking IHG
because of the track record in those markets?
Yes, it is. Look, the relationships you have with owners
are absolutely crucial and one of the key pieces of our
winning strategy is drive and return for owners. So,
once they trust you, they'll work with you elsewhere.
You mentioned California... we've just announced a
Hotel Indigo and it's now under construction on the
West Coast. In fact, my European development team
were just in China with my Chinese development
team and took them to meet a Chinese owner who
we haven't worked with. But he likes us and wants to
do an InterContinental [hotel] in Europe. It's that
connectivity that's so important and also being able to
really drive return for owners through having brands
that deliver on the ground.
You've worked your way through this hotel
chain very successfully. What tips have you
got for some of the younger hoteliers out
there who want to succeed in this industry
and not go to industries like retail?
Look, I think it is a great business. There are powerful
brands, connections with customers and it's an on-the-
ground business. So, you're out of the corporate offices,
you're in the hotels and I think you've got to love this
business but it's hard work. You've got to like people, want
to give great service, create great experiences and if that's
what you're about, it's a great place to work. There are lots
of growth opportunities and lots to do. n
Holiday Inn Express Sydney Macquarie Park
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