Tips on Building a Hospitality Brand in China from InterContinental Hotels

November 4, 2010 By:Mary Winston Nicklin

InterContinental Shanghai Pudong

A fascinating Wall Street Journal interview with Andrew Cosslet, Chief Executive of InterContinental Hotels Group, dishes some food for thought. IHG was the first international chain to enter China in 1984 and will be opening four more hotels soon, bringing the total to 132 properties in China. Cosslet has learned some lessons on building a brand there, which he shared with The Wall Street Journal Scene:

1. Follow the pyramid. "Always enter a market with a five-star hotel, and then spread out from there with your boutique concepts and mid-market hotels."

2. Don’t skip breakfast. Apparently people like to eat breakfast, especially in midrange properties such as the Holiday Inn Express, an IHG brand. “We have these amazing cinnamon rolls in the U.S. as our trademark breakfast item,” says Mr. Cosslet. “In China, we are trying to develop a signature congee that really hits the spot.”

3. Be auspicious. The company takes feng shui seriously during the construction and designing process – beams are never placed over the ceilings and mirrors never face the bed directly, for example – and it always consults a master before scheduling an opening date.

4. Double the staff. The staff-to-customer ratio in IHG hotels in China is more than double that of elsewhere in the world.

5. Double the fun. “There are more banquets and parties in our properties in China than anywhere in the world,” says Mr. Cosslet, noting that events make up more than half of IHG’s food and beverage revenues in the region.


Related Hotels

Banyan Tree Bangkok

Sathon, Thailand

In this sprawling metropolis, Banyan Tree Bangkok stands out as a much-needed 'sanctuary for the senses' and a rejuvenating spa retreat. The Only All-suite Hotel, Banyan Tree Bangkok is situated in the heart of the Bangkok's... more >>

Style:
Classic Luxury
Rating:

Banyan Tree Bintan

Bintan Island, Indonesia

Hike in a rainforest teeming with giant trees and lush life, hillside terrain, secluded beaches and the sweet song of birdlife. Immerse yourself in a natural sojourn on Bintan island. Banyan Tree Bintan delivers views of the... more >>

Style:
Classic Luxury
Rating:

Banyan Tree Phuket

Cherngtalay, Thailand

An island paradise of golden sunsets and perfect moments, Phuket offers fine beaches, turquoise seas and warm sunny weather. Discover the romance and beauty of this island with Banyan Tree Phuket. This is a destination that... more >>

Style:
Classic Luxury
Rating:

Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra offers five-star accommodations close to the magnificent Angkor Wat, World Heritage. Experience this luxury resort - consistently rated as one of the best Siem Reap hotels - which combines between Khmer... more >>

Style:
Classic Luxury
Rating:

A proud prominent feature at the heart of Hanoi since 1901, the French colonial style Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi has a long tradition of welcoming playwrights, ambassadors and heads of state, a luxury place for many... more >>

Style:
Classic Luxury
Rating: