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Kimpton in the Middle East: IHG sees potential growth, pursues aggressively

Kimpton Hotels, a sub-brand under the Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG) brand is poised for a massive expansion push in the Middle East after its parent company sees extensive growth opportunities for the brand in the region.

Having been bought by IHG in January 2015, Kimpton’s brand expanded beyond their existing American market by their first forays into Europe, with Amsterdam being their first city to open and Paris to follow soon after. However while Europe marks the beginning of the ‘internalization’ of the Kimpton brand, IHG intends on expanding further east towards the Middle East and eventually Asia as well.

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In a recent interview with Hotelier magazine, IHG COO Pascal Gauvin mentioned that:

“Europe is starting the internationalization of that brand and we will do the same as soon as we have the opportunity and we have the right partner. The first hotel of a brand is very critical, we have to make it right, right from the first day. We will be taking our time to see where we want to open it and whom we want to open it with as a partner, but definitely it will come [to this region].”

Where exactly in the Middle East the first Kimpton is to be opened is still up for debate, but Dubai or Abu Dhabi are being touted as the most likely options to begin with – Jeddah, Doha and Riyadh are further cities to explore down the pipeline.

According to Hotelier, there are currently 62 managed Kimpton hotels in the US (11,076 rooms) and a further 16 (3,128 rooms) in the pipeline. Kimpton also runs 76 destination restaurants and bars.

Does the introduction of the Kimpton line represent a threat to the W brand in the Middle East or Asia? Or is IHG’s foray into this market moot at this point with SPG’s massive existing footprint in the market?

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