Why conversions aren’t just for luxury hotels

Holiday Inn Express
A Holiday Inn Express. (IHG Hotels and Resorts)

For conversions, the hotel industry tends to focus on luxury properties but that doesn’t always have to be the case.

Since the start of the pandemic companies have been looking for ways to bring existing assets into their portfolios with some actively looking lower down the market.

“What I like about the last 18 months within my company is we have really pushed ourselves and I think we have pushed the boundaries on some of our most hardcoded brands, whether that’s Holiday Inn, whether that’s Crowne Plaza or even Holiday Inn Express to do conversions with those brands,” said Willemijn Geels, VP development Europe at IHG Hotels & Resorts, speaking on a panel discussion at IHIF 2021.

Of course, most of the properties for those brands will be new builds but the company wants to maximise its growth opportunities.

“That’s for me the biggest take away or learning I would say internally in IHG, is how do we take those brands and without compromising the brand and the brand identity … [find] the way that sort of balances it,” she added.

Speaking on the same panel, Valerie Schuermans, VP Western and Central Europe at Radisson Hotel Group, said that it was important not to be solely focused on segmentation.

Radisson has two key brands for conversions, Radisson Collection focused at the top end and Radisson Individuals, which is more flexible.

”We need to look at experiences, how we can deliver that to our customer, how we can contribute with our distribution system with all our tools , when it comes to IT etc, on creating added value for an owner and then creating a 360 degree experience for our guests and the guests that are participating in the loyalty programme and that’s what our focus [is] on regardless of the segment,” she said.