Exclusive: IHG to bring Indigo brand to MidEast

First boutique hotel likely be announced in KSA or UAE within a year

IHG's senior vice president for sales and marketing - Asia, Middle East & Africa - Karin Sheppard
IHG's senior vice president for sales and marketing - Asia, Middle East & Africa - Karin Sheppard

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) is likely to announce the introduction of its boutique brand Hotel Indigo to the Middle East within a year.

 

IHG has 38 Hotel Indigo-branded properties globally, with 60 in the worldwide pipeline. While 10 of these pipeline properties are earmarked for the group’s Europe, Middle East and Africa market segment, no Hotel Indigo properties have yet been announced in the Middle East.

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However, expansion of the brand into the Middle East is “firmly on the agenda”, with a new property expected to be announced in the UAE or Saudi Arabia within the next 12 months, according to IHG’s senior vice president for sales and marketing – Asia, Middle East & Africa - Karin Sheppard.

 

“We would like to introduce Hotel Indigo to the Middle East in key capital cities and that’s something we’re working actively on.

 

“In the very near future, we’d certainly be able to announce what our intentions are. This is a brand that is typically a new build so in terms of when it will open, that could take a little longer,” Sheppard told Hotelier Middle East.

 

When asked which city the region’s first hotel would be launched in, Sheppard replied: “Obviously Saudi Arabia and the UAE are markets where we have a lot of focus so they would certainly be markets where we would like to see the brand get off to a good start, but that’s something that remains to be seen in terms of which city kicks off for us.”

 

Sheppard said a Hotel Indigo in the Middle East would be in the upscale pricing range and likely to feature around 200 rooms - larger than the brand’s properties located outside the region.

 

Plans for rolling out the Hotel Indigo brand are based on IHG's feasibility studies that have identified an opportunity for "a boutique brand with the reassurance of an international brand attached” worldwide, according to Sheppard.

 

“The boutique concept is something we see resonating well both with local and international travellers. The choice of boutique hotels currently comprises largely unknown brands or individual hotels, where the guest feels there may be a risk associated.”

 

The Hotel Indigo properties aim to provide intimate service and modern designs reflecting the local neighbourhood to attract the “upscale guest who is well-travelled, has an eye for design, an appreciation for art and is looking for something different.”

The first Hotel Indigo opened in the US in Atlanta’s Midtown area in 2004 and expanded outside the US, into the UK, in 2008 with the launch of Hotel Indigo London-Paddington.

 

The brand has continued to expand across the US and Europe. Last year, it entered Asia with the opening of Hotel Indigo Shanghai, China.

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