The IHG behemoth is growing, and how. Pascal Gauvin commands 28,833 rooms across 80 hotels operating in this region as of 30 June this year, and with 28 properties in the pipeline (7,326 rooms), Gauvin is as busy as ever.
In order to support the opening of many hotels in the next three to five years, the company is adding another 8,000 jobs in the coming years. This will take the operator to well over 30,000 employees in this region — a growth of around 30%. Human resources is a big focus for the operator — this year, the company has also received the 2017 Global Best Employer accreditation from Aon Hewitt. The accolade comes in IHG’s first year of participation in the global survey and is complemented by country-level accreditation in 46 out of the 64 countries assessed by Aon, representing 97% of its global workforce.
In the last 12 months, Gauvin has signed a number of properties, including the likes of the InterContinental Residences and Suites Business Bay, Crowne Plaza Business Bay, Holiday Inn Dubai Science Park, Holiday Inn Addis Ababa, and the Crowne Plaza Cairo, among others. Properties opened in the last year include the Holiday Inn Mutare in Zimbabwe, which is the third Holiday Inn-franchised property with African Sun Limited, and the Staybridge Suites Jeddah Alandalus Mall in Saudi Arabia, which is IHG’s first Staybridge Suites hotel in the Kingdom.
Since coming to power, Gauvin has signed and launched brands like Staybridge Suites and Hotel Indigo in the region. Notably, he’s revealed the ambition to bring the Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants brand to the Middle East. He tells Hotelier Middle East: “The brand has huge potential for growth outside the US, and we plan to capitalise on our scale, distribution systems, and the relationships with our owners to support its growth in the Middle East and Africa. Currently we are in discussions with several stakeholders on the brand’s debut in these markets.”
IHG is also set to see the debut of its first InterContinental hotel in Fujairah in October this year, and has signed an agreement with Bukhamseen Group Holding Company, a Kuwaiti business conglomerate, to build and operate IHG hotels exclusively in the State of Kuwait.
Career development for Gauvin has also been seen in the last 12 months. He reveals: “In 2017, my role was expanded to include Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia. We expect to open our first Holiday Inn in Algeria in the next three to six months. These are interesting new markets for IHG and we look forward to gaining more momentum there.”
Gauvin is definitely optimistic about the future. He says: “We are continuing to drive strong owner economics and develop strategic partnerships. We have invested in technology, namely the new guest reservation system, which will go live in AMEA in 2018. We are driving scale where it matters and our focused approach is paying off.”