InterContinental rolls out new Hualuxe hotel brand for China
InterContinental Hotels will open up to three of its new Hualuxe hotels in China next year, the first of a Chinese-specific brand it hopes to eventually roll out globally.
One of the world's largest hoteliers, with brands such as Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza and InterContinental, it said the first Hualuxe hotel would open within weeks and it had identified more than 100 Chinese cities for sites in the next 15 to 20 years.
InterContinental Hotels said its China business was a key growth prospect and had generated 12 per cent of the group's US$668 million operating profit last year. The country already had 227 hotels open across its brands and 180 more in the pipeline.
"We see the China opportunity of one based on urbanisation, GDP growth, a rising middle class and increasing consumption," InterContinental Hotels' Greater China chief executive Kenneth Macpherson said. "Hualuxe has a very high priority, we see it as complimentary to the existing portfolio and there is a real opportunity there."
Hualuxe would cater for the Chinese traveller, with tea houses the focus over hotel bars and lobbies that looked more like gardens, as InterContinental Hotels aims to tap into a rising number of domestic travellers that is forecast to hit 3.3 billion next year.
InterContinental Hotels said it had 24 Hualuxe hotels in the pipeline, including in major destinations such as Beijing and Shanghai. The firm had signed deals with property investors once a month on average since the brand was unveiled in 2012, Macpherson said.
Room prices will vary by city but will sit broadly between the Crowne Plaza and InterContinental brands.
Should the brand succeed in China, Macpherson said there was a "great opportunity" to expand it to global travel hubs such as Paris, Milan and London, aimed at Chinese business travellers and luxury shoppers.