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IHG Americas CEO Spearheads Luxurious and Life-style Revival



Skift Take

Jolyon Bulley grew to become IHG’s CEO of the Americas in July. He goals to carry a “China pace” tempo to luxurious and way of life lodge progress within the group’s largest area.


Jolyon Bulley grew to become IHG’s CEO of the Americas in July 2023. He has large footwear to fill — his predecessor, Elie Maalouf, ascended to group CEO.

Skift spoke with Bulley about IHG’s technique this week throughout the Americas Lodging Funding Summit (ALIS) in Los Angeles.

Bulley spent the previous 5 years doubling the lodge group’s portfolio in China. He goals to carry that very same speedy metabolism with him — he calls it “China Pace.”


Leaning into Luxurious and Life-style

IHG’s half-dozen luxurious and way of life manufacturers symbolize 22% of its international pipeline for lodge improvement — virtually double the share of 5 years in the past.

“I see big progress for us within the Americas,” Bulley mentioned. “All I would like now could be to get a few of these great properties to open up and present our supply to the market.”

One impediment to progress: IHG hasn’t had a powerful fame amongst homeowners for luxurious in North and South America. True, flagship model InterContinental stays the biggest luxurious model on this planet, with 216 properties. But it stagnated within the 2000s and early 2010s.


Bulley has helped lead a revival. IHG is modernizing the model’s eating places, bars, and decor to enchantment to youthful vacationers. About 90 InterContinentals are within the works. Renovations are happening at accommodations in Atlanta, Chicago, and Miami.

Regent was one other model Bulley’s staff refreshed. The primary Regent within the U.S. has been plagued with delays however is ready to open in Santa Monica Seashore this yr.

IHG purchased Six Senses in 2019. Eight latest signings will triple the portfolio to 38. Within the U.S., it has signed a deal to create a resort with branded residences in Napa Valley.

The brand new decor and design of a visitor room at InterContinental Inns & Resorts. Supply: IHG.

Luxurious and Life-style Lodge Expertise

As IHG scales up in luxurious and way of life, it should add staff with operations, technique, and lodge improvement experience. Bulley’s precedence has been on ability constructing and profession improvement inside IHG. For instance, it has been making it simpler for workers to see potential profession progressions.

“They’ll now see that the aspirations they’ve had earlier than could be realized, both inside a model or throughout the manufacturers,” Bulley mentioned.

On the senior degree, Bulley championed a re-organization that consolidated management for the group’s luxurious and way of life accommodations for a coherent technique. In March, for example, IHG will transfer Leanne Harwood from her position in main progress in Japan to senior vice chairman and managing director of luxurious and way of life manufacturers within the Americas.

“There’s a short-term tactic of rising your functionality by buying expertise,” Bulley mentioned. “However the long-term path is rising it.”


The transfer is a part of a multi-year overhaul in construction.

One other instance: Kathleen Reidenbach had been chief business officer of Kimpton, a way of life model, the place she centered simply on that model’s progress. IHG then elevated her to senior vice chairman of promoting and business, luxurious and way of life, Americas. Reidenbach now has her eyes on the six IHG luxurious and way of life manufacturers.

“We’ve put up an umbrella throughout the posh and way of life class so we could be way more environment friendly on back-end selections and avoiding redundancies and ensure every model is studying from the others,” Bulley mentioned. “The construction can be about ensuring that we don’t confuse the client or the homeowners and that every model has its distinct swim lane.”

A visitor room on the Kimpton Qiantan Shanghai Lodge. Supply: IHG.

Shifting at ‘China Pace’

Bulley hopes to leverage his expertise as IHG’s CEO for Better China, the group’s second-largest market after North America.

“From the viewpoint of the patron panorama there, financial improvement has led to a rising up of the center class and an acceleration of digital know-how adoption that requires gamers to be nimble,” Bulley mentioned. “You’ve acquired to have agility, pace, flexibility, and decisiveness. I’ll carry a few of these Chinese language components and my very own management traits to assist us transfer sooner within the Americas.”

Bulley mentioned that traders have tended to give attention to IHG’s profitable enterprise in scaling up lodge improvement in China, which is generally a home journey market.

Nonetheless, the outbound journey market, which was about 150 million a yr earlier than the pandemic, is simply as necessary as a result of it’s a long-term play for IHG, he mentioned.


By getting Chinese language vacationers conversant in its manufacturers and by making its abroad accommodations pleasant to Chinese language vacationers, comparable to by accepting their most popular modes of cost, IHG could also be setting itself up for many years of progress.

“There are nuances in serving the outbound Chinese language traveler,” Bulley mentioned. “We’re investing in serving these vacationers higher than anybody else at goal accommodations and locations.”

For context, learn: Each One among IHG’s Lodge Manufacturers, Defined.


Lodging Sector Inventory Index Efficiency 12 months-to-Date

What am I taking a look at? The efficiency of accommodations and short-term rental sector shares inside the ST200. The index consists of firms publicly traded throughout international markets, together with worldwide and regional lodge manufacturers, lodge REITs, lodge administration firms, different lodging, and timeshares.

The Skift Journey 200 (ST200) combines the monetary efficiency of practically 200 journey firms value greater than a trillion {dollars} right into a single quantity. See extra accommodations and short-term rental monetary sector efficiency.


Learn the total methodology behind the Skift Journey 200.

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