InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) Case Study

IHG

Increased visibility brings 40% bookings growth after selecting Sabre Hospitality Solutions to spotlight IHG’s United Arab Emirates portfolio

Click here to download the PDF version

Helping IHG Stand Out in a Crowded Marketplace

Competition in today’s hospitality industry can be fierce, especially when competing in a major market. While most hoteliers understand the importance of standing out from the competition, the question of how to effectively do so on travel agent systems can be a complex one. Sabre Hospitality Solutions is proud to bring a standard of consultative excellence to the table in solving this common hotelier problem and providing strong solutions with quick implementations. Once a hotel’s unique guest experience is set, how do they effectively position their hotel as the best option for a travel agent to promote? Travel agents can be valuable partners in driving consistent bookings and increasing room nights, but in order to attract the top agents, hoteliers need a technology partner capable of optimizing sales and distribution on various industry travel distribution systems.

“When undergoing the process of selecting a strategic partner to help us maximize our online bookings for all of our UAE hotel properties, we realized the importance of having access to an established network of business travelers to raise our ADR. Sabre had a complete solution that placed our hotels and their unique offerings directly in front of more travel agents, enabling them to directly promote to a greater number of business travelers right at the time of their booking.”
 
Angelo Vassiliades
Senior Campaign Marketing Manager – India, Middle East & Africa | IHG

InterContinental Abu Dhabi IHG

InterContinental Abu Dhabi // IHG

The IHG Brand

An international hospitality leader, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has more than 5,000 hotel properties with over 800,000 rooms in nearly 100 countries. IHG is equally committed to expansion and currently has over 1,900 hotels under development. Their many brands span across mainstream, upscale and luxury segments with each built on the company’s foundation of delivering great experiences guests love.

Outside the Americas, EMEA, India, and Asia represent IHG’s second-largest collection of properties with more than 1,000 hotels. One specific area of growth and development is the United Arab Emirates (UAE), well recognized as one of the fastest developing countries in the world for hospitality. Presently in the UAE, IHG’s portfolio is comprised of 20 different hotels, including the InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, voco Dubai, Hotel Indigo (2020), Staybridge Suites, Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express, plus another four brand new hotels currently in their development pipeline.

Challenges Facing IHG in United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates has long been recognized as a premier tourism and leisure destination.

The latest data from Alpen Capital’s GCC Hospitality Industry Report shows that by 2022, the UAE’s hospitality market is expected to reach $7.6 billion, growing at a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.5% between 2017 and 2022.

As a result, the biggest names in the international hospitality industry have invested heavily in the UAE, with many planning for aggressive expansion. Adding to the competition, the UAE has developed brand names of its own, such as DAMAC, Emaar and Jumeirah.
An ongoing catalyst for the expansion of the Emirati hospitality industry is the upcoming 2020 World Exposition, an international mega event. Expo 2020 Dubai anticipates 25 million visitors over the six-month-long exposition from October 2020 to April 2021, and the growth pattern is expected to continue.

Consequently, IHG found itself facing a number of market dynamics that directly impacted its performance: proliferation of new hotel openings and increased inventory, a blockade in Qatar, and other influences have led to a squeeze on rates and suppression of ADR (it was the highest in the world, but has been stifled because of additional supply entering the UAE market).

As a result, IHG was searching for a proven solution to help their properties stand out and attract more guests in order to increase their overall bookings and boost ADR.

InterContinental Abu Dhabi IHG
InterContinental Abu Dhabi // IHG

Implementing a Solution Designed to Maximize Visibility at the POS

After consulting with several different hospitality technology partners, IHG chose to leverage Sabre’s industry-leading expertise and extensive international travel distribution system knowledge (GDSs). The SHS team quickly went to work thoroughly reviewing IHG’s needs, analyzing the various market nuances and listening to their business objectives. To capture additional occupancy and push ADR, the team implemented a Sabre GDS Media (PromoSpots) program targeting both the UAE tourism market and corporate business travelers to drive bookings and ADR. This GDS centric marketing campaign allowed IHG to highlight their unique UAE hotel content at travel agents’ Point Of Sale (POS) while the agents shopped and booked their customers’ travel itineraries.

Prior to using Sabre GDS Media, IHG did not have a campaign focused on the entire UAE market; it was fractured and not holistic. Each hotel was running their own individual GDS based marketing activations. Not only was each promotion and marketing objective different, individual hotels faced budget constraints that provided limited market reach, and produced less than desired results.

After switching over to Sabre GDS Media, IHG was better able to market their entire UAE portfolio and available inventory, plus capitalize on a larger marketing budget to maximize their spend and ROI. Additionally, this new solution allowed IHG to create campaigns that strategically aligned with their main business objective as well as build and maintain momentum throughout the duration of the campaign.

Placing UAE Hotels in the Spotlight Yielded Visible Results

IHG GDS Media results

Sabre was able to help IHG leverage the extensive functionality and global reach of its GDS to enhance distribution and achieve a higher ADR, while also attracting more travel agents to sell their UAE properties. More importantly, the partnership between Sabre and IHG produced a significant overall performance gain since implementing Sabre GDS Media, producing a 40% increase in bookings and 15% increase in room nights booked YOY. More specifically, its Hotel Spotlight capability placed IHG’s hotels at the top of the search display with top-tier positioning.

Extensive research has shown that top-ranked hotels are 4x more likely to be booked by 425,000 travel agents who book $10 billion in hotels each year. In fact, hoteliers using Hotel Spotlight stay top of mind, outperforming their competition in 99% of the markets.

IHG also utilized the PromoSpots feature, which allowed them to promote their properties to travel agents at the point of decision. This provided IHG the ability to deliver relevant messages to agents in real-time, when they’re shopping and booking travel, based on their searches. Together, Sabre’s Hotel Spotlight and PromoSpots services gave IHG a powerful marketing duo to drive bookings, increase share and raise familiarity of their hotels in a highly competitive space. In addition, Sabre GDS Media provided IHG full access to insightful reporting to measure performance and track revenue, including bookings and ADRs, conversion rates, agent shopping behavior and campaign results.

Fujairah Resort IHG
Fujairah Resort // IHG

Proven Record of Delivering Measurable Results

Serving more than 40,000 hotels, resorts and chains across 174 countries, Sabre Hospitality Solutions has the experience and international reach the hospitality industry looks to for results-driven solutions that unlock new revenue opportunities. With a seasoned team of digital marketing and design experts, the team is proud to offer collaborative, effective digital strategies for all hoteliers. Having facilitated over 130 million total annual bookings, driving room revenue of $25.2 billion, Sabre Hospitality Solutions is trusted by IHG and hotel firms large and small to maximize value and optimize the process of facilitating a greater number of bookings and increasing ADR. Together, let’s immerse guests in your hotel, your city, your culture, your experience. One powerful platform fuels it all, SynXis.

Contact us to learn how we can optimize your distribution channels and increase conversions for your hotel or chain.