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Transforming the guest experience at IHG

InterContinental Hotel Group
Attracting new kinds of customers calls for a fresh brand experience. For InterContinental Hotels, the investment paid for itself in both customer advocacy and business growth.

InterContinental wanted to attract clientele who were looking for more than just a night’s stay. Interbrand’s research identified a new target customer: Well-traveled, adventurous, and in search of an authentic experience. This led to a totally new brand proposition: In the know. As in, “InterContinental is the brand for people in the know, people who value the genuine travel experiences money can’t buy.”

However, there’s no value in repositioning a brand if it won’t lead to business growth. Financial and statistical modeling made it clear that staff interactions and the room itself are the main touchpoints driving customer advocacy. Our business case analysis revealed that improving these areas could deliver over $60 million in profit. This more experiential brand identity wasn’t just for show, it would generate real value, repositioning InterContinental Hotels as the gateway to the “real” city. Working hands-on with staff was the first step in empowering them to deliver the new brand, encouraging them to put themselves into guests’ shoes to better share tips and local knowledge. A new concierge concept touting their insider knowledge launched in hotels and online in tandem. Content for each hotel’s concierge page was leanly repurposed for printed materials and video screens onsite. A new philosophy around room experience uses smart technologies and streamlined design combined with a sense of place and locality to help bring the city into the room.

The impact was immediate. In the following year, there was a 10 percent increase in brand consideration, a 12 percent increase in revenue per room, and a 26 percent rise in share price. Transforming the brand experience becomes common sense when the benefits are backed up by real, strong metrics.

"Interbrand translated the idea into brand icons to ensure that it was embedded across key touchpoints in the customer journey." - David Anderson, VP
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