IHG Rebrands Itself With A New Program Name. Here’s Why You Don’t Care.

IHG, whose 16 brands include Intercontinental, Holiday Inn, and Crowne Plaza, has rebranded as IHG Hotels & Resorts. And they’ve changed the name of their loyalty program from IHG Rewards Club to IHG Rewards.

You don’t actually care,

  • IHG hasn’t articulated any consumer benefit to the rebrand
  • They haven’t taken the opportunity to pair this with brand improvements or new loyalty program benefits

Changing the name of the hotel company to add ‘hotels and resorts’ simply “reiterates the company’s collection of 16 brands that sit side by side as one family.”

Their new colors and font will “better tell the stories of the brand and make it more relevant and attractive to consumers – particularly a younger demographic of consumers, as well as hotel owners, colleagues and future talent around the world.”


New IHG Logo

And they’re dropping the world ‘club’ from the name of their loyalty program “to reflect the warm welcome that is available to all, with members able to make the most of their travels with exclusive rates, special benefits and easy ways to earn and redeem.”

One contribution they’ve offered along with the announcement is categorization for their brands although I’m not sure how useful these are,

Luxury/ Lifestyle Premium ‘Essential’ Suites
Six Senses HUALUXE Holiday Inn Atwell Suites
Regent Crowne Plaza Holiday Inn Express Staybridge Suites
InterContinental EVEN Hotels avid hotels Holiday Inn Club Vacations
Kimpton voco Hotels Candlewood Suites
Hotel Indigo

In this construct Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express are essentially the same thing, even though the former is meant to be full service and the latter limited service. Holiday Inn timeshares are the same as long-stay hotels. And somehow Hotel Indigo is on par with Six Senses and Regent?

In fairness, and relative to hotel baseline, program members haven’t been Bonvoyed with a new made up word nor have you been asked to become part of a worldwide conspiracy as a Globalist or a form of French cheese (Explorateur) with new elite monikers. So compared to recent rebrands by competitors they haven’t done badly. I just wish Hilton would restore the second ‘H’ that used to be a part of HHonors.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Haha, the Hyatt Globalist conspiracy. That is the best autoassociative description I’ve heard for that silly name.

  2. Indigo certainly fits the lifestyle heading, as does Kimpton. (Of course, Kimpton is lifestyle at the upper upscale level while Indigo is lifestyle at the upscale level.)

    Actually, I think it’s a bit more debatable if Intercontinental belongs in a column called luxury / lifestyle.

    Sure, upper upscale encompasses brands such as Hilton Grand Vacations, Marriott, Sheraton, Hyatt Regency, Hyatt Centric, Hilton, and Sheraton. And the average IC is a tad above the level of those. But apart from single properties (e.g., IC Singapore), it is really positioned a little below your typical “luxury” brand. I’m not a snob (like on the FT Luxury forum) which thinks that anything below an MO or Four Seasons cannot possibly be called luxury. But you gotta realize IC is positioned considerably below not just below MO and Four Seasons, but also brands such as Fairmont, Ritz Carlton, or St. Regis. I’m okay with calling Six Senses luxury, but IC is really a level below that and more on par with brands such as Sofitel.

  3. I agree with the double HH 🙂

    I still use it 😉

    I understand the InterContinental concern, although the ones I have stayed in have been very nice: Hong Kong (now rebranded), Tokyo (ANA & The Strings,) Sydney on the Quay, London Park Lane, Both DC ones, LA, both Downtown & Century City, SF Mark Hopkins, NYC Times Square, KC on the Plaza. Of course mostly using Ambassador Weekend Certs, 🙂

    Changing club (sic) name is interesting since I just got new touch less credit cards with old name 🙁

    I still have enough points for a couple more years of Ambassador renewals, as I would use points for hotel stays since status is not recognized on points stays 🙁

  4. Is it only me or does the font in the new IHG logo look like the newer Sheraton logo?

    Also, I’m not sure I’d put Intercontinental in the luxury category, let alone Hotel Indigo. Many Intercontinental properties are on par with a JW Marriott. Upscale, but not luxury.

  5. @Bill in DC – I am only Platinum but my status is recognized every time I check in (either paid stay or points) including usually a room upgrade. Not sure why you say that status isn’t recognized on points stays.

  6. I agree this rebranding is essentially meaningless to customers, but I will say the new IHG logo looks more elegant than the old font. So I guess I’d support the change if I were the CEO.

  7. People who question whether IC belongs in the luxury category apparently haven’t stayed in too many nice ICs. Having personally stayed at multiple IC, FS, RC, around the world, I can definitely say that IC belongs in the luxury category. In his post, John used the IC Singapore as an example of a luxury hotel – I have stayed here multiple times and it is definitely one of the lesser ICs. I usually stay at the IC Singapore when visiting and it is not as good as the IC’s in other cities.

  8. For whatever reason, the foreign IC hotels usually are more “luxurious” than the domestic ones.

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