Beirut, Lebanon, September 23, 2002: InterContinental Hotels & Resorts announced today that it is seeing the benefit of an ongoing $1 billion investment to improve the quality of its hotels and establish the brand in even more key destinations around the globe.
Complementing this investment, which will be complete in 2004, InterContinental is also launching a host of new service initiatives that will further strengthen the brand’s position as the premier hotel brand for today’s international business traveller.
Details were announced today during press conferences and official receptions taking place at seven key InterContinental destinations around the world - Beirut, Chicago, Hong Kong, London, New York, Sao Paulo, and Tokyo. The launch for the Middle East and Africa took place at the InterContinental Phoenicia Beirut, one of 42 InterContinental hotels currently under management across the region by Six Continents Hotels, and one of three InterContinental properties in Lebanon.
Six Continents PLC, the parent company of InterContinental, is investing the $1 billion refurbishing major InterContinental properties around the world, including those in New York, Miami, Vienna, Budapest, Madrid and San Francisco and in acquiring new hotels, such as the prominent Inter-Continental in Hong Kong, to add to Inter-Continental’s 140 hotel portfolio.
In conjunction with property improvements and the launch of new services, InterContinental’s 40,000 employees worldwide have undergone extensive training to support the services being introduced for the international business traveller.
Thomas R. Oliver, chairman and chief executive officer of Six Continents Hotels said: “InterContinental has a long history of serving the needs of international travellers. When we purchased the InterContinental hotel family four years ago, we could have launched a big advertising campaign. But we didn’t. We wanted to get all the elements of the hotel brand back to the pioneering quality that made it famous.
“This investment reflects that effort. We’ve modernised properties, bought properties, and driven new service standards across the globe. We are particularly aware of the special needs of today’s business traveller and are also adapting many standard hotel services to ensure those needs are catered for as an utmost priority.”
“Following extensive research in over 25 countries we’re introducing a host of new initiatives to meet and exceed our guests needs. We’ve substantially reduced check-in and check-out times, improved travellers’ ability to keep in touch from our hotels, and ensured that guests can get exactly what they need whenever they need it.
“We’ve also provided practical packs and advice so guests are guaranteed to get the best from their stay - whether that’s understanding local tipping customs or knowing the best places to shop.”
InterContinental knows what it takes to make today’s business traveller confident and comfortable. A series of initiatives are being introduced today at every InterContinental hotel around the globe to ensure consistently excellent service wherever guests go:
Global Connections are designed to help travellers stay in touch with their office, home and local communities. InterContinental has developed WorldLink (patent pending), a device that allows travellers to connect a laptop without carrying special cables or adapters. In addition, guests will have access to their local newspaper or television station, selecting from a choice of over 150 publications and stations.
In An Instant initiatives improve the speed and efficiency of service from check-in to checkout. Priority Club Rewards guests can have their details pre-registered, saving almost three quarters of the time it would normally take to check-in and checkout. The “Instant Service” button - the twenty-first century equivalent of a butler - means that by pressing just one button, guests can access any hotel service required.
Around The Clock services keep the doors open 24 hours, so any time is the right time to call for room service, a valet, send a fax or visit the gym.
Little Things Make A Difference are exactly that: little things that help guests to feel prepared for the day ahead. Hotel concierges can provide InterContinental Insiders’ Guides to the City, Insiders’ Shopping Programmes, a Jet Lag Recovery Kit and a Currency Pack containing small change and advice on local tipping. Local currency can be added to the hotel bill, making expenses easier to reclaim.
Mr. Oliver added, “Our guests work around the globe and occasionally around the clock, and we know that the better we do our job, the easier it will be to do theirs. Our goal is to make InterContinental hotels the place to stay for international travellers who expect a high level of service that reflects the unique attributes of the 122 cities we serve.”
Last month, all InterContinental hotels were migrated to a new, advanced central reservations system - Holidex®Plus. This allows the hotels to mix and match room rates and room types to provide guests with a more personalised service and gives them greater flexibility in designing packages to meet guest requirements. It also ensures that all the InterContinental hotel inventories are available to travel bookers who are searching for a hotel in any of the company’s hotel brand websites.
The reshaping of the brand is supported by a global $25 million advertising and marketing campaign, which launches globally today. In celebration of the changes, a series of parties and events are also being launched to over 1500 key InterContinental clients today in London, New York, Hong Kong, Beirut, Tokyo, Sao Paulo and Chicago.
The Middle East’s growing chain of InterContinental hotels are located in Saudi Arabia (11), Egypt (5), Lebanon (3), UAE (3), Oman (2), and one each in Bahrain, Jordan and Qatar. Another 15 InterContinental hotels are located between East, West and South Africa.