InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) sees Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) as a huge growth opportunity, and plans to have 100 hotels open by 2020, the company announced today.
These hotels will create more than 8,000 new jobs for local people in addition to the 2,500 already working at hotels from the IHG family of brands across Russia and the CIS. IHG currently has 16 hotels across Russia and the CIS including 11 hotels in Russia.
IHG first entered Russia in 1998 when it opened the Holiday Inn Vinogradovo in Moscow. Thirteen years later, IHG is expanding into regional centres and new fast-growing cities with well-established business communities and tourist attractions such as Samara, Ekaterinburg, Chelyabinsk, Novosibirsk and others.
The company said it would continue to grow in Moscow and
St. Petersburg and work with local investors to introduce managed and franchised hotels across the country, where there is a need for internationally branded hotels.
Angela Brav, chief executive officer for IHG in Europe, said: “We see a huge opportunity to grow our hotel brands, such as Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn, in Russia. We want to help bring people from around Russia and the rest of the world to experience the country’s rich cultural heritage and natural wonders, from Red Square and the Kremlin in Moscow to the stunning Lake Baikal in Siberia.”
Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn are already well established in Moscow and St. Petersburg but there is still huge room for growth according to IHG.
Brav continued: “In Moscow alone, there are just over 9,000 international standard rooms, which is equivalent to around ten per cent of the hotel rooms in London so there is still a terrific opportunity for international hotel operators with a presence here. We’re working with Crocus Group to build Europe’s biggest Holiday Inn here in Moscow, with 1,000 rooms, due to open in 2014.”
IHG also plans to introduce its newest brand Hotel Indigo into Russia in Moscow and St. Petersburg where the company sees significant potential for growth. Hotel Indigo caters for guests who want a boutique hotel experience without sacrificing the reassurance and benefits of booking with a big hotel company.
Aron Libinson, IHG’s vice president for development in Russia and CIS, said: “We aim to grow our presence in Russia by more than six times in the next decade. We believe the demand for all our brands will continue to grow over the next 10 years as domestic travel increases and greater numbers of businesspeople and tourists travel to Russia from overseas.”
IHG also announced it was opening the Moscow branch of the IHG Academy in February 2012 to deliver international standard hospitality training in Russia. There will be 15-20 places on the three year course, which will see students spending four days a week in hotels from the IHG family of brands, and one day a week at the Moscow State University of Tourism.
The course will also include a three month work experience placement where students will work in a hotel outside Russia. Once qualified, students will have the opportunity to apply for jobs at supervisory level.
Around the world, through the IHG Academy, the company works with local education providers to help people gain real experience of working in a hotel and to improve their chances of finding jobs in the hotel sector. This creates local economic opportunity and a talent pipeline for hotels from the IHG family of brands.
IHG has 11 hotels (3,397 rooms) in Russia and five hotels (1,123 rooms) in the CIS; eight hotels (2,636 rooms) in the development pipeline in Russia, due to open in the next three to four years, and two hotels (435 rooms) in the pipeline in the CIS.
In November 2011, IHG’s luxury InterContinental brand returns to Russia after a decade away with the opening of InterContinental Moscow Tverskaya. The 203-room hotel will open on Russia’s most famous street creating 260 new jobs for local people.