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October 24, 2018
IHG Executives Detail Relaunch of Luxury Regent Brand
Originally launched in 1971, Regent Hotels & Resorts is being updated and earmarked for extensive growth in the luxury segment as IHG looks to capitalize on its 51% ownership stake in the Asian-influenced brand.Seven months after acquiring a 51% stake in Regent Hotels & Resorts from Formosa International Hotels Corporation, InterContinental Hotels Group executives on Thursday unveiled the first look at the brandÕs relaunch, in conjunction with the Hotel Investment Conference Asia Pacific.
Speaking during a press briefing at the iconic InterContinental Hong Kong, which will convert to the Regent flag in the near future, the executives said the luxury brand will sit at the apex of IHGÕs brand family.
A rate premium in the range of 30% to 40% above a typical InterContinental Hotel is anticipated for Regent, according to Jolyon Bulley, CEO of Greater China for IHG.
ÒTheyÕre going to need that for the return on investment and the economics of it,Ó he said. ÒItÕs a significant capital investment that will go into delivering the brand.Ó
IHG will manage all Regent properties, rather than franchising with third-party management companies, Bulley said.
ÒInitially we expected the interest from the owner community to be very much Asian-based because Regent has such strong heritage here,Ó he said. ÒSince we announced the acquisition, weÕve had unprecedented interest coming out of the Middle East, where Regent really doesnÕt have a heritage, from Europe and also out of the U.S. as well.Ó
IHG will be selective on how it grows Regent, Bulley added.
ÒWe really see the brand going from six hotels today to 40 over the medium term,Ó he said. ÒItÕs going to be very much a side-by-side partnership.Ó
ÒWe want to be in key gateway cities and key gateway resorts where thereÕs luxury demand,Ó added Justin Channe, managing director of Regent Hotels & Resorts.
The company announced Thursday the signing of a deal with Multibay Development to build a Regent property in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Bulley said he doesnÕt anticipate many current InterContinental Hotel properties converting to the Regent brand, but there have been selective conversations about it.
ÒThere would be a selective fewÑI would say three to four would probably be in the rangeÑbut no plans at this point in time for any further conversions,Ó he said. ÒItÕs just the story of this one is so strong.Ó
The iconic InterContinental Hong Kong, located on Victoria Harbour, was built as a Regent in 1980 and will revert to that name, Bulley said. The plan is for the property to close in 2020 for the conversion to Regent in 2021. It had been scheduled to close for major renovations last year, but that plan was scuttled when IHG acquired the Regent brand.
ÒItÕs a billion-dollar asset, this hotel,Ó Bulley said. ÒThe investment is going to be significant. We are going to close this hotel for at least a year.Ó
IHGÕs acquisition and relaunch of the Regent brand is all about reaching a growing consumer segment, executives said. By 2025, the luxury accommodations segment will be worth $95 billion, according to Channe.
ÒRegent is perfectly positioned in our uppermost luxury brands to maximize on this opportunity,Ó he said.
Tom Rowntree, VP of global luxury brands for IHG, said three things are driving the luxury segmentÕs growth:
The timing of the Regent brand relaunch coincides with its 50th anniversary, approaching in 2021, executives said. The brand was founded in 1970.
ÒThe worldÕs best luxury brands all have a heritage and history that makes their credibility absolutely undeniable,Ó Rowntree said. ÒAs do we with the Regent brand.Ó
The relaunch is similar to the philosophy of the brand at its inception, he said.
ÒIt had a very clear vision at the time, and that was to create a new style of luxury for new luxury consumers,Ó Rowntree said. ÒItÕs amazing how history comes full circle.
ÒWe have the amazing opportunity now to take this truly esteemed brand and reimagine it for a new era,Ó said Ginger Taggart, VP of global brand strategy at IHG.
IHG has crafted new elements pulling from the legacy and heritage of the Regent brand, she said.
According to Taggart, Regent has four hallmarks that a service level will bring to life:
ÒThe very first one is the use of color,Ó Taggart said. ÒThe core color for Regent will be the color celadon, linked to the color of ancient Chinese pottery, which was once so special it could only be used by royalty.Ó
Other colors will accent the brandÕs historical design elements, said Sangeetha Ramkumar, global design director, luxury portfolio, for IHG.
ÒColor has a very strong history of the language of luxury,Ó she said. ÒWhat we brought here was not just any color. ItÕs really rich regal tones to make sure the brand comes to life in a way thatÕs quite familiar, but also done in a way thatÕs very fresh, very young and very different.Ó
Every lobby will have an awe-inspiring moment that could be a floral arrangement, lighting, sculptures or something else thatÕs artistic, Ramkumar said.
Front desks will be staggered to allow more privacy for guestsÑone of the personal havens the brand will feature.
ÒViews are very big for Regent,Ó Ramkumar said. ÒWe want to make sure that every property maximizes the views. Even if we donÕt have a view, we want to make sure that what we design outside É somehow is designed in the Japanese and beautiful Asian theme of Ôevery view is something for me to see.ÕÓ
Scents will also play an important role in RegentÕs experience, executives said.
It all boils down to a major renovation of an iconic luxury brand, Channe said.
ÒWe havenÕt forgotten the strong heritage and the DNA of the Regent brand,Ó he said. ÒWeÕve taken all that in, and built on that to make it meaningful for today and tomorrow.Ó
Copyright 2018 STR, Inc. All rights reserved. From http://www.hotelnewsnow.com. By Jeff Higley.
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