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Hotelier to add 100 properties

INTERCONTINENTAL Hotels Group, the world's largest hotel company by room numbers, said it plans to add another 100 properties to its China portfolio over the next two to three years and will mainly focus on the mid-scale market.

"About half of the new additions will be the mid-market Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express brands while the rest will mainly be split between the luxury InterContinental and upscale Crowne Plaza hotels," said Gary Rosen, senior vice president of sales and marketing for IHG's Asia Pacific operations.

China is now IHG's second-largest market globally in terms of room numbers where about 115 hotels covering five brands are found in more than 40 cities. The most recent brand in its portfolio is Hotel Indigo, which is due to open in Shanghai before World Expo 2010 and will be the hotelier's first Indigo hotel in Asia Pacific.

Unlike some of its peers which target the high-end hotel market, IHG is focusing on the mass market as a logical move particularly in the current situation when luxury hotels globally are feeling a greater negative impact from the economic downturn.

Europe's largest hotel company Accor earlier this month said it aimed to double its portfolio in China over the next three years, focusing on middle-income travelers in second and third-tier cities.

Business and leisure travelers have reduced their trips due to tighter budgets and this in turn has slashed occupancy and room rates among the country's star-rated hotels, with the luxury ones being hardest hit, a recent study completed by the China Tourist Hotels Association and Hotelsolution Consulting Co has found.


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