InterCon group gears up for 2005

InterContinental Hotels Group has launched a major phase of development for 2005. The hotel chain recently celebrated the opening of the 792-room InterContinental Heliopolis Cairo, while development is already under way for another property in Aqaba, Jordan.

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By  Sarah Campbell Published  February 3, 2005

InterContinental Hotels Group has launched a major phase of development for 2005. The hotel chain recently celebrated the opening of the 792-room InterContinental Heliopolis Cairo, while development is already under way for another property in Aqaba, Jordan. In addition to these properties, the company will also announce the opening of new Holiday Inn properties, including the Holiday Inn Heliopolis in Cairo and the Holiday Inn, Salmiya, Kuwait. Another project for the hotel operator in 2005 is the move into the budget branded accommodation sector with the arrival of the chain’s Express by Holiday Inn hotels. With a shift in the market in the past couple of years due to the growth of the middle class throughout the GCC, as well as the retention of pan-Arab tourism, InterContinental aims to position the group as the largest multi-branded hotel operator in the Middle East. “Our intention is to launch, within a short period of time, 25 to 30 hotels, and that will be within the next five years, in order to establish a brand within that budget segment in the GCC,” explains Denis Johnson, vice president, sales and marketing, InterContinental Hotels Group, Middle East and Africa. “Express by Holiday Inn is a budget brand, something that is currently available within the UAE and throughout the GCC, but not branded, therefore there is no consistency in delivery of services or product,” he added. In preparation for its big push in 2005, InterContinental Hotels Group shifted into top gear when it recently hosted a top-level meeting with its area directors of sales & marketing from across the Middle East and Africa. In the two-day meeting, held at the Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi, 15 of the area directors and senior management from the division came together to discuss future plans and budgetary updates. Following on from positive results experienced in 2004 across the brand’s portfolio of properties, the area directors were called upon to present their forecasts for 2005. “The meeting concluded with an optimistic outlook for the InterContinental Hotels Group in the next 12 months, with extensive plans to further grow our managed contract and franchise network in the Middle East and Africa,” says Johnson.

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