InterContinental brings concierge services into cyberspace
By Harvey Chipkin
NEW YORK — InterContinental Hotels is taking “outreach” to
the next level with a plan to make
concierge services available to
frequent guests in their hometowns, even if they are not staying
at a hotel.
At a press event here, Peter
Gowers, chief marketing officer for
InterContinental Hotels Group,
said the plan for upgrading concierge services was “the next step
in the revitalization” of the upscale
The plan calls for the creation
of a separate lobby area for con-
cierges in all InterContinental
hotels plus dedicated concierge
Gowers said that in its effort to
revitalize the brand, InterContinental would be using “intelligent
innovation” and would “treat people as individuals, not as groups.”
“You hear hoteliers saying they
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are building a hotel for Gen-X or
boomers, but those are just labels
because age no longer distin-guishes guests,” Gowers said.
Gowers said InterContinental
recently surveyed 14,000 customers, including consumers in China, and found that “the old idea
of luxury being white gloves and
silver servers is over. It’s not about
stuff. It’s about opening up to the
outside world and hotels being a
place for people who want to be
in the know.”
At an InterContinental press event
in New York were Peter Gowers, left,
InterContinental Hotels Group’s chief
marketing officer, and Jenifer Ziegler,
IHG’s senior vice president for global brand
management. The executives provided
details about new concierge services for the
directly to the concierge.
Consequently, said Jenifer
Ziegler, senior vice president for
global brand management for
IHG, the concierge program was
crucial in repositioning InterContinental as more than just a
A program called InterContinental Local Privileges will enable
VIPs — customers who, through
their pattern of travel, show
strong loyalty to the brand — to
have access to concierge services
at IHG properties in their hometowns, even if they are not staying
at that property.
“While competing brands are
almost exclusively focused inward, within the hotel itself, InterContinental
is focused on
the insight that
world travel experiences satisfy
need for social currency,”
Also as part of its repositioning,
InterContinental has entered into
a partnership with Aston Martin
Racing to sponsor that manufacturer’s cars in races.
Boston, a waterfront
hotel, will include
residences, a first
for the brand.
She said the
for a separate lobby area, which
eliminates the traditional concierge desk; a computer kiosk
with concierge-generated content; a three-minute digital tour,
narrated by a concierge, detailing
local destinations and attractions;
and concierge Web sites that feature the digital tours and provide
guests with other information.
Ziegler said, “Both brands reach
a new affluent
that true luxury is about enjoying authentic experiences.
And both are
On the subject of growth, Gowers said that InterContinental had
33 properties in the pipeline.
Boston’s first InterContinental
will open on Nov. 1 on the waterfront. The $315 million project
will include residences, a first for
the InterContinental brand.
The concierge Web sites will
also provide interactive maps that
showcase and display concierge
recommendations for “a perfect
day” in a city or at a resort.
The brand’s growth, said Gowers, is part of InterContinental
Hotels Group’s plan to add up to
60,000 rooms by the end of 2008.
An Ask the Concierge section
will enable guests to make restaurant reservations, get directions, identify local attractions
or submit requests and questions
Finally, it was announced that
Theo Randall, a chef who earned
a Michelin star at The River
Cafe in Brooklyn, will operate
a restaurant at the refurbished
London Park Lane, which will
reopen this November after a
$113 million renovation.