Kimpton eyes international expansion

20 Jul 2015 by GrahamSmith

Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants has set its sights on international expansion following its recent acquisition by Intercontinental Hotels Group.

IHG announced its buyout of the US boutique brand at the end of last year (see news, December 2014).

The deal has now been completed and Cindy Brewster, Kimpton's director of international sales, told Business Traveller of the "potential for further growth" created by the acquisition.

She said: "We'll be able to use [IHG's] power and positioning around the world to grow the Kimpton brand in more places outside of the US."

Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt room

A room in Kimpton's upcoming Hotel Van Zandt in Austin, due to open in November

Kimpton's first non-US property, the Cayman Islands, is due to open late next year.

There are no other international properties "firmly planted on the books yet", but Brewster said: "I'm sure that now [the acquisition] is all done and we can start moving forward, our development team is going to be looking at all opportunities that come up around the world."

She added: "Probably the number one question I am asked when I come to London is: 'When are you going to open a Kimpton hotel in London?' And now I can say that I think it's going to happen sooner than we might have thought six months or a year ago."

Kimpton's properties cannot yet be booked through the IHG website. Brewster said: "Some of those things are still in development on how the brands are going to be displayed, but we are going to continue to operate under the umbrella of IHG but with 100 per cent Kimpton branding."

She added: "I think there will be some system synergies down the road where it makes sense to combine efforts, but it will be in the system, not necessarily what you touch or what you dial."

It has not yet been confirmed how loyalty earning might change for Kimpton properties in the future.

Brewster said: "All of those discussions are in progress now on the best way rewards will be handled moving forward. IHG has a great programme [IHG Rewards Club]; we have a great programme [Kimpton Karma]."

Kimpton has more than 60 properties in the US with at least another 15 in the pipeline, including an Austin hotel (pictured) due to open later this year and a Chicago property expected to launch by early 2017.

Michelle Harbi

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