During InterContinental Hotels Group’s (IHG) Q4 2020 earnings conference call on Feb. 23, CEO Keith Barr spoke about four priorities the company has focused on in the last year. One of these priorities was creating a digital advantage. According to Barr, COVID-19 has created a “dynamic environment” requiring all organizations – including IHG – to be able to “rapidly enable new commercial propositions from the products offered to the prices set” within all channels.
“Our focus on creating a digital advantage is vital to us enabling seamless technology experience across the entirety of the guest journey,” Barr continued. “This will drive direct bookings, create an integrated digital experience for our guests and delivers revenue-enhancing proposition to owners.”
IHG has invested the last few years in its cloud-based hotel technology platform IHG Concerto (for which it won a 2019 Hotel Visionary Award from HT). This tech product allows the company to develop and roll out performance-enhancing tools faster and easier than in the past.
Additionally, with IHG Concerto, the company was able to remotely and rapidly deploy technological developments to support a safe and secure guest experience and reduce unnecessary contact.
“Contactless check-in is receiving strong guest satisfaction scores and is live in more than 1,000 hotels, while digital checkout is already live in 4,000 hotels,” he explained.
“The next phase of our guest reservation system, attribute pricing, is expected to be live across the estate by the end of this year, enabling a tailoring of stays and a selection of add-ons,” Barr noted. “Initial pilots in 2020 were conducted in each region, demonstrating to owners the ability to generate maximum value from their hotel's unique attributes.”
The owner engagement portal has also proved to be beneficial during the pandemic. It provides real-time data to owners on how each of their hotels are performing via a variety of different measures. But it also suggests actions on how owners can improve performance.