IHG acquires Kimpton Hotels boutique chain in a $430 million deal, but don’t expect PointBreaks deals in 2015 for your favorite Kimpton. The best we can expect for IHG in the near future is maybe they will pick up some of Kimpton’s IT savvy and laid back California charm to counterbalance the IHG UK corporate face and troublesome promotion roll outs.
Kimpton Hotels manages 62 hotels around the USA and has another 16 hotels in the pipeline. IHG currently has Hotel Indigo as its boutique brand and EVEN, a new fitness-focused brand recently launched. The acquisition of Kimpton will double the IHG boutique portfolio and put the chain at nearly 200 boutique hotels. In general, Kimpton Hotels will be more upscale than Hotel Indigo.
In the short-term, Kimpton will maintain its Kimpton Karma loyalty program. I don’t think the loyalty programs will merge until the latter half of 2015 based on the time it has taken Marriott to merge with AC Hotels and Protea after those chains were purchased. On the other hand, Hyatt was able to integrate Avia (Andaz) and Sierra Suites (Hyatt HOUSE) into its program quickly, but Hyatt is not the behemoth organization IHG. In time, we should get word on how IHG and Kimpton plan to integrate loyalty programs and categorize the Kimpton Hotels for IHG Rewards Club points.
I imagine Kimpton will retain its own name brand in IHG since the brand recognition and attitude to Kimpton Hotels is highly favorable. Kimpton has made a name for itself by remodeling historic buildings in urban centers into designer boutique hotels. Kimpton will fill a slot below InterContinental Hotels luxury segment. IHG brands Crowne Plaza and Hotel Indigo fall into the Upscale Hotels market segment as categorized by Smith Travel Research, the Tennessee based hotel data company. Upscale brands in other chains are Starwood Hotels Four Points, Marriott Courtyard, Hyatt Place and DoubleTree.
IHG has a serious gap in the Upper Upscale Hotels market segment where brands like Marriott, Renaissance, Autograph Collection, Sheraton, Westin, Le Meridien, Hyatt Regency, Hilton and Embassy Suites hotel brands reside in terms of their average daily rate.
Kimpton is firmly in the upper upscale hotel market segment for the USA and will fill that void in IHG between luxury InterContinental Hotels and the often times ageing Crowne Plaza hotels and the small footprint of Hotel Indigo brand, which seem like second tier boutique hotels in many locations.
IHG says they see Kimpton rolling out internationally as a hotel brand of IHG.
I don’t expect points bargains when IHG integrates Kimpton Hotels for reward nights with IHG Rewards Club points. Most of the Kimpton properties should fall in the 30,000 to 50,000 points range. I doubt we will see the integration before summer 2015 and perhaps not until 2016.
Personally, I love the fact that San Francisco with IHG will become a bit like London with Club Carlson and its 18 Radisson Edwardian hotels. Kimpton has 9 hotels in San Francisco and 17 in California.
Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.
Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. Check out current hotel loyalty program offers across all the major chains in Loyalty Traveler’s monthly hotel promotions guide.