IHG is further checking the midscale boxes, as it were, with the launch of Avid, its new brand with communally driven public space, a sleep differentiator, and a red and blue logo complete with a checkmark in the place of the brand’s “v.”
The brand, according to IHG CEO of the Americas, Elie Maalouf, will allow IHG to expand into a growing sector that includes 14 million travelers and US$20 billion of room revenue where, historically, the company has only had its extended-stay Candlewood Suites.
“We’re actually going into a space that we haven’t been addressing,” Maalouf said. “Why? Because it’s a big opportunity for us.”
Maalouf went on to describe the Avid customer as the “principled everyday traveler.”
“They’re ordinary Americans, they’re self-reliant, practical, they know the value of their hard-earned dollar,” he said.
Though details around Avid had emerged in June at the NYU Hospitality Conference, a full picture was officially released by the company Monday.
With a price point expected to be about US$10-15 less than the company’s Holiday Inn Express brand, the Avid brand – all new builds – will have guestrooms with light reducing shades, sound-reducing elements and open storage spaces and bathrooms with walk-in showers and bright lighting. Prototype design features 95-100 keys with a minimum of three stories.
No deals have been signed as of yet (Monday is technically the first day the company is able to start the franchisee process) though an IHG spokesman said there has been 150 franchisee letters of interest to date surrounding the new brand.
What Avid won’t have, according to Maalouf, are official meeting spaces, suites, or a pool. King guest rooms will clock in at 222-square-feet with double queens at 275-square-feet.
“By not giving them what they don’t want, we can give them more of what they really want,” Maalouf said. “And also give owners a value proposition and construction cost that makes a ton of sense for them.”
Construction is set to begin in early 2018, opening in early 2019. Initial development will focus in the U.S. market, though an IHG spokesman said the company would absolutely be evaluating the need for the brand in other parts of the world down the line.
Design highlights for the brand include a glassy retail-like entry, canopy and a bright red stairwell. Public and communal areas replace the traditional close off meeting rooms and guests will receive complimentary breakfast and marketplace grab & go options.