[photopress:Holiday_Inn_1.jpg,full,alignright]InterContinental Hotels will almost double the hotels it manages in China over the next two years. The InterContinental Hotels Group, which operates 66 InterContinental, Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn hotels in China thinks lax intellectual property rules and outdated franchise laws are slowing growth.Edmond Ip, IHP’s greater China chief operating officer, said, ‘It’s a big headache. There are hundreds of Holiday Inns out there. I can’t count there are too many. They are everywhere.’
Ip said the piracy of his company’s brands would be flattering if the issue were not so serious. He said, ‘Without our brand, we are zero.’ The illustration is of a real Holiday Inn in Hangzhou.
About 1,800 of the group’s 2,200 hotels in the United States are operated as franchises, where IHG provides the management expertise and brand but not the management itself. Not so in China where none of the hotels are franchised in this way.
The Chinese hotel market is worth around US$15 billion in annual gross room revenue — about an eighth of the U.S. market — but is growing faster at an annual rate of about 15%. Of the 2,600 properties it operates in the world, IHP only owns 100% of four of the larger hotels.