[photopress:hotels_PAN_AM_IHC.jpeg,full,alignright]True, it will not happen until the end of the year, but InterContinental Hotels will launch its 125th hotel in China by the end of 2008.
Peter Gowers, chief executive of IHG Asia Pacific said the group has already opened and run 107 hotels under the group’s various brands in China. And, as an international hotel group, IHG runs the most hotels in China.
Of all the hotel deals signed by international hotel operators, 47% of them are with IHG.
The group operates seven hotel brands, namely InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites.
It is all a remarkable story and perhaps more so because of its uneven start. InterContinental began in 1946 when Pan American Airways decided that there was a lack of quality hotels in many of its destinations. The first hotel, the Hotel Grande, opened that year in Belem, Brazil.
The company grew and grew and the marketing people decided it would be known as Inter.Continental and were most insistent about the full stop in the middle of the name.
Pan Am started to lose the plot about 1973 although its inflight service in first class — the dining room in the air — put, say, Emirate Airlines to shame. Sadly, often a flight would only have a dozen of so passengers. There was a story, probably an urban myth, that one flight, New York to Amsterdam, only had one passenger. And the airline lost his luggage.
The airline, to keep going, milked money from the hotel company. Eventually, to raise cash Pan Am sold the company even though every person in the hotel company — and the writer was involved with both companies at the time — said sell the airline and keep the hotels.
In 1991 Pan Am finally went down the gurgler while InterContinental Hotels pottered along dropping the full stop in its name on the way. Finally the company was purchased by Bass Hotels & Resorts of the United Kingdom (now InterContinental Hotels Group) in 1998 and became one of the largest and most successful hotel groups in the world. On the official site of InterContinental the Pan Am connection rates one sentence: InterContinental, another of our brands, was created by Pan Am in the 1940s, when hotels were built in many of Pan Am’s destinations. One sentence is probably all that Pan Am deserves.
Source: Hotels and research.