First IHG avid signed for Vaughan

TORONTO — The first IHG avid in Canada has just been announced for Vaughan, Ontario. This is the first executed avid hotels license agreement in Canada.

avid hotels night view.

avid hotels night view.

TORONTO — The first IHG avid in Canada has just been announced for Vaughan, Ontario. This is the first executed avid hotels license agreement in Canada.

IHG's footprint
in Canada has been growing two times faster than the industry average in
the region with 12 new Canadian properties opening next year and 31 additional
hotels in the pipeline, said Jonathan Lund, IHG’s regional vice-president,
franchise performance support for Canada.

Both Lund and Stuart Laurie, regional director, midscale franchising for Canada, are bullish about avid, IHG’s
newest brand. IHG broke ground on the first avid hotel in Oklahoma City last
month, just two months after the brand was launched.

Oklahoma City groundbreaking on Dec. 6.

Oklahoma City groundbreaking on Dec. 6.

“Since
the brand launched in the U.S. with strong demand, Canadian owners have
continued to express interest in developing avid hotels,” said
Laurie.

“We know
this brand reaches a vastly underserved segment of travellers in the U.S., and
are confident that the avid hotels experience will strongly
resonate with Canadian travellers while providing a scalable solution for
owners.” 

IHG is committed to a successful launch of
this brand, and as part of that commitment, the company is offering incentives
for the right projects with the right owners. They are offering a royalty fee
discount for the first 100 signed license agreements, resulting in the
following royalty fee for first three years of hotel operations: year 1, 3 per
cent; year 2, 4 per cent; year 3 and beyond, 5 per cent.

 “With over 14 million potential customers
looking for the type of hospitality avid hotels will offer, this new
brand represents a significant business opportunity for Canadian owners,” said
Lund.

Target demographics

avid was designed as a
fresh, new brand for the underserved midscale traveller. This growing segment,
the principled everyday traveller, wants a hotel stay that finally meets their
expectations for their everyday travel – the basics done exceptionally well at
a fair price.

These guests are honest
and practical people, who look for the same qualities in others. They value a
great night’s sleep, a focus on cleanliness and the right level of care, all in
a safe and convenient location and at a fair price that meets their expectations. 
Price is important — these guests choose to be frugal, but they don’t want to
choose frugality at the expense of quality and that is where the opportunity
exists in the market today. 

avid hotels day view.

avid hotels day view.

avid’s guest appeal

The physical hotel design and brand experience
have been carefully and thoughtfully designed for the needs of this consumer.
Initial features of this brand include:

Rooms designed
for sound sleep
:
 
Delivering a best-in-class sleep experience, rooms are intentionally designed
for reliable rest. IHG knows principled everyday travellers value an investment
in a high quality mattress and linens, specific design decisions to help reduce
noise and intuitive in-room climate control. Guest rooms will be a mix of 222
square foot king and 275 square foot queen/queen featuring a built-in work
space, open closet storage with luggage shelf, a great shower, and a 55” Smart
TV.  Rooms have been right-sized to remove additional amenities guests do
not want to pay more for in order to invest in the things that matter. 
This allows avid hotels to deliver guests the superior quality of sleep they
deserve at a price point that no other brand is offering today.

Hotel amenities: Hotels will feature efficient and inviting
public spaces, including a mix of seating designed perfectly for travellers
looking to spend 30-45 minutes in the lobby working, socializing, or enjoying a
complimentary breakfast. These unique seating zones use the public space wisely,
creating comfortable and relaxing spaces for travellers — something guests want
when staying at a midscale hotel. avid hotel properties will also have outdoor
seating areas that flow seamlessly into the indoor space.  

Focused,
high-quality complimentary breakfast
:
  IHG will take a completely fresh approach to
how we deliver breakfast for this new brand.  “Guests told us, at this
price point, they would prefer a select number of high-quality, brand-name
options, rather than a hot, cooked breakfast,” said Lund.  The distinctive
offer will provide consistent categories, with rotating products so the range
is always ‘just right’. Guests can grab and go or enjoy in the lobby, alongside
a premium coffee experience to start the day off right. The offering provides
owners with a simple, low-cost operating model. Hotels will also offer a
well-curated market for food, beverages and personal items.  

Seamless
technology
:
avid hotels will
leverage the latest in IHG’s emerging technology to enable a seamless
experience for our guests including: next generation reservation system; IHG
Connect enhanced WiFi/bandwidth technology; new enhanced in-room entertainment
options which allow guests to stream content from their smart devices to in-room
TVs.

Hotel build: Hotels will be designed for new build
construction in order to provide exactly what guests need, consistently, on an
average lot size of approximately 1.5 acres. The prototype design features 95
keys with a minimum of three stories.

Avid’s developer appeal

The midscale segment
appeals to a broad market of travellers, and with land, soft goods and overall
construction costs rising, midscale brands offer prototypes with a reduced
footprint, including streamlined F&B solutions that translate to a more
efficient operating model. Additionally, midscale hotels with a less intensive
labour model can generally deliver more to the bottom line, and that is
appealing to owners and developers.

At avid hotels, each
hotel is designed for new build construction on an average lot size of
approximately 1.5 acres, and all properties will be built to lead the industry
in environmentally friendly and efficient design. The prototype design features
95 keys with a minimum of three stories. IHG worked closely with an Owner
Advisory Board to determine ensure that all elements of the avid hotels brand
would be appealing to owners, operators and guests.

For owners and
developers, the target all-in build cost (including all soft costs but
excluding land and tap fees) should be to be $85K – $90K per key- which is
10-15 per cent less than Holiday Inn Express build costs.

IHG
believes that that avid hotels will draw
primarily from the current midscale competitive set (e.g., La Quinta, Best
Western, Comfort Inn).

“As we look to develop and grow the brand, we
see avid hotels as a brand that can work in mass markets across the country,”
said Lund. “Wherever midscale hotels exist today, we hope to have an avid hotel
location in the future.”