Mixed use a growing part of IHG pipeline

Jonathan Lund, IHG.

TORONTO — Mixed use developments such as the SAMM Developments Regal Plaza project that broke ground recently, are becoming a more common part of the IHG landscape, said Jonathan Lund, regional vice-president, Canada.

Lund wielded one of the shovels at the Sept. 23 ground breaking for the project, which contains a Staybridge Suites hotel that will be added to the existing Holiday Inn on the property, but others at the event wielded drills.

(“The drilling at the Regal Plaza event wasn’t as complicated as it looked,” Lund noted. “The organizers had already put the jackhammers in the ground, and there were 14 construction people to supervise.”)

IHG is looking into other projects that include retail, residential and hotels all together. For example, the Holiday Inn Montreal Downtown is part hotel and part residential — a very good mix, said Lund.

“Some our new [dual-branded] developments are connected and share services. In this [Regal Plaza] project, the hotels are attached but not entirely dual,” he added.

Holiday Inn Montreal downtown is part hotel and part residential.

Staybridge Suites is IHG’s upscale extended stay brand in Canada. “Extended stay brands have been doing very well over this period,” he told CLN. “The facilities allow for a self-contained stay,” with kitchenettes and a large work surface. “The two extended stay brands are the best performing for IHG.” Canada has 12 Staybridge Suites properties (the Regal Plaza one will bring the number to 13); and there are two Candlewood Suites hotels.

IHG will be opening a new Candlewood Suites in Kingston in November — this will be a Holiday Inn Express / Candlewood Suites dual brand.

Earlier this month, construction began on the first IHG avid Hotel in Canada, located in Vaughan, Ontario. 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. 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 when the project was announced in 2018.

Exterior of an avid hotel.

A Holiday Inn Express hotel recently opened its doors in Collingwood, Ont., and the owner of that hotel plans to open another Holiday Inn Express in Port Elgin, Ont., before the end of the year. Brandon, Manitoba also has a new Holiday Inn Express and Suites.

“Not only are we still opening hotels, but we are also breaking ground on new developments, at a time when the industry is challenged,” said Lund. “This indicates the willingness for long-term investment and confidence in IHG’s brands.”

Here are the IHG Canadian openings for the rest of this year.

Holiday Inn Express & SuitesBrandonOpened!
Holiday Inn Express & SuitesCollingwoodOpened!
Holiday Inn Express & SuitesAurora
Holiday Inn Express & SuitesCalgary Airport Trail NE
Holiday Inn Express & SuitesEdmonton N – St. Albert
Holiday Inn Express & Candlewood SuitesKingston West
Holiday Inn Express & SuitesPort Elgin

Lund also wears another hat — that of chair of the Hotel Association of Canada’s board of directors. “Susie [Grynol] has been doing a tremendous job,” he said. One of the things that stood out in the recent federal government Throne Speech was reference to “hard hit industries,” a direct reflection on what HAC has done on behalf of its members. “She has been very effective in working with government to support the needs of our industry.” Lund has also been amazed at the direct engagement with HAC among key ownership groups in Canada.

“We need to survive this so that we can be stronger,” said Lund. “I think that travel is going to take off quickly as soon as the light turns green. There is so much pent-up demand among businesses and consumers.”

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