As teased two weeks ago as part of its half year financial results, IHG will soon have its own version of Hilton’s Curio, Marriott’s Autograph or Hyatt’s Unbound Collection.
The brand is now live and will be called ‘Vignette’.
Here’s the logo:
Vignette – and Hilton, Hyatt and Marriott’s own versions of Vignette – all target upmarket hotels which want to remain independent but wish to become part of a ‘marketing system’. In return for IHG funnelling them bookings via ihg.com, the hotels agree to join IHG Rewards and to honour member benefits.
The hotels keep their existing branding and the senior hotel management will not become IHG employees.
Here is the rest of the IHG brand portfolio:
The first two Vignette hotels have been signed
IHG has two hotels already lined up to join Vignette, although you are unlikely to get to either of them in the near future.
Hotel X is in the centre of Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley, Australia. To quote:
“Hotel X’s distinctive design and luxurious facilities celebrate this iconic Brisbane neighbourhood through ultra-cool art, Avant Garde lighting and exceptional views of the cityscape.”
Hotel X does look like an impressive hotel, and will hopefully set the standard for those that will follow. Brands tend to suffer dilution as they chase growth – Marriott recently added a number of very average all inclusive resorts to Autograph, for example. We also recently saw Radisson RED taking over a former Travelodge outside Gatwick, which is hardly in line with its ‘funky city centre destination’ ethos.
In Asia, Thailand’s Pattaya Aquatique hotel has also signed. The hotel is a new build and will not open until 2024. This is not a new announcement – the owners had already said that it would be part of IHG, albeit with no brand agreement.
To be honest, it would be good to have seen a longer list of launch properties, especially as the one that is open is in Australia.
There is no announcement about Ambassador integration
As IHG has added Kimpton, Regent and Six Senses in recent years, InterContinental’s Ambassador loyalty programme – which has a $200 annual fee – has begun to look a little lost.
Kimpton has retained its Inner Circle programme whilst Ambassador benefits are not consistent across Regent and Six Senses.
IHG now needs to decide how to handle the 100+ luxury hotels it believes that its new ‘collections’ brand will bring into the fold.
I don’t think IHG will be rushing to give up the revenue that Ambassador generates, but at the same time it needs to become a programme which sits equally well across InterContinental, Regent, Six Senses and the new brand. The conversion of InterContinental Hong Kong to Regent Hong Kong next year may be a trigger as the hotel risks losing revenue from Ambassador members to the other InterContinental in town.
I am a big fan of Hilton’s Curio Collection and Marriott’s Autograph Collection. Some hotels in Hyatt’s Unbound Collection are also on my wish list.
Whilst neither of the two hotels announced today are hugely relevant for HfP readers, it will show the industry that Vignette has legs and hopefully encourage further signings. IHG is planning to add roughly one hotel per month over the next decade.
IHG Rewards update – September 2021:
Get bonus points: IHG Rewards is not currently running a global promotion.
Buy points: If you need additional IHG Rewards points, you can buy them here.
You will receive a mystery bonus, usually 100%, when you buy IHG Rewards points by 8th October 2021.
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