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IHG launches (another) new hotel brand – Garner

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There is, almost literally, no end to the number of hotels brands which the major global hotel groups think can be sustained.

Marriott Bonvoy is now at 31 following the acquisition of City Express, whilst Accor is over 40 – with more if you include all of the Ennismore ones.

It’s always fun to watch companies justify the ‘gap in the market’ they want to fill when they already have 30-40 brands. In truth, it is often about geographical rights – if you gave exclusivity to someone who opened a Marriott in a certain city, you’ve always got Delta, or Renaissance, or Courtyard or …..

IHG launches Garner hotel brand

Today’s new brand is from IHG and is called Garner. It will be the 19th brand in the IHG One Rewards stable.

What is IHG’s new ‘Garner’ brand all about?

Garner is a ‘conversion brand’.

Most hotel brands come with a very fat manual of brand standards. After all, the whole point of a brand is that you know what to expect when you arrive. I remember having a tour of Kimpton Fitzroy in London and having the water fridge in the gym pointed out to me – Kimpton insists not only that its gyms have fridges, but that they include flavoured as well as regular water. Multiply this by 500 and you have your typical ‘brand standards’ list.

IHG launches Garner hotels

A ‘conversion brand’ is different. It is aimed at owners of existing hotels who want to join a ‘system’, in this case IHG One Rewards, but don’t want to spend the money required to adjust the property to ‘brand standard’ levels.

The best known conversion brand is probably Hilton’s DoubleTree. It’s famous for giving you a chocolate chip cookie when you check in, but apart from that there is nothing else which you can be certain of getting.

As we covered in another article today, Marriott has Delta. Originally a Canadian four star chain, Marriott bought it and decided to use the brand for conversions.

IHG already has ‘voco’ which is a 4-star conversion brand. The hotels have little in common except a requirement to have a few splashes of yellow around the place.

As well as ‘conversion’ brands, you also have ‘soft’ brands such as Marriott’s Autograph Collection, IHG’s Vignette and Hilton’s Curio Collection. Aimed at the luxury market, ‘soft’ brands allow hotels to trade under their historic names whilst also having a similar lax approach to brand standards as you would find with a conversion brand.

IHG launches Garner hotel brand

‘Garner’ is aimed at midscale conversions, so the 3-star to lower 4-star range. To put this in context, Holday Inn Express is seen as ‘upper midscale’, so the hotels will be downmarket from that.

Amusingly the PR release says:

The brand will be the leading choice for guests wanting great value stays at high-quality properties, and for owners seeking higher returns in the midscale segment.

So it’s for guests who think they are booking a “high quality” hotel but in fact they are booking a “midscale” hotel which happens to look smart and so commands higher rates ….

The hotels will offer free hot breakfast and be focussed on value for money. Hotels will include a Garner Shop mini-market and be obliged to offer a free glass of flavoured water when checking in, which is the equivalent of the DoubleTree cookie.

We are told that “owners will value the brand’s flexible approach to conversions”, which seems to be a polite way of saying that IHG isn’t setting the bar very high when it comes to what it will require.

To put in context how quickly hotels can be turned around, IHG isn’t accepting applications from hotels until September 2023, but still intends to have the first US properties open by Christmas. The goal for the US alone is to have 500 Garner hotels within a decade. There is no date yet for the international launch.

IHG One Rewards update – December 2023:

Get bonus points: Our article on IHG’s current bonus promotion is here. You will receive 2,000 bonus points for every two cash nights you stay until 31st December. Nights do not need to be consecutive. Click here to register.

New to IHG One Rewards?  Read our overview of IHG One Rewards here and our article on points expiry rules here. Our article on ‘What are IHG One Rewards points worth?’ is here.

Buy points: If you need additional IHG One Rewards points, you can buy them here.

IHG is offering a 100% bonus (some members may be offered less) when you buy points by 30th December 2023. Click here to buy.

Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from IHG and the other major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.

Comments (35)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • lumma says:

    Written down, it looks like Gamer to my eyes

  • Rob H not Rob says:


  • JohnTh says:

    We enjoyed a great stay at IHG’s Voco Lythe Hill near Haslemere. It has attractive grounds with large indoor pool and an excellent restaurant and breakfast (everything included as Diamond). Service was good and rooms are set in different blocks around the site. Some really good prices too (Mon-Wed often around £100!)

    • Sina says:

      I’m at the voco The Hague and amazed at how good it is! The rooms and public spaces have amazing design and everything is much better than I thought it would be! Not sure if it’s 4-star!? I’ve definitely stayed at 5 stars with far lower standards!

    • acewoking says:

      Voco Spires Oxford is the best place for getting into town, given Oxford’s pedestrianisation and low traffic neighbourhoods. Literally 15 minutes walk to Carfax, and even though you pay £20 a day for parking, you can check out in the morning and leave your car there for the rest of the day. Much easier than finding a space in Oxpens or Westgate Centre. Bar OK, restaurant very low hotel-quality, avoid. Rooms are nicely furnished. But the location is best.

  • Andrew. says:

    So many brands, but still so many massive gaps in the geography of some (or all) brands in the UK.

    I was looking at a weekend in Wales visiting friends near Aberporth, I think the nearest IHG is the Holiday Inn Express on the Swansea Bypass, Marriott also in Swansea and the Hilton in Cardiff.

    Oddly quite a few Travelodges about. Not sure why the main worldwide players have allowed a one company to dominate a market.

    • Chris H says:

      There’s also the voco St David’s on Cardiff Bay – just wrote a summary from my November stay above, much better than the HIX offerings. There’s also several HI options in the city centre and the Staybridge Suites in Cardiff which is very nice if you want living facilities.

      I have stayed at the HIX Swansea several times as I live in Wales – it is ok, just what you’d normally expecty from a HIX really but we tend to stay in the Cardiff properties as they are better value.

  • BA-Flyer says:

    “The brand will be the leading choice for guests wanting great value stays at high-quality properties”.

    So is this IHG admitting that Holiday Inn Express, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plazza, Avid, Voco etc. don’t offer great value at high-quality properties?

  • keith says:

    Free glass of water at check in? I’m sold.

  • Doug says:

    Holday Inn Express is seen as ‘upper midscale’


    I have always seen Holiday Inn Express as being low, similar to Hampton by Hilton or Ibis
    What makes it ‘midscale’ ? let alone, ‘upper midscale’?

    • David S says:

      Totally agree – hate to think what comes below HIE

    • QFFlyer says:

      Agree, HIX to me is a budget brand. Even Holiday Inn proper can vary wildly from place to place, some even have Club Lounges.

    • LittleNick says:

      Agreed, thought HIX is somewhere typically between Travelodge/Premier Inn?

      • Lumma says:

        I consider it the same as a Premier Inn but slightly more expensive which covers the cost of the breakfast.

    • Blair Waldorf Salad says:

      It’s like M&S clothing sizes; designed to flatter. No one is going to willingly call one of their brands “a bit basic, but you get what you pay for.”

    • mvcvz says:

      Anyone who thinks an Ibis is generally equipment to an HIE hasn’t travelled very much. The Ibis chain does offer some benefits, but the miniscule rooms, bathrooms and elevators become very tedious very rapidly.

  • tw33ty says:

    HIE are upper mid scale….

    If garner are set to be below this level, I’m thinking this is targeted at the likes of the rubbish travel lodges level to hop over.

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