As part of the Americas
Lodging Investment Summit’s Patron sponsorship program, ALIS organizers asked
Kimpton’s Tiffany Cooper eight timely questions as we prepare for the 22nd
annual event January 23-25, 2023, at the JW Marriott/Ritz-Carlton Los Angeles
L.A. LIVE. Following are her responses.
inflation and the threat of a recession affected the U.S. hotel franchising and
and hospitality overall will never be immune to economic uncertainty. However,
while we’ve had to navigate recent challenges, we’ve yet to see a sharp business
correction. Our 2022 Half Year Results indicate continued high demand for our
brands among owners and guests. During the first six months of the year, we
signed more than 100 hotels and opened another 42 in the Americas. For Kimpton,
our robust growth trajectory includes more
than 40 new domestic and international properties in our pipeline.
organization and owners are confident in our long-term potential and the
strength of our business model to attract new owners and expand the portfolios
of those already in our system. Owners see hotels as a long-term investment and
expect fluctuating cycles. For IHG and Kimpton, it’s more critical than ever
that we support our owners in running an efficient and productive business.
forecasts show supply growth checking in at about 1% each year for the next two
or three years. How do you see it playing out based on Kimpton’s pipeline?
COOPER: There’s still white
space remaining for brand introduction into secondary and primary cities, as
well as suburban locations that have urban sensibilities. The beauty of the
Kimpton brand is how we can show up in a variety of different spaces and places with our own
unique flair – whether that be conversions, new build hotels or historic
adaptive reuse projects, which we first pioneered in the 1980s and have been redeveloping
now for more than four decades. Recently, we announced our entry into the
growing all-inclusive resort space with the signing of a new property in
Riviera Maya, Mexico.
There’s a long runway of opportunity, and Kimpton’s
distinctive look and feel are right at home in the family of IHG brands. Our iconic brand has yet to benefit from the effects of
globalization and recent expansion, but we anticipate our international success
anticipated to cross over into the domestic market soon.
ALIS: What’s the message to
hotel owners, investors, and developers from the lending community in general
as 2023 approaches?
COOPER: While the industry is
encountering challenges with supply chain, escalating costs, higher interest
rates and inflation, Kimpton is a nimble brand that proudly works
collaboratively with our ownership community. Opening and operating hotels
during COVID-19 allowed us to re-evaluate our day-to-day handlings and create
programs that would both add value and reduce costs. The only real constant in
our business is change, and often the challenges the hospitality industry
encounters are what force us to innovate and be even more thoughtful and collaborative.
At IHG and Kimpton, relationships matter, and our ability to listen, anticipate
and respond to our owners’ and guests’ needs will keep our brands top of mind.
ALIS: Based on your portfolio
and what you’re seeing throughout the industry, what segments are the most
sought after for development and franchising opportunities? Why?
IHG has emphasized – and achieved – significant growth within our luxury and
lifestyle portfolio, namely across our Six Senses and Hotel Indigo brands. This
category accounts for 12 percent of our overall system size and 19 percent of our
pipeline (up from 13 percent just five years ago).
footprint of our Kimpton likewise has evolved from an urban stronghold to
include growth in secondary and suburban markets – namely through vibrant
mixed-use properties – and resort locations.
Kimpton has multiple
international destinations opening within the next 24 months, from Bali to
Mallorca to Mexico City, and many markets remain ripe for growth.
There’s also growing
interest in conversion opportunities, which have evolved to represent nearly
one-fourth of IHG’s recent global signings and openings. The conversion model
offers a degree of certainty for owners given supply chain challenges and
rising construction costs, along with access to IHG’s brands, scale and enterprise
has the labor shortage affected the hotel development process? Is it something
that the industry will deal with long term?
COOPER: Labor shortages are a
challenge across every aspect of hospitality, including the hotel development
process. While we support our owners in finding solutions to operate and serve
our guests, we’re also reinvesting in our culture and positioning our
properties as attractive destinations for talent. Our Kimpton culture
celebrates inclusivity, diversity and employee empowerment, and we’re proud of
our decade-plus placement on Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list.
Our reputation and competitive benefits also offer an additional edge among a
limited labor pool.
ALIS: What’s the status of
the shortage of materials and the supply-chain issues and their effect on
development? How much time have these issues added to the development process?
short-term, we’re still seeing some markets and individual openings impacted by
COVID-related supply chain disruptions. However, we’re working closely with our
owners to reduce the costs and time required to build and operate, also
understanding that the needs of each owner and property will vary.
recognize that flexibility has been – and will be – critical to help owners and
developers navigate supply challenges. As an owner and developer ourselves for
nearly four decades, Kimpton’s collaborative approach has helped our team and
our partners overcome similar gaps. We work to find customizable solutions that
fit each hotel and need rather than making owners and developers “check a box.”
This new era of hospitality presents many unfamiliarities, and we’re committed
to delivering the same level of understanding and partnership that we’ve always
What’s the most
under-estimated challenge the hotel industry faces, and why?
COOPER: Competition is fierce,
with a red ocean of competitive brands fighting for their fair market share and
seeking the lowest cost of guest acquisition via sophisticated global
distribution systems and loyalty programs. At Kimpton, our unique blend of
heartfelt hospitality, sophisticated design and locally loved restaurants and bars with
creative activations allows for more of a blue ocean strategy and the benefit
of not only attracting, but retaining the guest.
this year, IHG launched our One Rewards loyalty program to further reward
long-time guests for their support of our brands and entice new guests to find
the right environment for their desired stay experience. In doing so, we also
can attract a higher premium traveler audience at a reduced cost of capture –
in a way that is fun and supportive.
ALIS: What’s the most under-estimated opportunity for
the hotel industry, and why?
COOPER: While not necessarily a new trend, dual branding is becoming
a more popular avenue to right size properties and attract a broader guest
spectrum than possible with a single brand concept. Dual branding allows hotels
to deliver a broader range of services and choices to guests while accelerating
operational and economy of scale advantages to owners.
At IHG, we’re continually evaluating creative and
even atypical opportunities to pair two of our 17 global brands together. We’ve
opened several new dual brand hotels this year, including a joint Hotel Indigo
and Atwell Suites property in Miami and our first avid hotels and Holiday Inn
property near Nashville. A new Kimpton and Staybridge Suites dual brand hotel
also is in development and scheduled to open in 2024 within St. Louis’ Midtown