IHG launches individual iPhone apps for each of its brands

ATLANTA Although it previously worried that doing so would confuse the marketplace, IHG has changed course and has now issued individualized mobile booking apps for each of its seven brands.

Michael Menis, vice president of web and interactive marketing for IHG, told HOTELS back in February that the company had shied away from brand- or property-specific apps, worried that doing so would confuse or dilute the marketplace. Instead, IHG issued only two mobile apps—one centered around its IHG Priority Club Rewards loyalty program, the other an InterContinental Hotels & Resorts-branded mobile concierge app for Apple’s iPad.

Now, IHG has launched additional apps branded for Hotel Indigo, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn Hotels and Resorts, Holiday Inn Express, Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites. These new apps, which are live for Apple’s iPhone, include hotel search and booking functionality and the ability to view or cancel reservations.

Since early last year, IHG has seen a nearly 1,000% increase in room night bookings from mobile devices. In the first five months of 2011, IHG has already surpassed its 2010 total number of room night bookings from mobile devices.

Most guests, 65%, who book through a mobile device are staying at IHG hotels the same night or within one day. To cater to these guests, the new apps include location-aware capabilities to assist guests in booking hotels close to their location and navigating to the property. Other functionality includes mapping, promotional offers and Priority Club profile management.

“We are continuing to build on our mobile strategy by making our brands more accessible to today’s travelers who seek solutions that assist them through every step of the travel planning process,” Menis says. “Our initial iPhone efforts were targeted at our Priority Club Rewards program, currently totaling 58 million members, and because our seven brands are at the heart of our business, we are building off that initial success by expanding our iPhone solutions to include apps for each of our seven brands.”