IHG launches new brand, Even

IHG, Denham, U.K., announced on Tuesday the launch of a new health-conscious midscale hotel brand, Even.

IHG plans to own and operate its first several Even-branded properties and then look to strong existing owner relationships to accelerate growth through IHG’s franchise model, with the first location to be announced in the second quarter of 2012 and opening in 2013. The brand will be launched in the U.S. with IHG committing US$150 million for capital expenditures. IHG has set a goal of signing 100 properties within five years.

“We want to put this where our customers travel to and where they live. San Francisco, New York, the D.C. market,” said Christian Hempell, IHG’s vice president of new business development and delivery. “We want to build a number of hotels in those markets. Then places like Minneapolis, Seattle or Austin.”

IHG spent 18 months researching the new brand, which is says will fill a limited-service, health-conscious niche that about 17 million customers are looking for.

Even hotels will feature guestrooms designed to allow guest to work out in-room, a nutrition-focused menu for snacks and free flavored filtered water with glass bottles guests can fill up and take back to their rooms. The guest profile spans a large age range with a household income of US$75,000, and IHG expects the hotels to appeal to both business and leisure travelers.

“This hotel is a limited service hotel, a select service property and owners can expect healthy margins, as our customer will pay a premium if we meet their needs,” said Hempell. “We think this is the perfect time to launch a brand. We’ve seen the industry recover with strong RevPAR gains. We want to be ready to catch the next wave of development growth.”