March 5, 2018 / 5:35 PM / 2 years ago

InterContinental Hotels close to luxury brand deal, says CEO

FILE PHOTO: General view of the Intercontinental hotel in Marseille, France, February 16, 2018. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier/File Photo

BERLIN (Reuters) - InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG.L)(IHG) is close to announcing acquisition of a luxury brand to complement its existing portfolio, its chief executive said on Monday.

The group, which operates the Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn brands among others, said last month that it was looking to buy one or two small luxury brands and launch a new franchised upmarket brand.

“We are making really good progress, we hope to have more news in a short period of time,” Keith Barr told Reuters on the sidelines of the IHIF hotels conference in Berlin.

Barr said the group was missing out on customers willing to pay more for greater exclusivity and that IHG had hotel owners who also wanted to move into that market.

“They’re highly valuable assets. A great one of those hotels in a great market would make income that would need a lot of Holiday Inn Expresses to achieve the same money,” he said.

Such a brand would price rooms at about $50-100 a night more than InterContinental, he said.

Barr also said he was unfazed by Airbnb’s efforts to attract more business customers. He said it would be difficult for the home rentals company to gain big corporate accounts.

“Big companies want (certainty of) availability,” he said, adding that such customers also need to be sure of fire and safety provisions before sending staff to stay in accommodation.

Reporting by Victoria Bryan; Editing by David Goodman

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