This week’s announcement that InterContinental Hotels Group will purchase Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants elicited a decidedly split reaction among travelers.
Among many Kimpton loyalists, the prospect of the company’s 62 boutique hotels coming under the management thumb of InterContinental was unsettling at best. A sampling of the reactions posted on FlyerTalk:
“This is terrible. IHG can’t even run a promotion correctly and they’re not going to screw up Kimpton?”
“This is sad, sad news. They may keep the culture for a year or two, but these things NEVER last long after acquisitions.”
“Argh. Of all of the major chains I’ve dealt with, the IHG group is the most challenging to deal with when things go awry (in my experience). I’m curious to see how this will change things, but I cannot imagine it’s going to change for the better, especially given the slow (or fast?) devaluation of IHG over the last 5 years.”
On the other hand, InterContinental loyalists—especially IHG Rewards members for whom the expansion means more earning and redemption options—tended to view the move positively.
“I think this is great for IHG members. IHG is very low on having hotels with any character.”
“Completely agree this is great news. Will be a nice complement to Hotel Indigo and some great locations (particularly in California and the west where IHG is lacking too many decent hotels).”
“This would be great news for me on the earning side if the Kimpton properties were just a touch cheaper for work. They’re about 20% too high right now in most cases, because I often don’t need the great locations which Kimpton typically selects. But for redemption… if they can put some of the smaller Kimptons at 40k, I’ll be thrilled.”
Purchase price: $430 million
Timing: Sale is expected to close during the first quarter of 2015.
Kimpton’s hotels: 62 independent boutique properties in the U.S., with 16 more in development
IHG’s plan: “Significant opportunities identified for IHG to accelerate the growth of the Kimpton brand within the U.S. and to launch it globally”
Loyalty program’s future: “For the time being, the Kimpton Karma Rewards program and IHG Rewards Club will continue to run as separate loyalty programs.” There’s little doubt, however, that the Kimptons will eventually be folded into IHG Rewards.
Reader Reality Check
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This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.
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