IHG will continue to focus on business development in Japan – Travel And Tour World

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IHG Hotels & Resorts (IHG) plans to launch the Garner™ brand in Japan this year, marking the first deal outside of North America for its new midscale conversion brand.

It follows the signing of a letter of intent (LOI) between IHG and Axe Management Partners which would see Garner make its Japan debut in the second half of 2024 with three conversion hotels in Osaka, adding more than 500 rooms to IHG’s growing Japan estate.

Prior to rebranding as Garner, three properties in Osaka would undergo refurbishment, including improvements to the guest arrival experience, common spaces, and the lounge and café, as well as a refresh of guest rooms that includes design, lighting, bedding and bathroom amenities.

Once open, the hotels would embrace the Garner ethos and deliver the all-important things guests value most – a convenient location, welcome amenity on arrival, a sound night’s sleep, Wi-Fi and digital check-in where available – all at a quality and price that’s hard to find. From a delicious breakfast, complimentary fresh coffee in the lobby, to satisfying snacks available 24/7 in the Garner Shop, guests won’t ever be far from something tasty, so they can get on their way.

Guests at the three hotels will be able to enjoy all the perks of IHG One Rewards, IHG’s market-leading loyalty program, including the ability to earn and use points, and benefits for members including late check out, room upgrades and Milestone Rewards.

Garner was launched in August 2023 and IHG expects this new brand to reach an estate of over 500 hotels over the next 10 years and 1,000 hotels over the next 20 years. The world’s first Garner hotel opened in Seattle less than three months after the brand’s launch and, now, the Japan announcement is the first LOI for the brand outside of North America, demonstrating its global appeal for guests looking for great value stays at high-quality properties, and for owners seeking higher returns in the midscale segment.

Elie Maalouf, CEO, IHG Hotels. & Resorts, commented on the partnership: “The first Garner LOI signing outside of North America is a significant milestone for the brand, and one we are very excited about. Japan is well-known for its high-quality domestic midscale hotels, and we think Garner is the perfect brand to help take them to a global stage with IHG’s powerful systems, world-class technology, market leading operations support and award-winning IHG One Rewards loyalty program. I’m proud to be here in Japan to mark this announcement, and would like to thank the ownership group for their confidence in the future of Japanese tourism, as well as for their faith in IHG and the new Garner brand.”

Gary Kwok, Founder and CEO, Axe Management Partners, said: “We are excited to partner with IHG, one of the world’s leading hotel groups, to launch the new Garner brand outside of the US. There is no better place to embark this journey than Japan, a place where omotenashi exceeds all guest expectations. We have great confidence in the Garner brand and are determined to deliver an experience that will truly impress domestic and international travellers.”  

Sam Lau, Founder and Managing Partner, Axe Management Partners, said: “This partnership further demonstrates our confidence and commitment in the long-term prospects of the Japan real estate market and hospitality sector. We foresee this strong market trend will continue, and will further deploy capital in hospitality and other sectors across asset classes, to add to our global portfolio.”

The hotels are all conveniently located in the centre of Osaka, just moments away from the famous Midosuji shopping street and Dotonbori, the city’s lively entertainment area. Nearby Honmachi Station is one of the busiest on the Osaka Metro, with an average of 180,000 passengers per day, and connected by three lines, providing exceptional access to all parts of Osaka. Kansai International and Itami airports are just an hour away, and Yumeshima Island, where the 2025 World Expo and future integrated resort development will be located, is only 25 mins away.

The opening of the three Garner hotels would further embed IHG’s position as one of Japan’s leading international hotel companies, which currently has 54 open or pipeline hotels across the country. In Osaka, there will be an IHG hotel to suit the need of any guest, with ten hotels across the luxury, premium and essentials segments, including InterContinental Osaka, ANA Crowne Plaza Osaka, voco Osaka Central, RIHGA Royal Hotel Osaka, Holiday Inn Express Osaka Midosuji, Holiday Inn Osaka Namba, Holiday Inn & Suites Shin Osaka and the three Garner hotels.

IHG will continue to focus on business development in Japan and aim to further expand its portfolio.

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