InterContinental Hotels Group announced it has acquired Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants. The British-based IHG reportedly paid $430 million in cash.
Kimpton was established in 1981, and is the largest independent boutique hotel and restaurant business in the U.S., managing 62 hotels across 28 cities, including Boston, Chicago, Florida, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C. There are a further 16 hotels in the development pipeline, of which 10 are under construction. Kimpton also operates 71 hotel-based destination restaurants, bars and lounges.
“Kimpton is a unique business with a strong track record of excellence in everything from design and innovative hotel concepts to financial and operational performance,” Kimpton CEO Mike Depatie said in a statement. “It also has enormous potential for growth, both in its home market of the US and globally. IHG is the ideal partner for Kimpton and has absolutely the right experience and specialist capabilities to help the business move to the next phase of rapid growth.”
IHG manages nearly 5,000 hotels around the world, including InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Staybridge Suites, Candlewood Suites, EVEN Hotels and HUALUXE Hotels and Resorts. According to IHG, the addition of Kimpton will complement IHG’s Hotel Indigo and EVEN Hotels brands, and help make IHG a market leader in the boutique segment, the fastest growing segment in the industry.
“Kimpton is a well-established and highly successful business that has built an industry leading position in the U.S.,” said IHG chief executive officer Richard Solomons. “It has created a portfolio of world-class hotels and destination restaurants, and the distinctive and innovative Kimpton brand will fit perfectly into the IHG brand family. Adding Kimpton to our portfolio of preferred brands creates the world’s largest boutique hotel business.”
While IHG made mention of Kimpton’s many awards and accolades in its official announcement about the acquisition, there was no reference to the San Francisco-based company’s numerous LGBT-related recognitions. Since its establishment in 1981, Kimpton has made being a LGBT-friendly company part of its core brand. It recently earned a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index for the eleventh year in a row.
IHG has also received positive recognition from HRC for its LGBT-friendly employment policies. However, the company’s proactive outreach to LGBT travelers has lagged behind other similarly large hotel companies such as Marriott, Hyatt, Hilton and Starwood.
In the soon to be released 19th LGBT Travel and Tourism Survey conducted by Community Marketing, an LGBT research and marketing firm, respondents were asked, “Of all the hotel brands or chains in the world, which chains/brands have done the best job outreaching to the LGBT community in the past 12 months?” Kimpton ranked 3rd among the top five responses and been among the top brands/chains named since the question was added to the survey. However, as the survey notes, Kimpton’s lead has been declining as Marriott and Hilton have made significant investments into LGBT marketing. Whether or not IHG will follow this trend and use its purchase of Kimpton to bolster its position among LGBT travelers is the key question.
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