InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has agreed to acquire Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, the largest independent boutique hotel group in the United States. Kimpton, established in San Francisco in 1981, has 62 hotels in major U.S. markets such as San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, New York and Seattle, with 16 more hotels in the pipeline including hotels to open in Austin and San Antonio, Texas, Palm Springs, Calif. and Grand Cayman among others. There are 71 Kimpton restaurants and bars.
IHG sees Kimpton complementing their boutique brands Hotel Indigo and EVEN Hotels and is touting that IHG is the “clear market leader” in the boutique segment, the fastest growing segment in the industry.
Kimpton’s Chief Executive Officer, Mike Depatie stated, “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 has plans to expand the Kimpton brand in international locations (yet to be determined but Europe and Asia have been mentioned). Kimpton just recently rebranded their loyalty program as Kimpton Karma Rewards and there are approximately 1.6 million members.
Bottom line: The deal is expected to be finalized in the first quarter of 2015. For now, the two loyalty programs will continue on their separate paths but it’s likely that Kimpton Karma Rewards will be folded into IHG Rewards. Kimpton Karma members can “raid the mini-bar” in their hotel room as one of the most popular benefits of membership and the hotel chain is known for its generous pet-friendly policies. Elite members even get a free hotel night when a new hotel opens up–it will be a sad day if/when these benefits go away. On a popular website for travelers, a Kimpton representative stated, “We’re still the same people behind the brand, and the same culture that celebrates uniqueness and individuality, and we don’t plan on changing that.” For IHG members, this is good news.