FEATURE14 May 2018

Inside knowledge

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During Nick Rich’s time at InterContinental Hotels Group, the insights function has learned much about customer behaviour and, as he tells Rob Gray, it has changed the way those insights are used.


pair of sleek Teslas, side by side at electric charging points, catch my eye as I pull up in the car park of the Crowne Plaza Gerrards Cross. Here’s an immediate indication of the need for hotels to move with the times to keep customers happy, and I haven’t even set foot in the lobby yet.

I’m here to meet Nick Rich, vice-president, global market and consumer insights at InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), one of the world’s leading hospitality businesses. It is present in 100-plus countries and owns more than a dozen hotel brands, including Holiday Inn, Kimpton, Hotel Indigo and, of course, Crowne Plaza and InterContinental Hotels & Resorts. 

All told, IHG has more than 5, 200 open properties, which offer more than three-quarters of a million hotel rooms combined. Roughly 80% of its properties are run through franchises, but in emerging markets – such as Greater China – the business is predominantly a managed one, which means IHG ...