Gerardo Murray
Vice President of Brands and Marketing for Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean
InterContinental Hotels Group
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View from the Top

Forty-Five Years Upgrading Guest Service

Wed, 02/21/2018 - 12:51

Q: What role does Mexico play in IHG’s global strategy?

A: We manage 12 hotel brands and seven are present in Mexico, including luxury brand InterContinental, business hotel Crowne Plaza and our most popular brands: Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express. Mexico is also the only Latin American country hosting Hotel Indigo, our boutique hotel brand. We also have our two extended-stay brands, Staybridge and Candlewood. Mexico is one of the most important markets for IHG in Latin America because the country has advantageous conditions for our business model. We brought the first Holiday Inn to Mexico over 45 years ago and today we have over 135 hotels in the country.

Q: What business strategy has IHG followed in Mexico?

A: Franchising has been the most common model in our global operations. We have very few assets around the world but in Mexico we have found many talented operators and we are comfortable working with them. These operators, such as Grupo Presidente, Fibra Inn and Grupo Milenium, among others, have realized the value of the franchise.

Q: What are your most important requirements for companies interested in opening an IHG hotel in Mexico?

A: We have a development department that directly works with those interested in licensing with us. Once they approach us, this department develops a study and suggests the best product or brand for the project. If the building is not yet built, we will guide them with the design and provide them access to the most recent construction and design guidelines.

Q: What cities have become attractive for hotel development and what demographic trends have you detected? 

A: We keep in mind the different travel needs our guests have. Our development teams are focused on searching and detecting destinations that could benefit from having hotel services from international and well-recognized brands, providing confidence to travelers. In Mexico, we have hotels in the most important cities but we also are present in the most popular resort destinations.

Q: Corporate responsibility is a core IHG value. How do you apply this to the communities in which you are located?

A: IHG focuses on promoting sustainable development in the communities in which we work. Among our social responsibility programs is the IHG Academy, through which we make strategic alliances with educational institutions. We develop a combined training and professional development program with the institution

Q: In what ways can the public and private sectors promote the development of the tourism sector in Mexico?

A: By promoting infrastructure. We must ensure that we have adequate connectivity through roads, airports and airlines. We are committed to bringing new hotels to new destinations; however, there is need for the right infrastructure capacity. Due to Mexico’s strategic location, the US market is one of the most important but there are many others that could contribute demand. As an example of how seriously we at IHG take this, we have developed a program called China Ready, in which we teach our people simple but valuable concepts for the Chinese market. In the Bajio area, you will find some of our billboard ads containing phrases in Mandarin. It is important to be ready for a market that is very interested in Mexico.

Q: What megatrends has IHG discerned and what actions are you taking to capitalize on them?

A: Today, technology is an important factor, so it is necessary for hotels to provide guests with the right connectivity. This has empowered us to upgrade the service provided at our hotels with a fast and secure connectivity, while using our loyalty program IHG Rewards Club, with over 100 million members worldwide, to deliver personalized experiences to our guests while they check in and stay in one of our hotels.