InterContinental enters fitness niche

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

InterContinental Hotels Group is launching a new brand, Even, that will try to draw health-conscious travelers with such amenities as room coat racks that double as pull-up bars and gyms with group classes.

Even is a new lodging brand by InterContinental Hotels Group.

InterContinental Hotels Group

Even is a new lodging brand by InterContinental Hotels Group.


The gyms of Even hotels will offer guests group classes, and restaurants will focus on healthful meals.

InterContinental Hotels Group

The gyms of Even hotels will offer guests group classes, and restaurants will focus on healthful meals.


Great Britain-based InterContinental, which has its Americas headquarters in Atlanta, said it will spend $150 million reflagging existing hotels or building new ones in key cities that fit the demographic. They include Washington, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, said Christian Hempell, vice president of new business development and delivery for InterContinental.

InterContinental owns the Holiday Inn, Staybridge Suites and other brands. The company wants 100 Even locations opened or signed with franchisees in five years.

In addition to room and gym amenities, hotel restaurant menus will focus on healthful meals, Hempell said.

Other hotel brands are wooing health-conscience travelers. Renaissance ClubSport hotels have a handful of locations and Hilton and Westin have offered in-room fitness programs. But the concept has not grown beyond a niche product.

The move comes as travelers are spending after years of watching their wallets. Average occupancy in the United States is expected to increase 1.6 percent this year; in Atlanta, it’s expected to gain 0.7 percent.

InterContinental may also want a new brand to keep franchisee interest, said Robert Mendelbaum, of PKF Hospitality Research. The company built a lot of new business with Holiday Inn Select and renovations of the storied Holiday Inn brand. Its most recent new concept was the boutique Hotel Indigo brand, which debuted in Atlanta in 2004.

“New brands are created because the franchisor has exhausted the potential of their current brands” to attract new franchisees, Mendelbaum said.

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