InterContinental Hotels & Resorts has over 180 hotels, located in more than 60 countries across the globe. In operation for over 70 years, the Intercontinental brand is one of the world’s major luxury hotel and resort brands.
In 1945, United States President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Juan Trippe, President of Pan Am, discussed their concern for Latin America’s need for development dollars at a White House breakfast. The two men thought that one way to attract businessmen and tourists would be to offer luxury hotels in key cities. Trippe, envisioning a rise in mass international air travel, agreed that Pan Am, with the support of U.S. government institutions like the Export-Import Bank, could form a subsidiary to foster the implementation of the idea. The hotels would also serve to accommodate Pan Am crews and passengers in destinations where upscale hotels were not yet present. On April 3, 1946, Intercontinental Hotel Corporation was founded. Intercontinental Hotels purchased its first hotel that year, the Grande Hotel in Belém, Brazil. The chain soon grew to include numerous hotels throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.
Intercontinental Hotels opened its first property in the Middle East in 1961, the Phoenicia Intercontinental Beirut. The chain became one of the first to operate in Eastern Europe when it signed a contract to manage the Esplanade Zagreb Hotel in 1964. In 1972 the chain, by then renamed Inter-Continental Hotels, started a line of moderately priced hotels called Forum Hotels. The chain opened its first hotel in the US in 1973, when it signed a contract to manage the Mark Hopkins Hotel in San Francisco.
PanAm sold Inter-Continental to Grand Metropolitan on August 19, 1981. The new owners merged their existing chain of Grand Metropolitan Hotels into Inter-Continental and its sibling chain Forum Hotels. GrandMet sold the chain to the Saison Group in 1988, which in turn sold it to Bass in 1998. Two years later, Bass divested itself of its namesake brewing business and renamed itself Six Continents, focusing on hotels. In 2003, the entire company was renamed InterContinental Hotels Group, with the original InterContinental chain one of numerous brands today within the company.
InterContinental Hotels & Resorts use the IHG Green Engage system, an online sustainability management system that tracks a hotel’s environmental performance and recommends ways to improve it. The hotel chain also uses Green Engage tools to help their hotels and resorts reduce energy consumption by up to 25%. Its Shelter in a Storm program involves the receipt of guidance on when and how best to respond when disasters occur. When a disaster occurs, funds from the IHG Shelter Fund can be allocated to enable hotels to support their guests, employees and the local community with financial support, supplies and accommodation. The brand also operates an IHG Academy that schools local people to develop skills for work.
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