Atlanta Business Chronicle – by J. Scott Trubey Staff Writer
InterContinental Hotel Group PLC (IHG) is getting into the timeshare business and creating a new brand under its Holiday Inn umbrella, the global hotelier announced Wednesday.
London-based IHG (NYSE: IHG), which has its North American headquarters in Atlanta, said Wednesday it has formed an licensing and marketing alliance with The Family of Orange Lake Resorts to create Holiday Inn Club Vacations, a new timeshare brand.
The new brand will launch in December with the reflagging of Orange Lake’s 1,400-acre golf, water park and sports resort in Orlando, Fla., the company said in a news release. Orange Lake’s other properties in Vermont, Wisconsin and Panama City, Fla., also will be rebranded.
Orange Lake will retain ownership and operations control of its properties as a privately held company.
Under the deal, Holiday Inn will build a hotel at the Orlando resort and Orange Lake villas will be marketed thorugh IHG’s reservation and distribution systems. IHG affinity program members will earn points for staying at Orange Lake resorts.
“This deal reinforces the strength of the Holiday Inn brand as we are able to move into the timeshare market with a good partner who knows the business well,” Andy Cosslett, CEO of IHG said in a prepared release. “We believe that timeshare is a natural progression for Holiday Inn due to our scale and customer base in North America.”
The Orlando property, which is near Walt Disney World and includes 2,412 villas, marks IHG’s first foray into the timeshare market.
American Resort Development Association, a trade group, said timeshares are one of the fasts growing segments in the U.S. vacation industry.
The deal was announced during the IHG Americas Investors & Leadership Conference in Los Angeles. IHG is in the midst of a $1 billion, multiyear global relaunch of the Holiday Inn brand.
“This agreement fits well with our business model as we are able to introduce the Holiday Inn brand to a new set of customers without the need for capital investment,” Coslett said in the release. “With both companies focused on growth the alliance brings with it the opportunity to expand into major North American destinations.”
Orange Lake was founded by Kemmons Wilson, the founder of Holiday Inn in 1952.
“This is a great opportunity for our two companies because we share the same heritage and founder, Kemmons Wilson,” said Don Harrill, the president and CEO of Orange Lake Resorts.