The InterContinental Hotels Group has deep roots running back to 1777, when William Bass began a thriving brewery in the United Kingdom. Several changes of hands took place throughout two centuries, until the Bass Corporation took a big chance by delving into the industry of hotel ownership. Hotels became the company's primary industry of interest with the 1988 purchase of the Holiday Inn International chain of hotels, which quickly expanded to include the U.S. segments of the business.
With a desire and passion for the industry, the group made a bold launch into the upscale hotel market with the opening of the first Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts locations in 1994. As various opportunities to expand each industry came about, the group readily took on new challenges. The two industries, brewing and lodging, operated as smooth business companions until the company purchased the Intercontinental Hotel chain in 1998 and subsequently sold Bass two years later. Today, the group's collective offerings also include the Staybridge Suites, Candlewood Suites, Hotel Indigo and, of course, Intercontinental Hotels.
Through continual mergers and acquisitions, the group has grown to encompass in excess of 4,500 properties within more than 100 countries, which establishes it as the world's leader in room availability. With such a broad spectrum of lodging options, this enterprise appeals to an expansive audience of travelers. The company's success is largely due to its affordable accommodations near major thoroughfares and in some of the most popular destinations for leisure travelers across the globe. Accommodations range from simple, comfortable hotel rooms and suites to luxurious resorts geared toward those seeking an exotic getaway.
Many of the hotels within the group feature pet-friendly policies, and several are conveniently adjacent to major airports. Some boast oceanfront views, offer all-inclusive packages, and include lavish amenities such as private water parks and concierge services. The simplest way to explore the variety of accommodations is the Internet, where the scoop on last minute bargains, up-to-the-minute reservation information, and promo code offers is typically available. Securing a room almost anywhere in the world is possible by using prominent links to every property within the group.
In recent years, the company has eagerly expanded its locations and quality of accommodations, and it also now boasts a number of discount programs, making it a popular choice with savvy travelers. Seniors, active military personnel, and members of several auto clubs qualify for rate reductions, and joining the Priority Club Rewards program can earn patrons free nights, vouchers and frequent flier miles. In fact, the InterContinental's rewards program has more members than any of its competitors, with a staggering 60 million participants worldwide.
Over the years, the InterContinental Hotels Group successfully made the massive shift from brewing to hospitality, indicating its ability to surpass the doubts of any naysayers. Remarkably, the group plans to continue its expansion efforts and customer incentives in efforts to maintain leadership in the hotel and resort industry.