From: Impact Porter Novelli
Published: Tue May 24 2005



Dubai. May 2005: InterContinental Hotels Group, the world’s most global hotel company, officially signed a partnership agreement this week with its lead investor in the Levant region to develop 20 Express by Holiday Inn hotels within the next five years.

In the Levant, the lead investor in Express by Holiday Inn is Hotel Development Services, a subsidary of Societe des Grandes Hotels du Liban (SGHL) established in 1953 as the backbone of the newly burgeoning hotel industry in Lebanon.

The InterContinental Phoenicia and InterContinental Le Vendome, owned by SGHL, have become synonymous with InterContinental Hotels Group and the InterContinental Phoenicia first flew the flag in 1962 and InterContinental Le Vendome in 1996.

Today, SGHL is focused on maintaining its leadership role in the first class hotel market in Lebanon with InterContinental Hotels Group. It is also looking at new markets that will eventually span the Levant region and will be operated through the Express by Holiday Inn brand and HDS.

Societe des Grandes Hotels du Liban has a roll out plan to commence development of 20 properties for Lebabon and Syria within the next two years, with the first hotels to be operating by the end of 2006.

"We are very pleased that we concluded this agreement with InterContinental Hotels Group to develop this very promising and exciting new product. It will fill a gap in the market, which exists as we don’t have what we call ‘budget hotels’ which are of this standard. This will answer the particular needs for budget hotel brands for the geographic area we are covering," commented Mazen Salha, Chairman, Societe des Grandes Hotels du Liban.

Developed by InterContinental Hotels Group to meet the needs of the fastest growing market, Express by Holiday Inn is the world’s largest budget brand and is growing rapidly. The Group recently unveiled the first concept room at this year’s Arabian Travel Market.

The arrival of the Express by Holiday Inn brand will reinforce the company's position as the largest multi-branded hotel operator in the Middle East, adding to its current portfolio of the InterContinental and Crowne Plaza properties and Holiday Inn hotels & resorts. The company plans to launch 50 Express by Holiday Inn proerties within the next seven years across the Middle East and Africa, with the first hotels to open simultaneously in Dubai, Jeddah and Riyadh.

In Saudi Arabia, Express by Holiday Inn will be owned and developed by SREDCO (Saudi Real Estate Development Company) a specialised and professional real estate group and holy owned subsidiary of Alesayi Group of Companies.

SREDCO has a roll out plan of a total of 12 hotels throughout Saudi Arabia, all operating by 2009.

The market is eagerly anticipating the introduction of the new brand as InterContinental Hotels Group’s budget hotel concept has already proved exceptionally popular in trend-setting markets including the U.S. and Europe.

"Our research has shown that the Middle East needs a good chain of hotels which place an emphasis on quality at a budget price," said Chris Moloney, Chief Operating Officer, InterContinental Hotels Group, Middle East and Africa. "We are meeting that need, and our target is to be operating as many as 50 Express by Holiday Inn hotels in the region within seven years, with more to follow."

He continued: "Budget travellers are now the largest sector of the burgeoning travel industry and that worldwide trend is being mirrored right here in the Middle East where there has been a shift in the market due to the growth of the middle class throughout the GCC and Levant."

As the largest hotel operator in the Middle East, InterContinental Hotels Group has more than 70 InterContinental, Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn properties across the UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Kenya, Eritrea, Zambia and Gabon.

With all of the Express by Holiday Inn properties offering the convenience of guaranteed advance bookings and consistent quality at an affordable price, this concept is set to take the Middle East by storm.

"Each of the hotels will be a new building offering consistent standards of service and modern facilities, but without some of the extra services you will find in our other IHG hotels," explained Moloney.

Express by Holiday Inn will offer guests our very successful Priority Club Rewards system and be part of the Holidex reservation system.

About InterContinental Hotels Group
InterContinental, Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn hotels across the region can be booked with toll-free calls to the InterContinental Hotels Group Middle East Central Reservations Office in Bahrain (80000 880), Egypt (0800-4433322), Jordan (0800-22666), Kuwait (473 2100 ext 6233), Lebanon (01 426-801 - ask operator to connect to 866 866 7556), Oman (800 777 999), Pakistan (00800 909 971234) Qatar (0800 971234), Saudi Arabia (800 897 1465), and the UAE (800 4642).
InterContinental Hotels Group PLC of the United Kingdom [LON:IHG, NYSE:IHG (ADRs)] is the world's most global hotel company and the largest by number of rooms. InterContinental Hotels Group owns, manages, leases or franchises, through various subsidiaries, more than 3,500 hotels and 535,000 guest rooms in nearly 100 countries and territories around the world ( The Group owns a portfolio of well recognised and respected hotel brands including InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn ® Hotels and Resorts, Holiday Inn Express®, Staybridge Suites®, and Candlewood Suites®, and also has a controlling interest in Britvic, the second largest soft drinks manufacturer in the UK. InterContinental Hotels Group offers information and reservations capability on the Internet - for InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, for Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, for Holiday Inn hotels, for Holiday Inn Express hotels, for Staybridge Suites by Holiday Inn hotels, and for Candlewood Suites, and for the Group's rewards programme, For the latest news from InterContinental Hotels Group, visit our online Press Office at
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