Opening a hotel in a new market amid a global pandemic might seem like a formula for adversity, but IHG Area General Manager for Taiwan Robbert Manussen and his team have proved it can also be a recipe for success. Since its grand opening, business has flourished at the innovative smart-luxury hotel InterContinental Kaohsiung, part of the IHG Group.
Situated next door to Kaohsiung’s 5G Development Area, the American Institute in Taipei, and the International Exhibition Center, and a short stroll away from the beach, the brand-new InterContinental Kaohsiung offers superior comfort and prestige for leisure and business travelers.
“Our team has done an outstanding job of leveraging the IHG Group and InterContinental brand to alert the public that there’s a new destination in Kaohsiung,” says Manussen. “We’re very optimistic about the south’s growth prospects. The local government’s efforts have resulted in a dynamic and attractive city, and we see business travel increasing as companies like Amazon, Microsoft, TSMC, and Foxconn are setting up shop down here.”
Apart from gaining traction for its high-quality offerings, InterContinental Kaohsiung has also won recognition for its sustainability work. With hybrid hotel cars, composters, adjusted energy consumption, and recyclable amenities, the hotel makes decisions that benefit local communities and enhance the domestic experience. As a luxury brand within the IHG family, InterContinental Kaohsiung combines its global presence, etiquette, and standards with local knowledge and products such as Taiwanese tea and food products from local farms.
“Sustainability used to be a question of price, but now it’s a matter of cultivating the right mindset and carefully selecting products,” says Manussen. “We put a lot of effort into running a hotel with purpose. But most importantly, we pay great attention to detail. Luxury is being able to anticipate your wants and needs and tailor your travel experience to suit them.”
In addition to providing guests with ample options and customizing experiences, InterContinental and the IHG Group offer unique and tailored career opportunities for its staff. InterContinental Kaohsiung has signed four MOUs with universities in Taiwan, Switzerland, and the Netherlands, and offers students exposure to the industry by providing lectures, internships, and training through its IHG Academies.
“When you work with us, you will be offered many possible career routes,” says Manussen. “You can work at the front desk or in the restaurant, but we also have sales, marketing, finance, and business development departments that enable you to grow your roots here, as long as you have a passion for connecting with people and creating memories.”
Modern travelers’ demands for personalization are also reflected in the IHG award system. InterContinental Kaohsiung is one of more than 6,000 hotels where customers can earn points and redeem awards through the relaunched IHG One Rewards program, which allows members to redeem personalized benefits tailored to their preferences and needs. For those who wish to earn mid- to high-tier status quickly, the InterContinental Ambassador program allows members to purchase status for additional benefits such as guaranteed 4 p.m. checkout or upgrades. Meanwhile, the IHG Business Rewards enables businesses to earn points for each booked accommodation, meeting, or event.
“The IHG Corporate Gold and our business rewards program are especially beneficial for companies and business travelers,” says Manussen. “It doesn’t matter which hotel you spend your money at – you can use your points for free meetings or hotel stays at any location. By choosing hotels within the business rewards program, you can even gather points and use them to organize your company’s end-of-the-year outing for free.”
The IHG Group sees Taiwan as a market with tremendous growth potential, and the brand is rapidly expanding its presence on the island. InterContinental Kaohsiung will be followed by the opening of Indigo Alishan later this year, InterContinental Taichung in 2023, and InterContinental Taipei in 2024. Altogether, IHG plans to expand its presence in Taiwan to encompass around 30 hotels within the next decade.
“We believe that there is a bright future for Taiwan in terms of travel demand, and we want to facilitate that by growing and diversifying our portfolio,” says Manussen. “There are areas in Taiwan where we are not yet represented, and we are looking to find more great partners, hotels, and choices for our guests to enjoy for both business and leisure purposes.”