As IHG’s fastest-growing, new-build brand and second fastest growing brand overall, avid is quickly making a name for itself in hospitality. Its “just right” focus appeals to guests looking for value, but also to hotel owners that want an efficient and profitable brand partner.
The first property opened in 2018 in Oklahoma City, and the robust growth strategy fared well with guests during the Covid-19 pandemic as IHG introduced its Clean Promise standard. With leaner staffing models and a lower cost to enter the market, avid proved popular with hotel developers, too.
Karen Gilbride, vice president of avid hotels and Atwell Suites, shares an update as the brand reaches its 50th hotel opening milestone, the avid hotel Ft. Lauderdale Airport – Cruise, with no signs of slowing down.
From the 1st to the 50th hotel, what adjustments were made from owner and guest feedback?
We designed avid hotels to deliver the essentials exceptionally well at a fair price. Guest satisfaction scores have been consistently strong since the brand launched so we have not changed the core proposition at all from the first avid hotel in Oklahoma City to the 50th avid hotel in Ft. Lauderdale. This includes rooms equipped with the latest technology and designed for sound sleep.
Still, we are constantly listening to owner and guest feedback and have made enhancements to the breakfast menu, adding rotating hot, grab and go options, which guests appreciate.
Is the brand still planning international expansion?
At this time, we are focused on the continued growth of the avid brand in the US, Canada, and Mexico, with plans to expand beyond North America as opportunities arise. We recently opened the second avid hotel in Mexico (in Tijuana-Otay), and we are very excited for the opening of the first avid hotel in Canada later this year (in Vaughan near Toronto).
How many hotels are in the pipeline now?
There are more than 165 avid hotels in the pipeline, including 15 under construction and more than 90 with plans approved or submitted. With 24 brand new properties opened in 2021, avid hotels was IHG’s fastest-growing new-build brand and second only to Holiday Inn Express for total hotel growth within the IHG portfolio.
How do you operate hotels with such a lean operation and fewer staff?
We designed avid hotels to be simple to build, simple to open, and simple to operate. Staff members are cross-trained to perform multiple roles, and avid has a lower staffing model than other similarly sized hotels by design. For example, our rooms are designed to be efficient to clean without compromising cleanliness. Furniture sits off the floor where possible so room attendants can easily get to all surfaces.
Have you made tweaks to the breakfast buffet since launching?
Our Good all-round grab and go breakfast featuring familiar, name-brand items is an important part of the avid hotels brand proposition. Since launching the brand, we have added a rotating hot item, such as a meat, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich, and we are constantly evaluating opportunities to introduce new items.
Are you considering a dual-branded property strategy?
Avid hotels introduced a dual-brand prototype with Candlewood Suites last year for select markets, where we combine two brands that serve complementary demand segments within one footprint. Owners have responded well, and we have seen several signings since launch. Our first dual-brand property currently under construction is an avid hotel and Holiday Inn in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, and is expected to open later this year.