IHG Hotels & Resorts is celebrating its diamond anniversary in Australia, marking 60 years since a legendary InterContinental property became the country’s first international hotel.
To celebrate this milestone, IHG will host a series of events and celebrations this month and through the end of the year, teams across the brand will celebrate this milestone with events and surprises for guests, including a special 60th anniversary edition from IHG. Tim Tam Slice which was created by the InterContinental Hayman Island team as a nod to another Australian icon who was born around the same time.
There will also be a social media series with video messages from colleagues and people who have worked for the group over the past 60 years – including Keith Barr, IHG’s Global CEO who led the Australasia, Nova Scotia region. Zealand and Pacific from 2006 to 2009, and Tony South, who led Bass Hotels in Australia following the acquisition of SPHC.
The Diamond celebration theme is particularly fitting in 2022, as IHG launched its new global loyalty program in April – IHG One Rewards – which offers a new Diamond tier with great benefits for its members.
The group will also celebrate its greatest era of growth, implementing its True Hospitality for Good program, with teams in full force, for Giving for Good month in September, fundraising and volunteering for its partner, OzHarvest, as well than other important causes.
The brand was launched in Australia by American airline Pan Am, founder of the InterContinental brand, with the opening of the InterContinental Southern Cross hotel in Melbourne on August 14, 1962, hailed as one of the most luxurious hotels in its time.
As the city’s first American-style hotel, it has attracted celebrities, royalty, and rockstars, including Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, Princes Charles and Princes Dianna, Rock Hudson, and Marlene Dietrich. Most memorable, however, was a visit by the Beatles in 1964 when the street outside was flooded with screaming fans.
Next are the Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza brands which have continued to attract jet-set era well-heeled travelers and have grown steadily across the country in destinations such as Cairns, Cable Beach, Hamilton Island, Newcastle , Melbourne and Sydney.
Bass Hotels & Resorts (with its own impressive heritage dating back to 1777) acquired the Holiday Inn and InterContinental brands in the 1980s and 1990s respectively, and significantly increased the brands’ presence in Australia after acquiring Southern Pacific Hotels Corporation (SPHC ) in 2000 and transitioned its Parkroyal and Centra brands.
In the same year, Bass spun off its hotel business, known as Six Continents, before renaming itself as InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) in 2003 and eventually becoming IHG Hotels & Resorts – as we know it today – in 2021.
This journey over the past 60 years paved the way for what IHG calls its “Diamond Age,” celebrating its greatest period of organic growth on record.
Today, it has 68 open and signed hotels in Australia alone, and 95 across the Australasia and Pacific region, spanning eight brands and three collections: InterContinental, Kimpton, Vignette Collection and Hotel Indigo in the Luxury & Lifestyle portfolio; voco and Crowne Plaza in the Premium portfolio; and Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express in the Essentials portfolio.
Leanne Harwood, Senior Managing Director of IHG Hotels & Resorts – Japan, Australasia & Pacific, said she was proud to celebrate an incredible milestone for a brand she loves.
“It is truly a wonderful time of celebration, reflection and excitement for the future as we enter our ‘diamond era’ for IHG,” she continued.
“I am very grateful to have the opportunity to lead IHG here in this market today, but there are so many who have been part of our deep heritage and continued our pioneering spirit to lead the way before me. This anniversary is an opportunity for us to give back and say thank you.
“Thank you to our colleagues, thank you to the owners, thank you to our former leaders and thank you to our loyal guests, who have accompanied us on this exciting journey.
“We couldn’t wish for a more iconic property to mark the launch of our long and impressive history in Australia and, although the Southern Cross Hotel is no longer with us, its legacy lives on in the iconic properties we continue to work with. open our owners today and we are very honored to celebrate this 60 year milestone with our colleagues, owners and guests.