Our history



Our story starts in a brewery

At this time

In a period when James Watt perfected the steam engine and American independence was recognised, social change dominated the 19th Century. The first telephone call, the first light bulb and the abolishment of slavery soon followed, sweeping in a second industrial revolution that saw William Bass open his first brewery. As the railways opened, mobility and urbanisation exploded, enabling Bass to take his beer worldwide and become the world’s largest brewer by the end of the century.


William Bass opens a brewery in Burton-on-Trent, UK

IHG®’s story starts here, as Bass begins a journey from local brewery to global hospitality player, acquiring what would become world-famous hotel brands along the way.

Horse and Cart


Bass registers the UK’s first trademark

A pioneer in international brand marketing, Bass registers its Red Triangle under the UK's Trade Marks Registration Act 1875 – the first trademark in the UK.

The Act came into effect on 1 January 1876 and legend has it that a Bass employee queued overnight outside the registrar's office on New Year's Eve in order to be the first in line to register. As a result, Bass received the first two registrations, the Bass Red Triangle for their pale ale and a Bass Red Diamond for their strong ale.

Bass Triangle


Luxury takes flight with InterContinental

At this time

The 20th-century began without cars, planes, TVs and computers, but that was all to change. Breakthrough inventions transformed lives, including the first flight by the Wright brothers, Henry Ford's first Model-T, and Albert Einstein's Theory of Relativity. Propelled by the continuing popularity of rail, the emergence of the automobile, and the first jet air flights, travel grew and sparked innovation in hospitality.


Bass is listed on the London Stock Exchange's FT30

The FT30 Index is the oldest of the indices, and was created to track the UK’s top 30 companies. It was replaced in 1984 with the FTSE100, where IHG is listed today.

Bass Triangle


Hospitality begins to take flight

Pan American Airways founder, Juan Trippe, founds the InterContinental® brand, embarking on a vision to provide luxury accommodation at the end of every flight.

Juan Trippe


The first InterContinental hotel opens in Belem, Brazil

Almost 50 years before the InterContinental brand becomes part of the IHG family - the brand is born.

Belem Heritage


Holiday Inn changes family travel forever

At this time

The 1950s are remembered as a prosperous time of recovery from the Great Depression and the war years. A time of looking forward and optimism, of new heroes like Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe and Grace Kelly. The first commercial air flights from London to Johannesburg and Colombo signaled the dawn of the jet age, heralding the start of the modern tourism industry. Holiday club destinations arrived on the scene, a precursor for today’s all-inclusive resorts.


Holiday Inn opens its doors in Memphis, Tennessee

On a family trip to Washington DC, businessman Kemmons Wilson has the idea of providing travelling families with comfortable and affordable accommodation they could trust.

Starting in Memphis, his vision would become a reality in a big way.

Kemmons Holiday Inn Sign


Holiday Inn is the first hotel brand to franchise

Pioneering a new business concept, franchising was adopted as a strategy to expand the Holiday Inn® brand. And it worked, with worldwide growth just around the corner.

Holiday Inn Advert


InterContinental - home to the world famous

Grace Kelly meets Prince Rainier III of Monaco in the foyer of the InterContinental® Carlton Cannes, during the Cannes Film Festival. The couple would soon marry and the hotel names a suite after her.

IC Carlton Cannes


Holiday Inn – the world's largest hotel brand

The now famous brand becomes the first hotel company to reach 300,000 rooms. 
Wilson Children


As the sixties swing, Bass booms

At this time

The swinging sixties. An era defined by a counterculture revolution of social norms that swept away the calm and predictable feel of the late 1950s. As traditional taboos relaxed, the demand for greater individual freedoms increased. As worldwide GDP grew, driven by the proliferation of new domestic technology and expanding middle classes, prosperity boomed.


Bass acquires pubs owner Mitchells & Butlers

The first of many acquisitions for Bass during the 1960s of well-known regional pub and brewing companies across the UK.

Bass Triangle


InterContinental and Martin Luther King

Sat in his suite at InterContinental® The Willard Hotel, Martin Luther King puts the finishing touches to his now famous ‘I have a dream’ speech on the night before the pivotal Washington civil rights rally.

Press release

Willard InterContinental


Holiday Inn launches Holidex, the world’s first computerised hotel reservation system

Kemmons Wilson’s pioneering spirit continues as Holiday Inn launches Holidex®, the world’s first electronic reservation system. Booking a room would never be the same again.

Holidex Advert


Bass merges with Charrington United Breweries

Bass becomes one of the largest brewers and pub owners in the UK.

Picture of beer


From Memphis to Kyoto, Holiday Inn goes global

At this time

The 1970s was defined as a "pivot of change". Economic upheavals and recession end the postwar economic boom and modern computing is born, with the world's first microprocessor and email. Social progressive values such as increasing political awareness and the economic liberty of women grew, and technology was brought to life through microwave ovens, VCRs, and cell phones.


‘The Nation’s Innkeeper’ becomes ‘The World's Innkeeper’

With its eye-catching roadside sign - a familiar sight on US highways and its most successful form of advertising, Holiday Inn edges towards worldwide domination, opening a new hotel every three days.

The Worlds Innkeeper Holiday Inn


Holiday Inn connects the industry and transforms the way we book

Holidex becomes the first hotel reservation system to link directly with airline and travel agents systems - bringing together the full power of the travel industry.



Boutique is born

At this time

The decade saw tremendous population growth worldwide, increasingly sophisticated technology and growing individual empowerment. The Internet took shape as Tim Berners Lee formalised the concept of the World Wide Web, video games became a major industry, and the boom box and Walkman had a profound impact on youth culture.


Boutique is born with Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants

Decades before Kimpton joins forces with IHG, Bill Kimpton founds a different kind of hotel experience. Inspired by his European travels and a desire for a more bespoke stay, his idea was simple – a stay that was more beautiful, liveable and stylish. The idea caught on.

Bill Kimpton


Holiday Inn gives business travellers Crowne Plaza

The first Crowne Plaza® in Rockville, Maryland, brought a new style of service and facilities for guests travelling on business.

Crowne Plaza

Industry's first loyalty programme arrives

Priority Club Rewards, the industry’s first loyalty programme, is launched by Holiday Inn, rewarding guests every time they stay.


Rewards Club


Holiday Inn is China’s first international hotel brand

The Holiday Inn® Lido opens in Beijing, bringing international branded hotels to Greater China for the first time.

Holiday Inn Lido Beijing


Bass makes its move into the hotel industry

The acquisition of Holiday Inn International (excluding North America) represented the first significant step by Bass to gain a foothold in the hospitality industry.

Holiday Inn Logo


Bass cranks up its focus on hotels

New British legislation limits the number of tied pubs major brewers can own, heralding a new direction for Bass as it reduces its pub estate and increases investment in hotels.

Coffee and Toast


Holiday Inn Express arrives as Bass chooses hotels

At this time

Prosperity reigned, with steady economic growth for much of the decade characterised by the rise of multiculturalism and alternative media. Movements such as grunge, rave and hip hop spread around the world, influenced by Generation X, Generation Y and the Millennials. Youth culture embraced environmentalism and entrepreneurship with increased individuality. By now, Internet access was available in more than 50% of some Western countries, its use revolutionising travel services and transforming tourism and hospitality into big business.


Bass takes full control of Holiday Inn; Holiday Inn Express joins the party

Bass buys the remaining North American part of the Holiday Inn business and, owning the world-famous brand entirely, sets its sights on expansion.

Its first move is to launch Holiday Inn Express® , aimed at smart travellers with a new service style.

Holiday Inn Express


Bass expands in hospitality with new pubs and restaurants

Reflecting a fast-growing appetite for casual dining, Bass buys the Harvester and Browns restaurant chains, and opens its first O'Neill's and All Bar One pubs.

Candlewood Suites


Candlewood Suites, the home from home hotel, arrives

Years before it becomes part of the IHG family, Jack DeBoer founds the extended stay concept with the launch of his Candlewood Suites® brand, introducing free guest laundry and a 24hr locker for the first time.


An online revolution

Holiday Inn takes the world’s first hotel booking over the internet.



Bass sells its leased pubs and smaller businesses

Bass renews its focus on hotels and pubs after the British Government blocks its attempt to acquire half of the Carlsberg-Tetley brewing business.

The business splits into separate brewing and retailing divisions, and sells off its leased pubs and other businesses, including Gala bingo and Coral bookmakers.


Bass launches Staybridge Suites

Bass launches Staybridge Suites® by Holiday Inn across North America, looking after travellers spending long periods away from home.

At the same time, Bass sells its North American midscale hotel buildings but retains control of their branding through innovative franchise agreements.

Staybridge Suites


Bass adds InterContinental to its growing hotel portfolio

Bass buys the InterContinental Hotels & Resorts brand, and takes Juan Trippe’s vision worldwide.

InterContinental Lisbon


Bass says goodbye to beer, IHG is born

At this time

The new millennium was met with confidence and optimism around the world, and marked by a new focus. Following long term growth, energy resources started diminishing and global warming properly hits the world agenda. The Internet became a mainstay, driving faster communications through mobile phones, e-mail and social networking sites. The decade ends with a crisis in housing credit in the US, which sparks a major global financial recession.


Bass swaps beer for hotels

Bass acquires Southern Pacific Hotels Corporation in Australia and US-based hotel management company, Bristol Hotels & Resorts Inc.

Meanwhile Bass’s brewing operations, and the name Bass, are bought by Interbrew (now AB InBev). The deal re-shaped the UK’s brewing industry and paved the way for the conglomerate to refocus its sights on hotels and global hospitality.

Holiday Inn USA


Bass gets a new name: Six Continents plc

Emphasising the company’s global spread, the name was chosen after more than 10,000 staff submitted suggestions, and was already in use as the name of Bass's Inter-Continental hotels loyalty scheme.

Six Continents Logo

Six Continents sells almost 1,000 pubs and buys the European Posthouse chain of hotels

Most of the Posthouse chain of hotels are converted into Holiday Inn branded properties, massively boosting the brand’s reach.

Child high fiving a person


IHG is born

Six Continents plc splits into two, creating a separate hotels and soft drinks company named InterContinental Hotels Group plc (IHG), and a retail business called Mitchells & Butlers plc. The split completes in April 2003 and IHG becomes a standalone company. 

IHG Logo

IHG acquires Candlewood Suites

Complementing its Staybridge Suites extended stay brand, the addition of Candlewood Suites gives IHG a big presence in the US.

Candlewood Suites


IHG launches boutique brand Hotel Indigo

The first of many Hotel Indigo® properties designed to reflect their surroundings so that no two are ever alike, IHG’s Hotel Indigo brand starts life in the eclectic arts and entertainment district of Midtown Atlanta, US.

Hotel Indigo


IHG becomes a dedicated hospitality business

IHG sells its holding in Britvic plc, the soft drinks business, and focuses on its leadership in worldwide hospitality.

InterContinental Danang Vietnam


IHG Academy launches, building skills in True Hospitality

A pioneering collaboration between hotels, schools and communities across the globe begins, helping local people develop hospitality skills. Initially launched in China, IHG Academies are now all over the world, helping thousands.

More on IHG® Academy

IHG Academy


A new brand for Holiday Inn and a $1bn refresh

Holiday Inn Resort® is launched as a destination for family fun and relaxation, and IHG announces a $1 billion refresh of the Holiday Inn brand family, the industry’s biggest ever investment.

Holiday Inn Catalina Island


Holiday Inn Club Vacations arrives

Created in an alliance with Orange Lake Resorts and Holiday Inn founder Kemmons Wilson, Holiday Inn Club Vacations® completes the Holiday Inn Brand Family.

Press release



Staybridge Suites goes global 

Following the success of Staybridge Suites in North America, IHG opens ground-breaking properties in Liverpool, UK and Cairo, Egypt.

Press release

Staybridge Suites Liverpool


IHG starts to build sustainable hotels with IHG Green Engage

IHG’s Green Engage™ system launches, helping hotels globally to measure, monitor, manage and report on energy, carbon, water and waste.

Read more on IHG Green Engage here.

IHG Green


New brands. New fans. IHG defines True Hospitality

At this time

The 2010s began amidst a global financial crisis, and the decade is characterised by economic and political upheaval. China replaced the US as the world's largest trading nation, and politics increasingly polarises as governments grapple with a far wider range of social, economic and environmental issues. In the home, the baby boomers generation approached retirement, increasing the ageing population, and rapidly developing technology changes how we all work and live.


IHG is the first to offer a booking app across all platforms

Connecting guests with hotels all over the world, wherever they are.
IHG Mobile App


IHG Shelter in a Storm programme launches

Equipping hotels to respond quickly and effectively in times of disaster, IHG Shelter in a Storm provides vital assistance and shelter to employees and communities.

IHG Shelter


IHG launches EVEN Hotels brand 

Launched in the US, EVEN® Hotels is built on growing demand for a hotel brand that helps wellness-minded travellers maintain their balance on the road.

News release

EVEN Hotels Rockville

IHG unveils HUALUXE Hotels and Resorts in China


With HUALUXE® translating from Hua, which means majestic China, and luxe representing luxury, IHG introduces the first international hotel brand designed specifically for Chinese guests.

News release

Hualuxe Haikou Tea

IHG - home to the 2012 Olympics


Welcoming athletes and spectators from all over the world, Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express serve as official hotel services providers to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

News release

Stay Chris Poster Olympics


IHG Rewards Club brings new benefits to guests

Priority Club Rewards, now the industry’s largest and oldest loyalty programme, is relaunched as IHG® Rewards Club. Bigger and better, it includes free internet access across all hotels globally – an industry first.

News release

IHG Rewards Club


IHG buys Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants

Now a famous brand in the US with a cult following, IHG buys the Kimpton® brand with the aim of sharing it with the world. Announced in 2014, the deal completes in January 2015. 

News release

Kimpton Hotels

IHG opens 5,000th hotel 

Cementing its position as a world leader in hospitality, IHG reaches a milestone with the opening of its 5,000th hotel - the Hotel Indigo® Lower East Side in New York City.

News release

5000th Hotel


IHG Foundation launches to make the world a more hospitable place

IHG creates the IHG® Foundation, an independent charity incorporating IHG Shelter in a Storm. The IHG Foundation increases its agenda to include local community investment and environmental sustainability.

IHG Foundation in Bali


IHG extends mainstream leadership with launch of avid hotels

Redefining every day travel for millions of Americans, avid™ hotels introduces a fresh, new high-quality midscale hotel brand to IHG’s portfolio.

News release

Avid Hotels Exterior

Roll out starts of next generation guest booking system – IHG Concerto

50 years on from introducing Holidex, IHG begins roll-out of its cloud-based hotel platform, IHG Concerto™, which includes its next generation Guest Reservation System. A game-changer for the industry.

News release

IHG Concerto


Regent Hotels & Resorts joins the IHG family

IHG buys a 51% stake in the Regent Hotels & Resorts brand, securing a strong presence at the top end of the luxury segment.

News release

Porto Montenegro

IHG takes leading position in UK luxury market

IHG agrees a deal to rebrand and operate 13 outstanding UK hotels, bringing Kimpton to the market for the first time and making IHG the UK's leading luxury hotelier.

News release

Lux Exterior

IHG launches new upscale brand, voco

Combining the informality and charm of an individual hotel, with the quality and reassurance of a global and trusted brand, IHG strengthens its offer in the fast-growing upscale segment with the launch of voco™ hotels.

News release

voco Hotels

IHG launches True Hospitality for Good

IHG’s programme for communities and charitable giving works with partners to help change lives for the better through building skills and education in hospitality, and supporting communities when disasters strike. Giving for Good month, which is a part of True Hospitality for Good, provides thousands of IHG colleagues worldwide with a chance to give back to others.

More on True Hospitality for Good

Thames cleanup


IHG acquires top tier luxury brand Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas

IHG significantly strengthens its luxury offer with the acquisition of Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas, one of the world’s leading operators of luxury hotels. The $300 million cash acquisition included Six Senses’ spa operations, which are core to the brand’s award-winning luxury and wellness reputation. 

News release

IHG launches Atwell Suites in the US market

A new upper-midscale, all-suites hotel brand is brought to market in an underserved $18 billion industry segment, with a focus on delivering stylish suites and a stay that can flex for guests wishing to work, socialise and explore.

News release

IHG signals the end of an era for mini bathroom toiletries

IHG is the first global hotel company to announce its switch from bathroom miniatures to larger-size amenities in a bid to reduce single-use plastic waste. The commitment will roll out across IHG’s entire estate, removing an estimated 200 million tiny bottles of shampoo, conditioner, bodywash and lotion per year.

News release