USA Today: After about more than a year of planning, IHG's officially ready to launch a system-wide makeover of its Crowne Plaza chain, according to news flowing out of IHG's annual convention in Las Vegas.
There are no computer renderings of what a new lobby or guest room will look like yet, because it's too early in the process, an IHG spokeswoman told me.
But the Wall Street Journal has given us some details, such as the fact that the revamp of the 400-location chain will take five years.
And initially, travelers will see fewer Crowne Plaza hotels.
Like IHG did with its successful re-invention of Holiday Inn, it will shed some of its older properties in deteriorating markets and also part ways with owners who decide against paying for upgrades.
Travelers have already seen a few disappear due to various reasons. Earlier this year, for instance, the Crowne Plaza in downtown Tulsa, Okla., switched to a Hyatt Regency.
IHG CEO Richard Solomons told hotel owners at the Las Vegas convention that the changes should make the new Crowne Plaza more attractive to travelers and developers, according to HotelInteractive.com's story.
Solomons said, "This is huge opportunity for quality growth in same store sales and adding new hotels to the system. There is a lucrative market segment for this brand and competitors haven't truly delivered an experience guests want. Until recently, the brand has not been defined as crisply as other brands."
The renovation's first phase, currently underway, is aimed at raising consistency especially in U.S. hotels and launching a new brand identity.
The chain generates $3.5 billion in gross revenues annually for IHG.