Amidst the joy of last night’s rDialogue team holiday dinner, the “official” text came in: “IHG acquired Kimpton today”. In a big move by a big company, InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG) will buy one of our oldest and most favorite partners in loyalty, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants.
Ever since my very first stay at the Monaco Chicago nearly 15 years ago, I wanted to work with Kimpton. There was something very different, and very special about that experience. Kimpton had (and still has) a strong, distinct and personality-filled service culture that made it clear they cared about their customers. So basic, yet sadly, so rarely found in a national service brand.
After starting rDialogue in 2006, we were fortunate to get to begin working with Kimpton. In the 8+ years we’ve known and worked with Kimpton, the experience has been as wonderful as staying at one of their properties. The guest-facing culture mirrors their internal culture, which not coincidentally has landed them in the top 25 on Fortune’s annual list of "Best Places to Work" in 2014.
We’re very happy that IHG sees the same value we’ve seen at Kimpton, especially for Kimpton’s ownership. Yet at the same time, an acquisition like this often comes with mixed emotions, whether you’re an acquired company, a partner or a customer. Will Kimpton lose that the unique culture and customer experience once it’s a part of a much, much larger company like IHG? Or, will IHG recognize that Kimpton brings with it not just market share and room nights, but a unique culture and capability to deliver a very personal guest experience across a large organization?
Given IHG’s investment in relationship and loyalty marketing, we have high expectations and hopes that IHG will take Kimpton’s unique “karma” and create something that only gets bigger and better under the IHG umbrella.