IHG brings latest midscale brand Garner to Asia Pacific in ‘milestone’ signing

by Ruth Hogan

IHG Hotels and Resorts is set to launch its new midscale conversion brand Garner into Japan in the second half of 2024, after signing its first deal outside of North America.

IHG and Axe Management Partners have signed a letter of intent to convert and refurbish three hotels in Osaka before rebranding to Garner.

IHG Hotels and Resorts CEO, Elie Maalouf, described the first signing outside of North America as “a significant milestone for the brand”.

“Japan is well-known for its high-quality domestic midscale hotels, and we think Garner is the perfect brand to help take them to a global stage with IHG’s powerful systems, world-class technology, market leading operations support and award-winning IHG One Rewards loyalty program,” Maalouf said.

“I’m proud to be here in Japan to mark this announcement and would like to thank the ownership group for their confidence in the future of Japanese tourism, as well as for their faith in IHG and the new Garner brand.”

Garner was launched in August 2023, with the first hotel opening in Seattle less than three months later. IHG expects the brand to have global appeal and build an estate of over 500 hotels over the next 10 years and 1,000 hotels over the next 20 years.

Garner’s offering centres around a convenient location, close to bars and restaurants, that offers value for money. The guest experience includes welcome amenity on arrival, breakfast, complimentary coffee in the lobby, 24/7 Garner Shop, Wi-Fi and digital check-in where available.

Axe Management Partners Founder and CEO, Gary Kwok, expressed his confidence in the Garner brand, saying it  will be popular with travellers.

“There is no better place to embark this journey than Japan, a place where omotenashi exceeds all guest expectations,” said Kwok.

“We have great confidence in the Garner brand and are determined to deliver an experience that will truly impress domestic and international travellers.”

On completion, the new hotels will add more than 500 rooms to IHG’s Japan portfolio.