The Business Year

Pascal Gauvin

QATAR - Tourism

Room for Growth

Chief Operating Officer for India, Middle East, and Africa, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG)


Pascal Gauvin is Chief Operating Officer for InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) across India, the Middle East, and Africa. He is responsible for all company-managed, owned, and leased properties as well as franchised hotels within the region, as well as sales, tactical marketing, and development. He has a wealth of expertise in the hospitality business, holding several managerial positions at Accor and Hilton Hotels before joining IHG in 1993 as a Food and Beverage Manager at the InterContinental Hotel Paris. He has a total of 19 years of experience with IHG, and has held a number of senior managerial positions in the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Africa, Lebanon, Qatar, and the UAE.

IHG has a strong and growing presence in the GCC. Where does Qatar fit into your regional strategy? There are currently three IHG hotels in Doha: InterContinental Doha, InterContinental Doha […]

IHG has a strong and growing presence in the GCC. Where does Qatar fit into your regional strategy?

There are currently three IHG hotels in Doha: InterContinental Doha, InterContinental Doha — The City and Crowne Plaza Doha — The Business Park. As Doha’s market matures, we are diversifying our portfolio to cater to business and leisure travellers who are looking for alternative locations and services from hotels. We opened Qatar’s first Crowne Plaza in August 2013 to cater to the city’s thriving business district and, in April 2013, we also announced plans to open Qatar’s first ever Holiday Inn hotel, Holiday Inn Doha — The Business Park. The 347-room, new-build Holiday Inn will be located just two kilometres from Doha International Airport in The Business Park’s precinct, the heart of the capital’s business district, and will sit next to Crowne Plaza Doha — The Business Park, which is also owned by Trans Orient Establishment.

IHG plans to almost double its current hotel number in India, the Middle East and Africa. How do these plans reflect your long-term strategy?

IHG has a long heritage and extensive presence in India, the Middle East, and Africa, with 112 hotels operating under six brands across 21 countries, and employs approximately 25,000 people at our hotels and offices in the region. Over the next three to five years, we will open 81 hotels in our development pipeline across the region. IHG will grow by around 34% in the Middle East over, this period as we open the 27 hotels (7,671 rooms) in our development pipeline. Of this pipeline, 93% is in the GCC (25 hotels), where we continue to leverage our strong heritage and presence, especially in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Luxury and upmarket brands continue to play an important part in our expansion strategy, with 24% of our GCC pipeline made up of InterContinental Hotels, and 16% of Crowne Plaza. However, the extended stay and mid-scale segments are playing an increasingly significant role, with Holiday Inn and Staybridge Suite properties each accounting for 28% of our GCC pipeline.

The National Vision 2030 calls for sustainability across all sectors of the economy. How does IHG take this concern into consideration?

All three of our hotels currently operating in Doha are part of IHG’s innovative sustainability effort, Green Engage, which utilizes an advanced online tool that measures the day-to-day environmental impact of the hotels. IHG’s Doha hotels are investing in energy efficient technology and encouraging correct employee behaviour, and future targets include the reduction of electricity consumption by 9% and water consumption by 5% in 2014. IHG’s hotels have pioneered recycling processes in Doha including the segregation of aluminium cans, plastic bottles, glass bottles, food, paper and cardboard waste. Collectively, the hotels recycle around 2,500 kilograms of cardboard per month, saving 30 trees from destruction monthly, and approximately 1,500 liters of kitchen oil each month. In guestroom corridors and public areas, the temperature is set to 24°C to reduce energy use.

What role is IHG playing in Qatar’s continuing economic diversification?

Our diversifying portfolio of hotels in Doha, which will provide variety both in terms of geographical location and upper-upscale to mid-scale accommodation, will support the city’s maturing leisure and business travel industry. Our recently opened Crowne Plaza, and planned Holiday Inn are both positioned to support the city’s growing business and banking district.



You may also be interested in...

View All interviews