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Hotel Groups Broaden Horizons

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LOS ANGELES InterContinental Hotels Group's Holiday Inn is aligning itself with the time-share giant Orange Lake Resorts, IHG said last week at its annual investors conference here. The deal creates a new brand to be called Holiday Inn Club Vacations.

Under the agreement, the new timeshares will be available at Orange Lake's four locations (two in Florida, and one each in Wisconsin and Vermont).

Holiday Inn's reservation system and internal marketing unit and Orange Lake's point system will be used to feed each other guests. Starting in December, IHG can offer its priority members and guests access to the luxury time-shares, even for short stays, and Orange Lake time-share members can use their points to stay in any of Holiday Inn's 4,000-plus hotels.

The Orange Lake properties include the flagship villa resort at the gates of Disney World in Orlando, Fla. Don Harrill, president and CEO of Orange Lake Resorts, Kissimmee, Fla., said the demographics of its time-share owners match up with Holiday Inn's.

Christian Hempell, vp of the Atlanta-based Holiday Inn Club Vacations, said the move "adds value while keeping us asset-light." He added that it coincides with Holiday Inn's four-year, $1 billion renovation and brand relaunch plans, which began this year.

In 2007, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus, IHG spent $75 million on advertising. Publicis Groupe's Fallon, Minneapolis, handles Holiday Inn's advertising, but Hempell said the new Holiday Inn Club Vacations brand would be advertised using IHG's internal marketing department and direct marketing to reach its guests and club members.