Hotels and resorts brand InterContinental has launched a new platform to engage the public to vote on their favourite symbolic sights, sounds, tastes, smells and feelings in selected cities.
The platform, called InterContinental Icons, aims to discover what makes cities like Paris, New York, Shanghai, Dubai, Sydney and Mexico City unique and why they continue to inspire visitors and residents.
InterContinental said the platform is a response to research the hotel conducted in which it found that the most popular sights in global cities are not always representative of the cities’ unique spirit.
The research found that travellers often feel they only scratch the surface of a city as 77% said they feel obliged to see the most popular tourist sites, despite 75% expressing a desire to see more of what the city has to offer and to explore like a well-informed local.
An analysis of Instagram posts reveals that the Eiffel Tower in Paris is the most posted tourist site, representing 10% of all posts worldwide. Buckingham Palace is the most-tagged site in London (21%) and Central Park is the most-tagged in New York City (20%), highlighting that tourists are often focused on visiting the same “must-see” sites.
Locals in each of the seven cities confirmed these findings, with more than half (59%) feeling that tourists miss out on the best their city has to offer.
“As a pioneer in luxury travel, InterContinental hotels and resorts have always been the gateway to fascinating places and local cultural wisdom, so we understand that travellers are craving a deeper connection to the places they visit,” said Ginger Taggart, the vice president of global marketing at IHG Luxury Portfolio.
“With our latest campaign, InterContinental ICons, we’ve set out to discover and celebrate authentic places and moments that might be overlooked by visitors but are truly part of what makes a city special.
She added: “Whether it’s the feel of salt air while riding New York’s Hudson River ferry, the melodious bells of the clock tower on the Bund in Shanghai, or the feel of cobblestones underfoot on old Parisian streets, these ICons might include under-the-radar experiences or well-known tourist hotspots viewed in new and unexpected ways. We want to reignite a sense of fascination for these much-visited cities and encourage discussion around what makes them truly iconic.”