InterContinental Hotels Group - IHG® Shelter in a Storm

Good for society
  • The InterContinental Hotels Group has delivered direct, vital support to people affected by disaster in 28 countries.
  • The company has supported the relief efforts of 18 humanitarian agencies, helping them to accelerate their response through financial and in kind support.
The UPS International Disaster Relief Award, supported by the Department for International Development, Finalist, 2016

The InterContinental Hotels Group mobilises the full resources of its hotels around the world to support communities, guests and employees in areas affected by disasters.


The InterContinental Hotels Group has recognised the unique contribution that hotels can make in their communities in the aftermath of a natural disaster by offering shelter, supplies, meeting space, and turning its hotels into hubs for aid agencies. The company has responded to 70 disasters in 28 countries outside of the UK in recent years, including the earthquake in Nepal and Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu in 2015.

Working with CARE International, the company has developed best practice guidance in disaster preparedness and response which have been rolled out to IHG’s 5,000 hotels. It has also established the IHG Shelter Fund, which is grown through employee and guest fundraising throughout the year.

This gives IHG hotels the skills, knowledge, and resources to support local communities and the work of humanitarian agencies through supporting CARE International’s aid operations, as well as contributing core resources, including hotel rooms, supplies, meeting space, and telecommunications support.

In Nepal and Vanuatu IHG Hotels opened their doors to the CARE Emergency Shelter Team and the IHG Shelter Fund contributed to CARE’s on the ground response. The hotels supported local people with emergency shelter, water and sanitation, food, and health supplies.

The Shelter in a Storm programme has benefited the business by ensuring greater business continuity in areas affected by disaster, as well as enhanced employee engagement throughout the company.

Long term partnership with NGO partner  

IHG's long term partnership with CARE International has enabled it to develop and share best practice over many years and build on the programme over time, expanding the focus from disaster relief to disaster preparedness. It's a partnership based on mutual trust and understanding, in which both parties have a shared understanding of the objectives, capacities, limitations and ways of working of the other. This allows challenges to be addressed collaboratively.

Thinking beyond financial support

Offering support in the form of hotel rooms, meeting rooms, and other facilities for field operations, as well as rest and recovery rooms for humanitarian agencies operating in remote locations, allows IHG Shelter in a Storm to make a unique contribution in disaster situations.

Delivering resources quickly 

The IHG Shelter Fund was designed to enable ongoing fundraising to build up resources before they are needed, so that funds can be released quickly. IHG aims to agree who and how to support 24-48 hours after a disaster. The speed of its response helps the NGOs it supports to secure further funding by leveraging IHG's early commitment.

Business to business collaboration

IHG hotels seek out and work with other businesses to increase the effectiveness of their response, for example working with the BT Crisis Team in the aftermath of Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu. IHG were able to help facilitate the deployment of the BT team, which worked to reconnect the communications network following the cyclone, which in turn helped the impacted IHG hotel.

Engaging and inspiring employees

IHG share stories of impact of IHG Shelter in a Storm through their company intranet, social media, and at key internal meetings and owner conferences globally. The company also holds staff seminars with CARE International to share updates on the programme. Each year the company holds a week long awareness building and fundraising event for IHG Shelter in a Storm. In 2015, nearly 100,000 colleagues took part in 7,000 fundraising events across 76 countries. 

What IHG's CEO said:

“Our disaster relief programme IHG® Shelter in a Storm equips our hotels to act quickly and decisively when disaster strikes. As we build up funds throughout the year, we can activate the IHG® Shelter Fund at a moment's notice. So whether it's vital supplies or somewhere warm and safe to stay we can support our guests, colleagues and the local community when they most need it.” - Richard Solomons, Chief Executive Officer

Good for business
  • InterContinental Hotels Group has enhanced its business continuity in 5,000 hotels through best practice guidance in disaster preparedness and response.
  • The company has also seen enhanced employee engagement as a result of the programme: 92% of employees reported they are prouder to work at IHG as a result.
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