INTERNATIONAL REPORT—IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) has launched Voco, its new upscale hotel brand, alongside a first signing in Australia.
Voco will focus on conversion opportunities and will strengthen IHG’s offer in the $40-billion upscale segment, which is expected to grow by a further $20 billion by 2025, according to the company. Working with high-quality individual and locally branded hotels, the brand will offer owners the ability to drive higher returns through delivering an upgraded guest experience and leveraging IHG’s systems, according to the company. This includes revenue management and technology capabilities and IHG Rewards Club.
Voco will combine the informality and charm of an individual hotel, with the quality and reassurance of a global brand, the company said. The rollout of the brand will begin in IHG’s Europe, Middle East, Asia & Africa (EMEAA) region, with plans to take it to the Americas and Greater China over time. The brand plans to open more than 200 Voco hotels in urban and leisure locations over the next 10 years.
IHG revealed plans last month to expand its luxury and upscale estate in the U.K. through a conditional agreement with Covivio (formerly Foncière des Régions) to rebrand and operate 12 open hotels and one pipeline hotel into its portfolio across the U.K. This deal will establish a presence for Voco in the U.K. with a number of these properties converting to the new brand in the coming months.
IHG has also confirmed the first signing for the Voco brand outside of Europe will be the Watermark Hotel & Spa Gold Coast, Surfers Paradise, Australia. The 388-room hotel is located in Surfers Paradise, close to the beach, has two swimming pools and 8,611 sq. ft. of meeting space. IHG’s partner, SB&G, which currently owns five other IHG hotels in Australia, will soon acquire the property. The hotel is due to open under the Voco flag in late 2018.
“We’ve talked about the significant growth opportunity we see for IHG in upscale, and Voco will help us deliver against this,” said Keith Barr, CEO of IHG. “We’ll work with owners of attractive properties, who appreciate the power and expertise that a global business can bring to the table. Guests will be able to enjoy the appeal of a more individual hotel, alongside the reassurance of a name above the door that they trust. The versatility of the brand means a Voco hotel can retain and celebrate all of the elements that make that existing hotel successful.
“With Voco, the recent addition of Regent Hotels & Resorts in the luxury space, the launch of Avid Hotels in the Americas, and the work we’re doing to enhance our existing brand portfolio, we’re making great progress with our ambitious plans to accelerate growth,” he said.
Three guest experiences have been identified through customer insight where Voco can differentiate the brand and can be consistently applied across a broad range of individual properties. These moments include the following:
- Come on in—a signature welcome experience, swift and simple check-in with a locally influenced treat to kick-off a guest’s stay
- Me time—encouraging guests to take a moment for themselves with cozy beds and bedding, bathroom amenities, aerated showers, a variety of viewing content on smart TVs and connectivity in every room
- Voco life—bar and lounge spaces that work for different moments of the day, so that guests always have space to relax and enjoy themselves—from offering coffee to start the day or shareable and classic dishes in the evening