Vice president, development for IHG in Middle East and Africa Matthew Tripolone was brimming with confidence during a recent exclusive interview with Hotelier.

And it wasn’t without reason. “We are going to have a fantastic signing year this year and opening season, with our global announcements to be released early next year. We have really strong growth ambitions for this side of the world," he said.

The InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) is firmly pressing its foot down on the gas pedal and is well and truly in acceleration mode. Under its 2X strategy, the group aims to fast-track at “twice the pace and intends to double its net system size growth to 2020, which we are well on the way to doing,” said Tripolone.

Tripolone, who plays a vital part in ensuring the group’s long-term growth strategy, is helping to grow IHG's portfolio throughout the region. Part of this strategy involved the launch of the voco brand in July of this year. According to Tripolone, voco is filling a gap that IHG saw in the market for a “fun, fresh upscale brand. We are excited to announce also that we have now launched it [voco] in this part of the world. ”

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Hotelier reported earlier this year how IHG planned to rebrand Dubai's Nassima Royal hotel, which was finally launched in early December. Located on Sheikh Zayed Road in close proximity to the Dubai World Trade Centre, the hotel will offer 471 rooms, curated for both leisure and business travellers to the city. The rebranding includes three various guest experiences – mainly ‘Come on in’ being a welcome experience in the lobby, ‘Me time’ with rooms designed to be a relaxing space, and ‘Voco life’ – a lobby bar that will serve morning coffee to cocktails in the evening.

Talking about voco, Tripolone said: “We see that there is a growing portion of travellers throughout the world who are looking for a brand that is fun and fresh, has some design and lifestyle elements, but comes with the backing and the guarantee that IHG brings to all of our brands.  So we designed the brand from the ground up. It’s really exciting and has some nice clear hallmarks that really give the guests a unique experience and really ticks the boxes of what we think our guests are expecting from our brands.”