IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) has launched voco, its new upscale hotel brand, alongside revealing a first signing in Australia.
Voco will focus primarily on conversion opportunities and the hope is that it will strengthen IHG’s offer in the US$40 billion upscale segment, which is expected to grow by a further $20 billion by 2025.
Voco, inspired by the meaning ‘to invite’ or to ‘come together’ in Latin, will "combine the informality and charm of an individual hotel, with the quality and reassurance of a global and respected brand", according to a statement.
The roll-out of the new 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 expectation is to open more than 200 voco hotels over the next 10 years.
IHG revealed plans in May 2018 to expand its luxury and upscale estate in the UK through a conditional agreement with Covivio (formerly Foncière des Régions) to rebrand and operate 12 high quality open hotels and one pipeline hotel into its portfolio across the UK. This deal will establish an presence for voco in the UK with a number of these properties converting to the new brand in the coming months.
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 at the heart of Surfers Paradise, and offers guests two swimming pools and 800m2 of meeting space. The property is shortly to be acquired by IHG’s long-standing partner, SB&G, which currently owns five other IHG hotels in Australia. The hotel is due to open under the Voco flag in late 2018.
The brand has identified critical moments in the guest journey, and will create, the statement said, a "compelling guest experience that will differentiate the brand". These include: '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 extra cosy beds and bedding, quality bathroom amenities, aerated showers, a variety of viewing content on Smart TVs and excellent connectivity in every room; and, 'voco life', vibrant and sociable bar and lounge spaces that work for different moments of the day.