INTERCONTINENTAL HOTELS GROUP on June 12 launched Voco, its new upscale brand. Voco is expected to add 200 hotels to IHG’s portfolio over the next decade and increase the company’s footprint in the $40 billion upscale segment, which is expected to grow by $20 billion by 2025.
The new brand will focus on converting existing individual and locally branded luxury properties in the Europe, Middle East, Asia and Africa region before eventually coming to the Americas and Greater China. Last month, IHG announced an agreement with Covivio to expand its luxury and upscale holdings in the United Kingdom by rebranding and operating 12 open hotels and one in the pipeline. Voco will be part of that effort.
“We’ll work with owners of attractive properties, who appreciate the power and expertise that a global business can bring to the table,” said IHG CEO Keith Barr. “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 388-room Watermark Hotel & Spa Gold Coast in Surfers Paradise, Australia, will be the first property to sign on for Voco outside Europe. IHG’s partner SB&G is scheduled to buy the Watermark, and it is set to open under the Voco flag later this year.
Voco is derived from the Latin term for “to invite” or “come together.” The brand aims to allow independent hotel owners to retain the uniqueness of their property while incorporating three themes derived from guest input.
Those themes include a fast, simple check-in process featuring “an unexpected, locally-influenced treat to kick-off a guest’s stay;” interior room designs aimed at encouraging guests to “take a moment for themselves” by watching TV or a relaxing shower; and bar and lounge spaces for socializing.
Voco guests will also be able to participate in the IHG Rewards Club.
Last year, IHG launched Avid, a midscale brand, in the United States. The first Avid hotel is scheduled to open next year.