InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has launched a new upscale brand, voco, with plans to debut its first property in Australia late this year. Inspired by the Latin “to invite” or “to come together,” voco will focus on upscale conversion projects.
IHG has confirmed the first signing for the brand will be the Watermark Hotel & Spa Gold Coast, Surfers Paradise, Australia. That 388-key beachfront hotel will feature two swimming pools and 2,625 sq. ft. of meeting space. The property will soon be acquired by the U.K.-based hotel company’s longtime partner, SB&G, which currently owns five other IHG hotels in Australia.
The brand’s rollout 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. IHG expects to open more than 200 voco hotels over the next 10 years.
“We’ve talked about the significant growth opportunity we see for IHG in upscale and voco will help us deliver against this,” says Keith Barr, ceo, IHG. “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.”
Barr adds, “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.”
According to IHG, differentiators of the new brand include a welcome experience that emphasizes a speedy and streamlined check-in and local influences; a focus on self-care and recharging with upgraded bedding, aerated showers and smart TVs; and high-energy yet flexible social spaces that can be adapted for different times of day.
Last month, the hotel giant announced plans to expand its luxury and upscale estate inside the U.K. through a conditional agreement with Covivio (formerly Foncière des Régions) to rebrand and operate 12 existing properties and one pipeline hotel. Participants say this deal will establish an important presence for voco in the region with a number of these properties converting to the new brand in the coming months.
The voco announcement was made on the heels of the NYU Investment Conference, which took place in New York June 3-6.