IHG launches upscale conversion brand Voco

The Watermark Hotel & Spa Gold Coast is the first Voco hotel signed outside of Europe. Photo credit: Watermark Hotel & Spa Gold Coast

IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) today launched Voco, its new upscale hotel brand, alongside announcing a first signing in Australia.

The Voco brand will focus primarily 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. Working with individual and locally branded hotels, this brand will leverage IHG’s internal systems, such as revenue-management technology and the IHG Rewards Club loyalty program. 

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. 

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The roll-out of Voco will begin in IHG’s Europe, Middle East, Asia & Africa region, with plans to take it to the Americas and Greater China over time. The new brand will drive incremental growth for IHG, with an expectation to open more than 200 Voco hotels in urban and leisure locations over the next 10 years. 

IHG announced plans last month 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 previously opened hotels and a further hotel currently under development into its portfolio across the UK. This deal will establish an important presence for Voco in the UK, with a number of these properties converting to the new brand in the coming months. 

Today, IHG 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 on the beach in Surfers Paradise, and offers guests two swimming pools and more than 2,600 square feet of meeting space. The property will be acquired by IHG 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. 

“We’ve talked about the significant growth opportunity we see for IHG in upscale, and Voco will help us deliver against this," Keith Barr, CEO of IHG, said in a statement. "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,” Barr said.

The Voco brand promises guests an experience that focuses on three critical moments during the guest journey that have been identified through customer insight. These moments are: 

  • Come on in: A welcome experience consisting of a 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 high-quality beds and bedding, bathroom amenities, aerated showers, a variety of viewing content on smart TVs and connectivity in every room. 
  • Voco life: Sociable 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 to shareable and classic dishes in the evening.