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Photo: voco / IHG

IHG’s “charming” new upscale brand

voco will combine the informality of an individual hotel with all the benefits of being part of the group.

InterContinental Hotels Group has launched new upscale hotel brand, voco, alongside a first signing in Australia.

It says that voco will focus primarily on conversion opportunities and will strengthen the group’s hotels in the $40 billion upscale segment, which is expected to grow by a further $20 billion by 2025.

Working with high quality individual and locally branded hotels, “this distinctive brand will offer owners the ability to drive higher returns through delivering a compelling guest experience and leveraging IHG’s powerful systems,” the group says.

Inspired by the meaning ‘to invite’ or to ‘come together’ in Latin, voco will combine the informality and charm of an individual hotel, IHG pledges, with the quality and reassurance of a global and respected brand.

Roll-out will begin in the Europe, Middle East, Asia & Africa (EMEAA) region, with plans to take it to the Americas and China over time – expected to grow to 200 hotels over the next 10 years.

However, the first signing for the brand will be the 388-room Watermark Hotel & Spa Gold Coast, Surfers Paradise, Australia, 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, chief executive at IHG, commented.

“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.”

Filling the gaps
IHG has spoken about adding upscale brands for a while now, and the news site Skift remarks that “it fits in with the group’s strategy of filling in the gaps in its portfolio”.

The company bought a 51% stake in Regent Hotels in March, with the option to buy the rest. Last month, IHG said it would add 13 UK hotels to its portfolio after signing a deal with Convivio (formerly Foncière des Régions). A number of these will come under the voco name.

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