InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has revealed the name for its new upscale conversion brand as well as its first signing.

Although the company primarily plans to roll out the new offering in Europe, Middle East, Asia, and Africa, the first Voco hotel will actually be in Surfers Paradise, Australia.

IHG has spoken about adding upscale brands for a while now, and it fits in with the group’s strategy of filling in the gaps in its portfolio. The company bought a 51 percent stake in Regent Hotels in March, with the option to buy the rest.

Last month, IHG announced it was adding 13 UK hotels to its portfolio after signing a deal with Convivio (formerly Foncière des Régions). A number of these properties will come under the Voco name. Hotel companies use a conversion brand, which tend to offer owners more flexibility in conforming to standards, to convert one branded hotel to another. IHG expects to open around 200 Voco hotels over the next decade.

“We’ve talked about the significant growth opportunity we see for IHG in upscale, and Voco will help us deliver against this,” said IHG CEO Keith Barr. “We’ll work with owners of attractive properties, who appreciate the power and expertise that a global business can bring to the table.”

Barr said the brand would allow hotels to remain individual while giving guests the reassurance of a connection to IHG.

“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,” he said.

Why Upscale?

Barr, who became CEO last year, identified the upscale segment as one area of potential growth. IHG believes the market is worth $40 billion and is expected to grow by a further $20 billion by 2025.

IHG will allow hotel owners to use its revenue management tools and technology and allow guests to access its loyalty program, IHG Rewards Club.

IHG said it had identified three “critical moments on the guest journey” through “deep customer insight where Voco can create a compelling guest experience that will differentiate the brand.” These are:

  • “Come on in” – targeting guests at the beginning of their stay with a “swift and simple check-in” and “unexpected, locally-influenced treat.”
  • “Me time” – IHG will invest in bedding, bathroom amenities, smart TVs and connectivity.
  • “Voco life” – Communal spaces that “work for different moments of the day.”

The name Voco comes from a Latin word meaning to invite or to come together.

Photo Credit: IHGs new upscale conversion brand, Voco. The company wants to have 200 hotels. IHG