IHG has today announced the highly-anticipated launch of its newest upscale hotel brand, voco™, in the US and Greater China.
IHG created and launched voco a little over two years ago, focusing on conversion opportunities that combine the informality and charm of an independent hotel, with the quality and reassurance of a respected global brand. Since then, a mix of 12 conversion and new-build voco hotels have opened across the UK, Continental Europe, the Middle East and Australia. Properties that have made the transition to voco continue to perform strongly and have recorded higher guest satisfaction scores following conversion.
voco™ continues to generate strong interest from owners too, and with an uplift in conversion activity during the first half of 2020, its expansion into IHG’s largest and fastest-growing markets is a key milestone. The brand’s current development pipeline of 28 properties will take it into 19 countries over the next five years and voco remains on track to open more than 200 hotels in attractive urban and leisure locations over the next 10 years.
Keith Barr, Chief Executive Officer, IHG, commented: “There’s currently a big appetite from owners to join the IHG family and tap into the power of our enterprise as the strength, resilience and attractiveness of our brands really shine through in the current environment. voco is leading a trend towards conversions, which we’re seeing across the full breadth of our portfolio and accounted for a quarter of IHG’s signings overall in the first half of 2020.
“We’re excited to be bringing voco to the US and China, as we continue to grow it successfully in our other key markets across the world. The brand’s sleep experience, thoughtful interior design, informal service and focus on sustainability have really resonated with guests and we’re looking forward to bringing the voco experience to life in our two largest markets.”
The conversion opportunity
The strength and breadth of IHG’s brand portfolio has led to a number of exciting growth opportunities already this year, with high-quality conversions to our leading brands such as Regent®, InterContinental®, Hotel Indigo®, Crowne Plaza®, Holiday Inn® and Holiday Inn Express®. We recently announced the conversion of one of the most prestigious luxury hotels in China, which was signed earlier this year and opened as the Regent Shanghai Pudong in May. Existing properties are also being reflagged as InterContinental Hotels & Resorts properties in Rome, Italy, Chiang Mai, Thailand, as well as Fiji’s Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva, one of the most famous hotels in the Pacific.
IHG created voco with a simplified conversion process, making it quick and easy for owners of high-quality independent hotels to become part of IHG’s system and to drive higher returns once they do. This includes leveraging our best-in-class revenue management and technology capabilities and IHG® Rewards Club, one of the world’s largest hotel loyalty programmes. voco is designed to stand out from the crowd, with a commitment to being Reliably Different. Every guest can expect the brand’s signature ‘Come on in’ warm welcome, promising a swift and simple check-in, a locally-inspired welcome treat and dedicated voco hosts to ensure guests make the most of their stay.
voco™ goes global
• voco™ has already generated strong interest among owners in the US, with three signings to-date in distinct and popular travel destinations including New York City; St. Augustine, Florida; and Columbia, Missouri. One of the first voco-branded hotels to open in the Americas is expected to be the Franklin Hotel located in the Upper East Side neighbourhood of New York City, within walking distance of many well-known attractions including Central Park, the famed Museum Mile, and the shops on Madison Avenue.
• As we approach 500 open hotels overall in Greater China, the entry of voco into the region marks another key milestone. voco will be IHG’s eleventh brand to open its doors in the region and we expect to open our first voco-branded hotel in Hangzhou very soon.
• There are a high proportion of independent hotels in China and IHG’s first voco signing in Wuhan is a conversion property, which will be officially rebranded as voco Wuhan Xinhua in 2021. Previously an independent hotel, the property is situated in an ideal location for both leisure and business travellers.
Europe, Middle East, Asia & Africa (EMEAA)
• There are now 36 open and pipeline hotels across IHG’s EMEAA region, with 24 conversion and new-build hotels due to open in key cities such as Paris, Sydney, Melbourne, Frankfurt, Edinburgh, Krakow, DaNang and Den Haag over the next five years.