Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) launched its new hotel brand yesterday, Voco Hotels.
The brand was unveiled at an event to introduce it to developers and industry partners at the Saatchi gallery on Kings Road off Sloane Square yesterday afternoon.
Business Traveller was invited along to hear about the new brand from Karin Sheppard, Managing Director – Europe, IHG.
The name of the hotel brand – Voco – comes from the Latin meaning ‘to invite’ or ‘call together’.
Sheppard said that the “Upscale segment of the hotel industry is a $40 billion opportunity and is set to grow by another $20 billion by 2025. It is one which we see the chance to extend through a conversion brand.” [A hotel brand that allows existing properties to ‘convert’ into the new brand.]
Voco will sit alongside IHG’s Crown Plaza Hotels and it is intended that it will work equally well in both cities and resorts. IHG says
“The roll-out 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. The new brand will drive significant incremental growth for IHG, with an expectation to open more than 200 voco hotels in attractive urban and leisure locations over the next 10 years.”
Sheppard said that as a result of research, as well as the guest identity, IHG had identified
“Three key moments in the guest journey.”
“At arrival at a Voco Hotel, as well as quick and efficient check-in, there would be a moment with an element of surprise. Secondly, in the room, it would be more tranquil “me-time”, with top quality bedding and amenities. Finally, the third element is the social moments you can have in the bar and the lounge spaces where guests can connect and relax whether they are there for a social occasion or to relax when on business.”
The new distinctive brand is articulated through yellow touches in the design, and is described as the “Yellow Thread”. The “moment of surprise” will differ depending on location, but the example given was of yellow macaroons being given to a guest on arrival.
In addition, the brand has three hallmark mascots, one for each element of the journey, namely “Come on in”; “Me time” and “Voco Life”. They are…
The finch – “Pleasantly chatty, distinctive and unique in colour, with a relaxed, easy glide. Finches represent the warm welcome and simple check-in guests get as soon as they enter our hotels – as well as the little extra touches they discover once they start exploring.
The owl – “Tranquil and serene, well groomed, and partial to a bit of time alone. The owl represents our bedrooms, where cosy bedding, hot showers, luxurious amenities and tempting room service encourage our guests to relax, and enjoy moments to themselves.
The flamingo – “Bold, interesting, and up for a party. Flamingoes love spending time in pairs, families or larger groups – making them the perfect mascot for our characterful bars and lounges, where guests can meet, eat, work and play throughout the day.”
IHG has recently announced the acquisition of Principal Hotels
Sheppard said it was still too early to announce which of the hotels would be rebranded as Voco Hotels and which would go into other IHG brands.
Sheppard declined to say how many other names had been considered before Voco, although when the Voco Hotels website launched it did mention Aries, although IHG says this was only the name for the project, and not considered as a name for the hotels.
“For more information regarding franchising Aries, an IHG Hotel brand, refer to the Franchise Disclosure Document for Aries hotels, which is available on request.”
The first signing for the Voco brand is the Watermark Hotel and Spa Gold Coast, Surfers Paradise, Australia. The 388-room property is about to be acquired by IHG’s partner, SB&G, which currently owns five other IHG hotels in Australia and will open under the Voco brand in late 2018, according to IHG.
For more on the proliferation of new hotel brands, see..