A warm welcome to IHG’s innovative new upscale brand, voco™. We’re thoughtful, unstuffy and relaxed – not straight or starchy – and can always be relied on.
A very warm welcome to voco™, the new upscale hotel brand launched in 2018 by the InterContinental Hotels Group. Our brand name derives from the Latin word for ‘to invite’ or ‘to come together’, so the very first thing you’ll notice at voco is the warmth of the welcome. Both informal and indulgent at the same time, our hotels each have their own character inspired by their location and all feature playful, personal touches that guests remember long after check-out.
Our guests are the kind of people who know exactly what they want whether they’re travelling for work or pleasure. They’re not expecting high-touch deferential service but appreciate the time and space to really indulge and enjoy. We’re thoughtful, unstuffy and relaxed – not straight or starchy – and we can always be relied on. With our low-key, untucked approach, we take a step back and let people get on with it.
For owners, voco combines the reassurance and advantages of a big brand with the informality and charm of a boutique hotel. Whether it’s a newly built property or a well-known hotel with plenty of history, voco fosters and celebrates all the individual spirit and elements that are important to the hotel’s heritage. With minimal brand standards any property can become a voco hotel and owners can expect quick returns. Powered by the strength and scale of the IHG system, voco offers owners the chance to access the upscale segment without hefty investment. An enterprise mindset with a strong point of difference. It has simplified and accelerated the hotel conversion process, making voco the fastest growing new brand in the IHG portfolio. Sustainability and transparent business practices exists at the core of our brand. This marks the beginning of a new era for hotels to meet the evolving desires of guests and owners.
The voco brand was developed in-house, by a cross-functional team within IHG. We recognised that there was a gap in the market: a conversion brand which would provide owners with a comprehensive ‘package’ encompassing brand name, strong visual identity and a few signature guest experience hallmarks that deliver on guest key expectations but are deployable quickly. A voco team was set up differently to established brand teams, with greater agility in order to meet shorter conversion timelines. Team members have skillsets which complement each other and have been recruited to meet the needs of a brand in its infancy. Recognising the importance of bringing in experience from external partners and experts, the brand worked closely with a guest insights agency, design agency, brand identity agency, service and training experts, and various experts in commercial and revenue fields. Crucially, the team also worked behind the scenes with owners to ensure that there was appetite for a brand proposition like voco, and that it would land successfully in market.
The idea was to create a brand that would correspond to the owner needs but would have robust concept behind to perform well in the market. Consumer research and in-depth guest insights were also central to the development of the brand’s concept, at every step of the way. Specifically, the brand sought to address what guests want, what they miss in the market, and what’s important to them. One of the key elements that guests spoke out about was the need for a more informal, unstuffy hotel atmosphere, yet ensuring that staff remain professional. Sustainability was also high on the priority list of important aspects for guests. Both of these points became two of the pillars of the brand and have driven its success in the market to date.
A full proposition was signed off by the IHG board, with the team moving with pace and agility to launch the brand just six months later. The first hotel opened after just 143 days from launch, in Q4 2018 – IHG’s fastest ever brand launch. We’ve seen strong momentum, with six hotels now open and performing well, a total of 21 signings (over 8,000 rooms) to date, an MDA signed in Germany with the potential to deliver multiple voco hotels, and a significant number of further deals under active discussion. The brand has an exciting growth plan to achieve 100+ signings in five years and an overarching ambition of opening 200 voco hotels globally over the next 10 years.
Even as the brand grows rapidly, its concept and approach continue to evolve. An exciting innovation roadmap is being developed to ensure it remains relevant and progressive, for example: the brand’s implementation since launch of large-format bulk bathroom amenities has now been adopted by all IHG brands.
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