Check in! – latest hotel highlights from across EMEA

The Blue Swan Daily brings you a round up of some of the latest hotel news from across Europe, Middle East and Africa.

  • FEATURE: New voco Hotels brand delivers ‘hotels that are reliable enough to depend on, but different enough to be fun’ to IHG upscale offer
  • BRIEF: Hyatt reveals the new blueprint for its Hyatt Place properties
  • BRIEF: Athens hotel occupancy rate up 5.3% in four months ended Apr-2018
  • BRIEF: Montpellier Airport breaks ground on new Ibis hotel complex
  • BRIEF: Discover Qatar to introduce digital platform for hotels and services
  • BRIEF: New Premier Inn to debut at London Oxford Airport in 2019
  • BRIEF: Bahrain and Qatar among new markets for Thai’s Dusit International hotel group

New voco Hotels brand delivers ‘hotels that are reliable enough to depend on, but different enough to be fun’ to IHG upscale offer

Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) has launched voco Hotels, a new upscale brand that will focus primarily on conversion opportunities and will strengthen IHG’s offer in the USD40 billion upscale segment, which analysts expect to grow by a further USD20 billion by 2025.

voco, inspired by the meaning ‘to invite’ or to ‘come together’ in Latin, will combine the informality and charm of an individual hotel, with the quality and reassurance of a global and respected brand, says IHG. Working with high-quality individual and locally-branded hotels, this distinctive brand aims to offer owners the ability to drive higher returns through delivering a compelling guest experience and leveraging IHG’s powerful systems.

The roll-out of voco 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. It plans to open more than 200 voco hotels in urban and leisure locations over the next 10 years and its agreement with Covivio (formerly Foncière des Régions) to rebrand and operate 12 high quality open hotels and one pipeline hotel into its portfolio across the UK will deliver an initial presence for the brand.

IHG has also confirmed the first signing for the voco brand outside of Europe will be the Watermark Hotel & Spa Gold Coast, Surfers Paradise, Australia. The 388-room hotel is located at the heart of Surfers Paradise, a few steps away from the beach. The property is shortly to be acquired by IHG’s long-standing partner, SB&G, which currently owns five other IHG hotels in Australia. The hotel is due to open under the voco flag in late 2018.

IHG says the voco brand promises guests an experience “that is reliably different, brought to life through a bold, distinctive identity, informal service style and thoughtful touches along the guest journey”. Three critical moments on the guest journey, it explains, have been identified through “deep customer insight” to where voco can “create a compelling guest experience that will differentiate the brand and can be consistently applied across a broad range of individual properties”. These moments are: Come on in (a signature welcome experience); Me time (encouraging guests to take a moment for themselves in their rooms); and voco life (through vibrant and sociable bar and lounge spaces).


Hyatt reveals the new blueprint for its Hyatt Place properties
Hyatt Place, Hyatt’s upscale select service brand designed for business travellers, is to be remodelled to deliver a new generation of hotels. Hyatt says the future blueprint will be focused on three key areas: thoughtful design, driving value for World of Hyatt members and enhanced well-being experiences. It says the changes at its current portfolio of 305 properties across almost 20 countries, is in response to the evolving needs of guests and owners. The reimagined Hyatt Place product will be based on delivering a “differentiated and optimised guest experience” by “emphasising guest customisation, control and connection”.


Athens hotel occupancy rate up 5.3% in four months ended Apr-2018
Greece’s ΕXΑΑΑ (Athens-Attica and Argosaronic Hotel Association) and GBR Consulting have revealed a +5.3% year-on-year increase in average hotel occupancy and a +7.8% increase in average hotel room rates in Athens in the four months ended Apr-2018. The consultancy groups noted Athens’ average hotel room rate remained among the ten cheapest for cities in Europe at EUR88.11, underlining an “extremely competitive pricing policy that contributes decisively to the rise of tourist traffic”.


Montpellier Airport breaks ground on new Ibis hotel complex
Montpellier Airport, in the south of France, has confirmed it has completed a ground breaking exercise on the construction of a new Ibis hotel complex that will house two branded properties offering more than 150 rooms. The project, part of a EUR14 million terminal expansion to expand capacity to 2.4 million passengers per annum, will see the construction of a 74 room Ibis Styles and a 77 room Ibis Budget hotel.


Discover Qatar to introduce digital platform for hotels and services
Discover Qatar, the destination management subsidiary of Qatar Airways, has introduced a digital transformation project in cooperation with technology provider Illusions. Discover Qatar will implement technology to enable global tour operators and travel providers to access Qatar’s inventory of hotel rooms and services on a single digital platform. All relevant and regulated suppliers and service providers in the Qatari market will be able offer their products globally via the Discover Qatar system. The system will provide connectivity to more than 140 travel partners connected to the Illusions IWTX exchange platform.


New Premier Inn to debut at London Oxford Airport in 2019
London’s Oxford Airport, primarily a business aviation facility close to the UK capital, will soon see the arrival of a Premier Inn hotel adjacent to its airport entrance. The brand new 101-room property is scheduled to open in summer 2019.


Bahrain and Qatar among new markets for Thai’s Dusit International hotel group
As part of a goal to double its room inventory by 2021, Thai hotel group Dusit International has confirmed plans to open at least ten new properties over the coming 12 months. The majority of these will be located across Asia, including Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam, but will include the DusitD2 City Centre, Bahrain and the DusitD2 Salwa, Doha. Currently the group operates 27 hotels in nine countries with an inventory of more than 7,000 rooms.