InterContinental Hotels Group has launched an upscale brand called Voco, which the company said will focus on conversions.

Voco was inspired by the Latin word vocare, meaning to invite or to come together. IHG said Voco will "combine the informality and charm of an individual hotel, with the quality and reassurance of a global and respected brand."

Amenities include a "locally influenced" treat at check-in, water-saving aerated showerheads, smart TVs, and flexible bar and lounge spaces that could, for example, serve coffee in the morning and "shareable and classic dishes" in the evening.

The first property has been signed in Australia, a conversion in late 2018 of the Watermark Hotel & Spa Gold Coast in Surfers Paradise.

IHG expects to grow the brand to more than 200 hotels over the next decade. It will focus on its Europe-Middle East-Africa-Asia region for the rollout of Voco, with plans to take it to the Americas and China over time.

Adding the new brand will strengthen IHG's offerings in the $40 billion upscale segment, which is expected to grow by a further $20 billion by 2025, the company said.

"We've talked about the significant growth opportunity we see for IHG in upscale and Voco will help us deliver," IHG CEO Keith Barr said. "We'll work with owners of attractive properties who appreciate the power and expertise that a global business can bring to the table. Guests will be able to enjoy the appeal of a more individual hotel, alongside the reassurance of a name above the door that they trust."

Voco will be IHG's 14th brand. The company recently agreed to acquire a 51% majority stake in the luxury Regent Hotels & Resorts. The first hotel for its midscale Avid brand is scheduled to open later this year.

According to hotel research firm STR, there are more 1,000 hotel brands globally. Marriott alone, which two years ago acquired Starwood Hotels & Resorts, has 30. Hilton has 14 brands and plans to launch two more this year and another in 2019.

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