The supposed reason that hotel chains have brands in the first place is so that you’ll know what you’re getting up front. A property has to meet the brand standards to become part of a chain. These standards may include having a restaurant or bar onsite or a simple detail of requiring a porte-cochere. Having to meet brand standards is why you’ll sometimes see a hotel go “unbranded” as it does the upgrades to change from one brand standard to another. But what if a hotel that has been open for years doesn’t want to change but still would like the benefits of being part of a major chain?
Most of the other major hotel chains have a brand or brands where they can put hotels that don’t fit into their other categories.
- Hilton – Curio Collection and Tapestry
- Marriott – Luxury Collection and Edition
- Hyatt – Unbound
- Choice – Ascend Collection
Two years ago, IHG launched its own “catch-all” brand to put unique properties called Voco. The new brand would be “focusing on conversion opportunities that combine the informality and charm of an independent hotel, with the quality and reassurance of a respected global brand.”
Until now, the only regions to see Voco hotels are the UK, Continental Europe, the Middle East and Australia. That’s going to change because the first three locations have been announced for the US. Voco is adding hotels in New York City, St. Augustine, FL and Columbia, MO. All three hotels are scheduled to open as Voco properties in early 2021.
- The Franklin Hotel in New York City is located on the Upper East Side. The 50 room hotel has been in operation since 1931 and is located near Central Park and the Museum Mile.
- The Tiger Hotel in Columbia, MO, was built in 1928 and, at the time, was the most lavish place in town. Today, it’s a boutique property with 62 rooms and suites.
- The Voco Historic St. Augustine is a new property, just having opened three years ago.
The variety of new locations and the inclusion of unique and historic properties shows that IHG is casting a wide net with Voco. IHG was the last of the major US hotel chains to launch an “everything else” brand, so there’s plenty of competition out there to sign up independent hotels. We’ll see where this goes because I know the last thing I thought the hotels needed to do was add another brand.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary