UBM Development AG and IHG Sign Agreement for First voco™ Hotel in the Netherlands

United Kingdom, Denham. March 28, 2019

The InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG®), one of the world's leading hotel companies, and UBM Development AG, today announced the signing of the first voco™ hotel in the Netherlands which is planned to open in 2020. This signing is the first publicly announced signing in Continental Europe underscoring the strong momentum of the voco brand in the region since its launch in June 2018.

voco - Kneuterdijk 8 will be set in a beautiful building located in the city centre of The Hague that formerly housed a bank. The hotel will be in close proximity to the town's famous sights, several museums, parks and the shopping mile.

Launched in June 2018, voco — inspired by the meaning ‘to invite' or to ‘come together' in Latin — combines the informality and charm of an individual hotel with the quality and reassurance of a global and respected brand. The signing of voco The Hague - Kneuterdijk 8 follows the recent openings of the first three voco hotels in the world — voco Gold Coast in Australia, voco Cardiff and voco Solihull in the UK - and continuing the strong momentum for IHG's newest upscale brand in Europe.

With a listed façade dating from the 1920s and an expansive atrium, the property is quite an impressive sight to behold - naturally, all historic features will be retained and very carefully renovated. Inside, the hotel will be no less awe-inspiring - containing more than 200 exquisite rooms and suites.

The new voco The Hague combines a very laid-back comfort, a relaxed approach and individual hospitality - which will be evident in both the culinary offerings of the hotel, and in every aspect of the Kneuterdijk 8 location. It will have direct access to the pedestrian area of Noordeinde welcoming tourists and locals alike. After its completion in 2020, the new hotel will serve as an exceptional meeting point for all, becoming a centre for travellers as well as a very accessible gastronomic and life-style hotspot.

Mario Maxeiner, Managing Director Northern Europe, IHG, comments: "The voco Kneuterdijk 8 in The Hague marks the first publicly announced signing of our new brand in Continental Europe. This signing continues the accelerated growth of the voco brand since we first launched it last June and we are looking forward to bringing its upscale offerings to more travellers who seek a reliably different guest experience. We see lots of potential for voco in Europe and are excited to expand its presence further across the region."

Rolf Hübner, Managing Director of UBM Hotels Management GmbH, says: "UBM Development is the leading hotel developer in Europe with more than 50 hotels realised over the past 25 years. This is our third hotel in the Netherlands as well as a very special project. Our business relationship with IHG started many years ago and has already resulted in the completion of 14 hotels. It is a sign of their trust and a reflection of our previous successful cooperation that they have also decided to cooperate with us on their first voco hotel in the Netherlands. voco is a perfect fit with UBM because it stands for individuality, and we, as a developer, demand the highest quality in terms of guest experience."

voco is IHG's newest upscale brand, launched in June 2018. It can be used for new builds, but it is also designed to be particularly suitable for owners to use as a conversion brand. It strengthens IHG's offer in the $40 billion upscale segment, which is expected to grow by a further $20 billion by 2025. 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.

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Architecture & Design: Biophilic Design

The hospitality industry is constantly evolving to meet and exceed guest expectations. As a result, hotels are always on the lookout for new ways to improve the guest experience, and architecture and design is an essential part of this equation. Bold design is often the most effective way to make an exceptional first impression - an impression guests use to distinguish between brands. One design trend that is being embraced worldwide has become known as “Biophilic Design.” Biophilic design is based on the concept of biophilia, which is the theory that human beings have an innate tendency to seek out nature, natural elements, and natural forms. Biophilic design is more than hotels simply adding a surplus of plants; it involves incorporating specific design elements into a hotel in order to imbue it with a sense of wellness and well-being. Some of those elements include exposure to natural lighting; views of nature and rooms with a view; natural architectural patterns; salvaged or reclaimed woods of all types; reclaimed metals; sustainably sourced stone; living green walls and vertical gardens; and direct and indirect exposure to nature. Hotels that have incorporated biophilic design into their properties are reaping the benefits associated with this trend including reduced stress responses, better air quality, lower energy costs, and more positive guest reviews. Biophilic design has also been shown to improve guest moods and to satisfy consumer demand for environmental responsibility. Savvy hotel owners and managers are aware that nature-inspired elements enhance their guests' comfort and well-being, which is why this trend is becoming so prevalent. Biophilic design is just one topic in the fields of hotel architecture and design that will be examined in the November issue of the Hotel Business Review.