Dream Hotel Group sharpens focus on key brands
04 FEBRUARY 2016 7:05 AM
The former Hampshire Hotels Management and Debut Hotel Group now has a new name and a refined focus on its four core brands: Dream Hotels, Time Hotels, Unscripted Hotels and The Chatwal.
LOS ANGELES—The former Debut Hotel Group has a new name and a new focus for its brands and its businesses.
A year ago, Hampshire Hotel Management launched Debut Hotel Group, a management company to oversee the growth of five lifestyle hotel brands. Today, the company has undergone its next metamorphosis to hone its core strengths and shed the brands that weren’t top priority, according to Jay Stein, CEO of the newly named Dream Hotel Group.
It’s all part of a new business plan that will allow the company to concentrate on its key brands and business strengths, Stein said during a break at the Americas Lodging Investment Summit.
“We were Hampshire for 20 years, then we introduced Debut and it made sense at the time, and we had other businesses under the Hampshire name as well,” Stein said, citing the company’s third-party management and asset management divisions. “When (former CEO) Eric Danziger moved on, I said I think we need to refine our business plan and focus on our lifestyle hotels and do it all under one name.”
Dream Hotel Group will concentrate on the Dream Hotels, Time Hotels, Unscripted Hotels and Chatwal brands. Gone are the luxury Augustus Hotels (launched last year), select-service Night Hotels and the management of the Planet Hollywood brand. Dream has also cut its asset management and third-party management platforms.
“We were spread too thin,” Stein said. “We couldn’t do it all well without a lot more investment. We want to focus in on the core brands.”
Stein said the core brands now cover key market segments without overlap. The Chatwal brand represents luxury; Unscripted covers the upper-midscale to upscale segments; Dream covers the upper-upscale segment with a focus on food and beverage; and Time covers the upper-upscale lifestyle segment.
The Dream brand “has the most connection with developers,” Stein said. With four hotels open (two in New York City, one in Miami and one in Bangkok), and plans underway for two additional New York-area properties and one in Los Angeles, Stein said the brand also has the most traction.
Time Hotels has one hotel open in New York City, with another on the way in Nyack, New York.
“For Time, we’re looking at Long Beach in Los Angeles, downtown Miami and Portland (Oregon), for example,” Stein said. “Great sites, good for a lifestyle hotel, but the market might not be right for a Dream, so it makes sense for a Time.”
Unscripted, which launched in early 2015, has its first deal signed and is scheduled to open in late 2016 in a secondary East Coast market, Stein said. It’s the brand Stein sees as having the potential for a large footprint.
“There are opportunities in urban markets for this, and also secondary and tertiary markets,” he said. “Lifestyle is not just for gateway cities.”
Chatwal, which has one flagship property open in New York City, is another brand Stein said could grow under the right circumstances.
“This is a brand that could be in San Francisco, maybe Los Angeles, Rome, Paris or London, but that’s about it,” he said.
Companywide, Stein said food and beverage is a key differentiator.
“We take F&B very seriously and we’re looking to grow it,” he said. “We think there are profitable opportunities in almost every hotel, and we think it adds much to the soul of lifestyle.”
Stein said F&B growth can happen for the company along several avenues: through managing concepts at the company level, by partnering with good local operators and by expanding partnerships with big-name restaurant brands that the company already has in place, such as Todd English and Bobby Van’s.
Five years from now, Stein said he’d like to see 10 Dream properties open and 15 Time hotels open.
“The sky’s the limit,” he said. “Lifestyle requires the entire experience to be real, and for a smaller company like us, we can do that. We had an opportunity to refocus, and now we’ve refined ourselves.”