Hilton’s Shruti Buckley and Peter Rudewicz share details of Hampton Inn’s new hotel prototype, including smaller guestrooms and overall hotel footprint, larger guestroom windows, redesigned lobby areas.
MCLEAN, Virginia—Hilton has announced a new prototype, representing the first major update in 10 years for its Hampton Inn & Suites and Hampton by Inn by Hilton brands.
Hampton Inn has long been a beacon for weary travelers, and the new design still speaks to that, said Shruti Buckley, SVP and global head of Hampton by Hilton.
“It’s not just an opportunity to enhance the design but to act as a beacon for travelers going from one place to another,” she said. “There’s one virtually at every corner in this country. We’re really excited. It enhances the overall experience.”
Hampton Inn’s new exterior design includes enhanced lighting, a “signature fin design element” and paint scheme as well as larger guestroom windows, according to a news release. The porte-cochere received a modernized update as well. The overall design of the prototype hotel requires 2,000 fewer square feet than the current design.
The welcome entrance has customized front-desk signage and timeless modern décor throughout the lobby. Communal areas emphasize their functionality as well as comfort for guests looking to socialize throughout the day. The corridors and meeting rooms have a “clear, crisp design.”
Guestrooms received new warm color palettes and signature bedding as well as mounted TVs and fully functional storage units and desk areas to save on space. The guestroom bathrooms have improved lighting, décor and bath fixtures.
There are currently 2,330 open Hampton properties around the world and more than 580 in the pipeline.
The guest experience
Hampton Inn has seen success over the course of its history through evolution, Buckley said. In preparing for the prototype, the brand solicited feedback from guests, spoke with owners and kept a close watch on industry trends and competitive activity, she said.
Architectural trends are changing, she said, and the brand has not seen a material change in 10 years. This was a good opportunity to redesign the whole model and to be at the forefront of design, she said.
A key piece of the research that sparked the desire for a new prototype was hearing from guests how they use the rooms and how existing rooms functioned, Buckley said.
“Hampton Inn had the largest suite room in the category,” she said. “We heard there was too much space. We gathered this insight and found if we reduced the size by a small percentage, we could make the room function better for how guests use them.”
It was important to understand how guests live, work and relax in the guestrooms and public spaces, which informed how these spaces would function, Buckley said. Guests work in all parts of the guestroom, she said, so it was necessary to incorporate comfortable and functional spaces everywhere.
The way people live in their own homes has evolved, she said, and the guestrooms reflect that with larger TVs and larger bathrooms.
The focus of the prototype is rooted in modernization research, said Peter Rudewicz, VP of architecture, design and construction for focused service brands at Hilton. The reduction of square footage provides a better cost-to-build story, he said. For example, the new team studio room yielded about 40 square feet per guestroom, which translates to 2,000 square feet of savings in the footprint of the building, he said.
“We looked (at) what do we have in here that we can whittle away,” he said. “That effort helped us to forge ahead with the exterior design of the hotel.”
In rethinking the overall exterior design, Hilton sought to create a contemporary feel, he said. The flat-roof design, which has been part of the brand for years, was maintained while more contemporary architectural cues were introduced to the rest of the exterior.
“One part of that was also rethinking the guestroom windows, which are now in this new prototype 25% larger than the previous design,” he said. “It gave added comfort and light in the guestroom and has more appeal on the exterior of the building.”
The new design also allows owners the flexibility of introducing local materials, which helps drive down the cost to build, Rudewicz said.
“It offers some opportunities for local customization, which we certainly have lots of owners of properties who chose to do so on a continual basis,” he said.
The prototype also addresses Hampton Inn lobbies and their guest seating and design, he said. The reimagined lobby has a custom front desk that pays homage to the local area. The new design provides comfortable seating in the communal areas to act as a gathering space during the day, he said. It’s an activation point for guests looking to get out of their rooms and head into the public areas, he said.
For the owners
Part of the goal was to simplify the process and make it easier to do business with owners, Rudewicz said. The brand has moved to offering two FF&E packages for the guestrooms and one public space package, which will help sophisticated owners and first-time developers get a FF&E package quicker and easier for their properties, he said.
This is the first time Hampton by Hilton has done this, Buckley said. The brand is working with vendors to create favorable pricing for these packages, which should be released over the summer, she said.
Hilton gave a sneak peek of the prototype at the latest Hampton by Hilton owners’ conference, Buckley said. Hilton released the new prototype and public space package information in February and is still working with its supply team on pricing for all of the interior design elements, she said. The company is doing the same with its renovation package to allow owners to apply the new design to existing hotels.
One owner of a Hampton property under construction decided to adjust his plans to use the new prototype model, Rudewicz said. That project is in the Baltimore Bayview campus area, and is scheduled to open in the third quarter of this year.
“There’s a certain amount of give and take that speaks to the flexibility of the brand in that it can entertain an early adopter,” he said.
The first of the peer prototypes with the new enhancements broke ground in Middleburg, Florida, and is slated to open in the second quarter of 2019, Rudewicz said. There are some properties currently in transition which incorporate elements of the new interior or exterior design, he said.
The prototype includes expected cost savings of 5% or more because of increased efficiencies throughout the design, Rudewicz said.
“Overall, it is a more favorable cost story relative to what we’ve been building over the past 10 years or so,” he said. “Some of that is attributed not just to interior efficiencies but operational efficiencies and simplification of exterior designs because of the detailing done on the prior model.”
Part of the brand’s success is due to the returns it provides owners, Buckley said. Hampton by Hilton’s goal is to enhance the overall experience and design and make the model as efficient and modern as possible, she said.
The owners didn’t come to the brand asking for these savings, she said, because the brand was already efficient. Being able to create savings with the prototype is “icing on the cake,” Buckley said.