Hilton launches Home2 Suites brand
 
Hilton launches Home2 Suites brand
27 JANUARY 2009 7:20 AM

The company’s second extended-stay brand will focus on attracting guests with plans to stay 10 or more nights.

SAN DIEGO, California—In an attempt to capture more of the extended-stay hotel market, Hilton Hotels Corp. on Monday launched the Home2 Suites by Hilton brand during a press conference held in conjunction with the Americas Lodging Investment Summit.

Calling the brand a mid-tier brand that promises to be humble and hip, Hilton executives said their newest offering will target guests who stay 10 nights or more. Extended-stay guests typically are considered guests who stay at least five consecutive nights at a hotel with a kitchenette that includes a stove top cooking surface.

“Certainly no brand, no segment is immune from the economic challenges we face today,” said Phil Cordell, Hilton’s Global Head of Focused Service Brands. “One of the most resilient segments is extended-stay. We are absolutely the right product at the right place at the right time.”

The company also announced during the press conference that Bill Duncan was assuming the role of senior vice president, brand management for Home2 Suites and Homewood Suites by Hilton. He replaces Rebecca Wyatt, who is leaving the company for personal reasons but will serve as an advisor during the transition.

“Our owners asked us to take this leap into this segment,” said Duncan, who has worked for the Homewood Suites extended-stay brand for the past 10 years. “They wanted to see something different. They really wanted to see something unique.”

The company hopes to attain a $90 average rate for the new brand. The Homewood Suites brand attains an ADR of about $120, they said. There are no plans for Hilton to develop any Home2 Suites properties as corporate officials said it will strictly be a franchised brand. Hilton will offer its management services to franchisees.

                Phil Cordell

Bill Fortier, senior vice president-development, Americas for Hilton, said the company became seriously involved in the planning of the brand last May.

“From day one, it has been my mission to make sure we design this thing to make it simple and cost effective,” Fortier said.

The prototype Home2 Suites fits on a little less than two acres. The four-story wood-construction product will have 108 units—60 percent of which will be 323-square-foot studio rooms.

Cost estimates from three outside sources put the cost of the hotel at $75,000 per room (excluding land).

Guestrooms include a series of modular, brand designed millwork pieces that for an iconic “working wall.” It contains areas for workspace, entertainment options (a 42-inch flat-screen television), a closet and other storage areas. It has tested the concept with a model room in Memphis near the corporate office there.

Other features of the brand include an outside seating area and an exercise course around the perimeter of the land. The Oasis expanded living zone (public space) includes a community table, individual work zones, a market pantry, a complimentary breakfast area and a combination fitness center/laundry room.

“We have to have something that the customers really want to be in,” Duncan said. “It allows them to get out, get some fresh air, engage in the local environment. Really take a breather.

“Customers told us they didn’t want to drop off their laundry with no where to go, so the space becomes very communal,” he added. “It really embraces them and their needs while they’re on the road for a long period of time.”

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