In 2019, new hotel brands included Atwell Suites, Signia Hilton and Greet as franchise companies launched new lifestyle- and sustainability-focused products.
GLOBAL REPORT—Hotel brands launched in 2019 promoted lifestyle, sustainability and, in one case, a focus on meetings.
Here’s a look at the 12 hotel brands introduced throughout the year.
In May, InterContinental Hotels Group unveiled Atwell Suites, an upper-midscale, all-suites brand that executives expect will attract a hybrid of transient and extended-stay demand. Heather Balsley, SVP of global marketing, mainstream brands at IHG, said stays will average between four and six nights in a segment where guests “really aren’t being served well in the industry today.”
IHG expects Atwell Suites properties will have a cost per key between $105,000 and $115,000, Balsley said. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2020.
In an interview with Hotel News Now in June, IHG CEO Keith Barr said Atwell Suites fills a niche in the company’s portfolio.
“We have pure-play, extended-stay brands,” Barr said, referring to Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites. “(Atwell Suites) gives us that part in between—in that four- to six-night range.”
Caption by Hyatt/Hyatt Hotels Corporation
Hyatt Hotels Corporation launched a lifestyle select-service brand in September called Caption by Hyatt. Brand executives described Caption’s target guests as travelers who will spend more time in the hotels’ social spaces.
The idea for the brand was to create “something (guests) want to spend time in,” which “in turn will draw in the outsider as well,” said Gary Dollens, head of product and brand development at Hyatt.
Dollens said Caption by Hyatt will operate as both a franchise and managed model.
“We think this is going to be a large franchise vehicle,” he said. “There will also be managed hotels in the brand, and it depends on the part of the world and where you’ve got fewer franchises. But when you look at North America, you’re going to see this as a highly franchised brand with a lot of appeal from a development perspective and an ongoing runway.”
In October, Accor launched Greet, which promotes green initiatives among its core values, as a response to the trend of more hotel guests prioritizing sustainability in their travel preferences.
A candidate for franchising, Greet properties will be smaller with an average of between 40 and 80 guestrooms. Accor opened the first Greet property—a 52-room hotel—in Beaune, France, in 2019.
Franck Gervais, Accor’s CEO for Europe, said guests are looking for a hotel experience that has a smaller environmental impact.
“Guests want a strong experience with personalization, which also has to be in coherence with their values and how they see the world. They need a strong purpose for their booking,” Gervais said.
The House of Originals/SBE and Accor
In a partnership with Accor, SBE launched global luxury brand The House of Originals in March. At the time of launch, The House of Originals included two properties in London and one hotel each in Istanbul and Miami Beach, Florida.
In a news release introducing the brand, Gaurav Bhushan, chief development officer at Accor, said The House of Originals will continue to grow Accor’s lifestyle platform.
“The House of Originals is the perfect combination of SBE’s know-how in entertainment and F&B, and will benefit from Accor’s global platform, particularly in terms of distribution, loyalty and network development,” Bhushan said in the release. “With already five new hotels in the pipeline and an exciting pipeline underway in key gateway cities such as Dubai, London and Paris, this brand brings a new lifestyle flavor into the Accor portfolio."
Accor unveiled The House of Originals and Tribe at the International Hotel Investment Forum in Berlin. At the conference, Accor Chairman and CEO Sébastien Bazin talked with Hotel News Now about how hotels are incorporating more lifestyle experiences and personalization.
“The new expectations are experiential, aspirational, emotional,” Bazin said. “You are no longer product-driven, you are still destination-driven location-wise, but you want to remember where you stayed, you want to remember who you had dinner with and remember the kind of food you had.
In late January, Caesars Entertainment announced the future development of its first U.S. non-gaming hotel, the 266-room Caesars Republic Scottsdale in Scottsdale, Arizona. Caesars executives said the Republic brand will take advantage of the Caesars Total Rewards loyalty program but allow the company to be more nimble in development than with its Caesars Palace brand.
“This is most likely going to be our growth platform,” said Marco Roca, Caesars’ president of global development and chief development officer. “It’s hard to find assets that fit into the Caesars Palace mold with the villas and the greater resort-type feel at the high end, so we expect to only do one or two Caesars Palace properties a year, whereas Caesars Republic is all about being localized and experiential.”
The Indian Hotels Company Limited introduced its SeleQtions soft brand in April with 12 affiliated Indian hotels at launch. The brand portfolio includes hotels in Mumbai, New Delhi and Jaipur.
In a news release announcing SeleQtions, Puneet Chhatwal, managing director and CEO of IHCL, said the brand will allow the unique qualities of its properties to shine.
“SeleQtions will allow IHCL to cater to a broader audience of travelers who prefer staying in hotels with a distinctive character,” Chhatwal said in the release. “SeleQtions also includes hotels that have a slice of history, defining location or a differentiated theme. We believe the brand has immense potential to grow.”
In a June interview with HNN, Chhatwal discussed the consolidating nature of the hotel industry and his company’s place in it. “We will provide the differentiated experience,” he said.
The launch of Signia Hilton signaled a focus on meetings and events for Hilton. At the brand’s debut in February, Hilton President and CEO Chris Nassetta confirmed Signia Hilton will be both a conversion and new-build candidate that “fills a gap in the upper end of the meetings and events space.” Nassetta added the company classifies Signia Hilton at “the upper end of upper-upscale, but not into luxury.”
Signia Hilton properties will have a minimum of 500 guestrooms and 75 square feet of meeting space per key. Nassetta said the time is right to develop larger hotels that are what meeting planners are looking for.
“There are a couple markets around the world, particularly the U.S. and Europe, where we’ve missed a generation of construction of big hotels that have meeting space,” Nassetta said. “When meeting planners tell us they want new and different things, it’s because they’re dealing with spaces that are in some cases three generations old.”
Disclaimer: Hotel News Now is a division of STR, a CoStar Group company. Chris Nassetta serves on the CoStar Group’s board of directors.
Thesis Hotels/NP International
Developer NP International introduced Thesis Hotels in December and plans to debut the 245-room Thesis Hotel Miami in March 2020.
“Thesis Hotels are designed to be cultural epicenters for the destinations they serve, and we are introducing a concept the industry has not yet experienced with our modern and affordable guestrooms, mixed-use design and curated community experiences,” Brent Reynolds, CEO and managing partner of NP International, said in a news release.
NP International plans to announce additional Thesis Hotels in 2020. The brand was designed with a focus on access to education, transportation and medical facilities, the release stated.
TreeHouse/Starwood Capital Group
Starwood Capital Group announced Treehouse Hotels in June, and the 95-room Treehouse London opened its doors in October. Treehouse joins Starwood Capital Group’s other brands, 1 Hotels and Baccarat Hotels & Resorts. Chairman and CEO Barry Sternlicht said in a news release Treehouse is a fun, community-centric brand that will embrace sustainability.
“It’s all about getting back in touch with ourselves, with each other and remembering all the simple things that used to make us smile, giggle and embrace,” Sternlicht said in the release.
Accor’s midscale lifestyle concept Tribe is the second brand the company unveiled at IHIF in March and its third in 2019. Accor views the brand as a way to deliver a high-quality hotel experience to guests at an affordable price, with features including under-the-bed storage, a grab-and-go station, co-working spaces and bicycle rentals.
Bhushan said in a news release that developer interest in Tribe is already high.
“The pipeline of over 50 hotels currently being negotiated for the coming years leads us to believe that the Tribe brand will achieve significant growth all over the world including in gateway locations such as Paris, London, Singapore, Dubai, Bangkok. … It will be making its debut in 150 international destinations by 2030,” he said.
UrCove/Hyatt and Homeinns Hotels Group
Hyatt and Shanghai-based Homeinns Hotels Group introduced a joint-venture, an upper-midscale brand called UrCove (“your cove”), in June. UrCove will be positioned as an answer to the rise of Chinese business travelers and a growing middle class, according to a news release announcing the brand.
“Given China’s growing economic importance and the phenomenal growth of its middle-class segment, the UrCove brand strengthens our representation in the underserved upper-midscale segment, and we believe that this locally developed brand will advance our commitment to this important market,” Stephen Ho, president of global operations for Greater China at Hyatt, said in the release.
VistaRez Independent Collection/Advantage Hotels
Advantage Hotels was born over the summer as it acquired Advantis Hospitality Alliance’s brands Vista and Select Inn. By October, Advantage launched a soft-brand collection, VistaRez Independent Collection. In a news release, Advantage President and CEO Patrick Mullinix said VistaRez will provide franchisees with personalized sales and marketing, a central reservation system and property management system.
“Over and over, I hear from unhappy owners at various brands that their franchise fees are too high, they’re not getting enough reservations, they don’t see the value in mandated PIPs and brand standards, and their franchisor doesn’t listen or care,” Mullinix said. “For those reasons, they want to go independent. However, they don’t know how and are fearful of going at it alone without any support and assistance. So, we developed the VistaRez Independent Collection to offer hotels a competitive advantage through strategic sales and marketing support and a best-in-class technology package.”