Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

January 26 2016

Big Hotelier Unveils Big Plans For A New Brand

By David McMillin

No matter where you turn in the meetings and travel industry, you’ll hear one word: Millennials. As meeting planners work to inspire a new generation to register and participate in face-to-face experiences, hoteliers are focused on making sure those attendees have lodging options that cater to their attitudes and behaviors. They’re not just making adjustments to their existing properties, though. Instead, some hoteliers are building new brands in their efforts to reach Millennials.

The latest move comes from Hilton. On Monday, the Virginia-based hotelier revealed the new Tru by Hilton property, which it believes will “appeal to a broad range of travelers…united by a Millennial mindset — a youthful energy, a zest for life and a desire for human connection.” While travelers won’t be staying in Tru properties immediately, the hotelier expects the first hotel to open by the end of 2016, and it has 102 hotels signed with 30 more in various stages of approval in cities such as Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago, Denver, Portland and Nashville. Once these hotels open, Hilton expects to be able to appeal to a wider audience.

“More than 40 percent of all US hotel stays are within the midscale and economy sectors, and Tru by Hilton addresses a gap in the marketplace by appealing to the youthful mindset demographic, pushing the industry to marry quality and value,” Jim Holthouser, executive vice president, global brands, Hilton Worldwide, said in a statement.

SEE ALSO: 6 Things To Know About The Hotel Industry Now

What will that marriage look like? The lobby will feature The Play Zone, filled with table games, a large-screen TV and tiered stadium seating, and the front desk will be known as the “Command Center” with a social media wall that will feature real-time content to encourage guest engagement. The in-room experience will include all-white platform beds, 55” TVs with DIRECTV access and an abundance of power outlets.

Of course, Holthouser isn’t the only hotel executive who has placed Millennials at the top of the priority list. In early 2015, Hyatt launched Hyatt Centric, and Best Western unveiled a similar Vib brand. Marriott’s new Moxy brand will open in New Orleans, Milan and Tempe in the early part of 2016, and the hotelier is doing more than launching some new brand offerings. At Convening Leaders 2016, Arne Sorenson, CEO of Marriott, told an audience of planners and suppliers that part of the motivation for Marriott’s acquisition of Starwood was Starwood’s impressive track record of engaging with a younger crowd.

SEE ALSO: What Your Millennial Attendees Really Want In A Destination

What do you think of the war to win over Millennials in the hospitality industry? In the Airbnb era, can established hotel brands continue to keep rooms occupied by young guests, or will Millennials move away from the traditional hotel experience altogether? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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