Hilton President and CEO Nassetta made some comments during their quarterly earnings call on Wednesday about plans to launch two new brands in the next couple of years.
You can access Hilton’s page for their brands here.
Here’s an excerpt from the Hotel News Now (access their piece here):
“One … is a very large-scale opportunity on a global basis, which I would say is sort of upscale lifestyle. I would describe it as sort of a click above Hilton Garden Inn. … I do think that (new) brand has a huge amount of potential in terms of hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of hotels around the world,” he said. “We have already soft launched it with our development community. The reception has been spectacular.”
He said Hilton will likely time a brand launch “sometime in the next six months as we refine the product, service delivery and bring a number of development deals to the table.”
The other brand, which is less imminent, is more in the luxury lifestyle space, he said. It has been on Hilton’s mind for about a decade, but the company has focused on other opportunities, he noted.
“We are not going to be launching three brands every year, to be clear. I think in the next year we’ll probably do one … (and) luxury lifestyle in the next couple of years,” he said.
This sounds something along the line of Marriott’s AC or Aloft and IHG’s Indigo. Hilton plans to launch this for urban centers, unlike Hilton Garden Inns that tend to be standalone units on the outskirts of cities.
This is something that Hilton already tried to launch/plan years ago under the name of Denizen, when it hired development people from the then Starwood, who used confidential information and lawsuit soon followed.
Here’s an excerpt from the Guardin back in 2010- (access their piece here):
Hilton has been banned from creating a “boutique” hotel chain as part of a settlement over an industrial espionage suit by rival Starwood Hotels. Last year Starwood sued Hilton accusing it of stealing documents to develop a luxury hotel chain called Denizen.
Starwood said Denizen was designed by two of its former employees who defected to Hilton and took with them confidential material used to develop Starwood’s successful and influential W chain.
Hilton had already been ordered to cease development of its Denizen chain. Hilton must now drop the brand and wait two years before developing anything similar. Hilton is banned from hiring Starwoods employees for its luxury brands group.
Starwood alleged that the pair took more than 10,000 documents and that Hilton chief executive Christopher Nassetta knew the two were using its confidential information to create a new hotel chain.
The suit followed Hiltons’ decision to return the documents, until then Starwoods has said they did not know the papers were missing.
This luxury lifestyle is likely something along the lines of Hyatt’s Andaz, IHG’s Kimpton, Marriott’s W and Edition, and Accor’s Sofitel.
It is good that Hilton is refreshing their brand portfolio and filling the gaps. They have definitely been lacking in the lifestyle segments.
You do have to, however, keep in mind that it is far trickier for these large chains to successfully launch, manage and operate lifestyle hotels because in essence they are supposed to be unique and tailored to each local market.
Let’s hope that we soon learn about what these future brands are. It seems that the upscale one should launch before the end of 2019 or in early 2020 at the latest.