Skift Take

Hilton has struggled to get the H3 brand trademarked for its new extended-stay hotels. Some alternative names it's considering include Livsmart, filings showed.

Hilton is considering as many as 14 names for upcoming hotel brands, its recent trademark filings show.

But only a couple of these names are likely to ever appear on hotel signs. Hilton’s trademark filings only signal an intent to create brands, and the company could still decide against following through.

“For competitive reasons, we do not comment on our trademark filings,” said a Hilton spokesperson.

Hilton seeks a hotel brand name for its Project H3.

Hilton announced in May an extended-stay apartment suites hotel concept — tentatively called Project H3.

CEO Chris Nassetta acknowledged in September that the trademark process is slow when he spoke on-stage at the Skift Global Forum 2023 about upcoming brands.

“What we affectionately call Project H3, we will have a name for in the next few weeks,” Nassetta said. “It takes a long time to get IP [intellectual property] these days in Washington.”

Hilton applied in April for “H3 Suites by Hilton and “H3 by Hilton” as potential hotel brand names for Project H3, a long-stay apartment hotel brand.

In mid-September, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office asked for more information because of potential confusion with an existing brand, H3 Ranch, a steakhouse restaurant brand for a company in Fort Worth, Texas.

In reaction, Hilton asked the government for additional time to respond. In late November, that wish was granted.

Hilton is considering alternative names for H3.

Hilton has filed trademark requests for several brand names that could apply to a suite-based hotel brand.

Presumably, the company is considering these other names as an alternative to H3. However, none of the filings provide descriptions or drawings about the proposed brands — making inferences difficult.

Here are the suite-themed trademarks it applied for this year, in alphabetical order.

  • Adapt Suites by HiltonHilton filed in October to respond to potential name confusion with “Adapt Community Network,” an existing trademark.
  • Belong Suites by HiltonStatus unclear. The government suspended this application pending another non-travel company’s application for the brand Belong, and then that other application was suspended in September.

Hilton is also looking at other brand names for unknown use.

Hilton also applied for a few other hotel brand names in recent years.

In October 2021, it applied for the brand name Spark by Hilton, which sailed through approvals in January 2023. That month, Hilton announced Spark by Hilton as a new brand. (The timeline underscores how long the branding process can take.)

It’s unclear if these other brands were also-rans for Spark by Hilton or if they’re intended for other projects.

Hotel “brand bloat”?

Some industry observers complain about so-called hotel “brand bloat.” A few decades ago, hotel companies only had a few dozen brands. Now they have more than 1,000. Some people question the usefulness of these brands when some hoteliers cheat on their brands by defining them poorly.

Yet others are more upbeat. One Management Science study last year found that companies that register more trademarks in a year see their share prices outperform companies that register fewer — after adjusting for company asset size for relevant comparisons.

Hilton’s promised mystery brand needs a name.

Nassetta has said that Hilton aims to develop yet another type of hotel brand, too.

“We don’t have a hard luxury lifestyle brand, and we’re working on one,” Nassetta said at Skift Global Forum. “I don’t know when we’ll do it. I legitimately don’t know, and I’m not holding back on you. But I would say in the next year or two, we’ll do something in that space.”


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Tags: branding, brands, extended stay, future of lodging, hilton, hotel brands

Photo credit: Hilton in 2023 announced an extended-stay hotel brand without yet an official name and temporarily called Project H3. Here's a photo-illustration of a guest room. Source: Hilton.

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