Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Hotels

Hyatt to Debut Its Extended-Stay Brand in Markets It Hasn’t Tapped Yet

10 months ago

Hyatt gave details on Wednesday about the first locations for Hyatt Studios, a brand it unveiled in April. The hotel operator will open the first Hyatt Studios just outside of Mobile, Alabama, and Marysville, California — targeting spots where its other brands aren’t present.

“We’ve learned that when Hyatt guests stay with a competing brand, they appear to do so for one of two reasons: the absence of a Hyatt hotel within five miles or the choice to stay at a lower chain scale,” said Dan Hansen, global head of Hyatt Studios. “By enabling guests to choose a Hyatt hotel in new markets, we grow brand loyalty without intra-brand competition and present more white-space options to developers.”

exterior of hyatt studios source hyatt
A photo illustration of a planned exterior for the new Hyatt Studios brand. Source: Hyatt.

The company’s “upper-midscale” extended stay brand anticipates opening its first new-build property late next year.

In the port city of Mobile, Hyatt is franchising the brand to 3H Group, founded by Hiren Desai. The port city has tourism, manufacturing, aerospace, and the corporate offices of retailers — all likely to have workers and visitors making multi-day stays and preferring non-budget lodging.

In downtown Marysville, Hyatt founded a franchisee in Presidio Hotel Development. The spot isn’t far from the capital of California, Sacramento.

lobby of hyatt studios source hyatt
The lobby of the new Hyatt Studios brand set to open in 2024. Source: Hyatt.
Guestroom hyatt studios hotel brand
A guest room. Source: Hyatt.

Hotels

IHG to Launch Midmarket Hotel Brand Designed to Grow Quickly

11 months ago

IHG Hotels & Resorts revealed on Tuesday that it has been pitching hotel owners on a new brand addressing an opportunity in the middle of the market it said is underserved.

“Our aim is that this new conversion brand will become the first choice for guests and owners in the midscale segment, accelerating our growth in a space that is already worth $14 billion in the U.S. market alone,” said CEO Elie Maalouf during remarks tied to the company’s quarterly earnings.

The Windsor, UK-based hotel group — whose brands include Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, and Six Senses — didn’t reveal the name of the new brand, which has become IHG’s 19th brand, or other details.

“We’re delighted that more than 100 hotels have already expressed definitive interest in the new brand,” Maalouf said.

Designed for Fast Growth

Maalouf likely wanted to prioritize a conversion brand over a new construction brand to help address IHG’s need to maintain steady growth in its hotel pipeline.

Unlike new-build brands that take time to grow because of construction delays, conversion brands can expand quickly, especially as many independent hotel operators or owners of properties flagged with older brands seek a refresh.

“Conversions represent a major growth opportunity for us, generating around 40% of first-half openings and signings globally,” Maalouf said.

Addressing the Mid-Market

The new brand is Maalouf’s first big move as CEO, having taken the top job last month.

Maalouf had previously led the group’s North American business for 8 years. During that time, he showed an interest in mid-market growth.

Maalouf led his team in debuting the new brand Avid, in 2017, which he said at the time targeted “a vastly underserved $20 billion segment of the U.S. midscale market.” Avid charges roughly $10 to $15 a night less than Holiday Inn Express, IHG’s midscale leader, and less than Candlewood Suites, IHG’s other mid-scale brand. (The difference in market size figures Maalouf has quoted refers to different segments of the overall mid-market.)

Given Maalouf’s sense that the mid-market is underserved, he has prioritized putting another IHG brand on the grid. That said, IHG’s board (on which he’s been a member for years) approved of this initiative before Maalouf became group CEO.

The hotel franchisor already has upper midscale with Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express, so the new brand is likely more affordable.

IHG expects to target around a 25% lower cost per room to convert to the new brand than that for Holiday Inn Express.

Facing Rivals

IHG’s rivals have also been looking at the middle of the market.

  • In June, Marriott International said it would expand into the “affordable midscale” hotel category in North America with a new hotel brand — which it hasn’t yet named. The move came after earlier this year, when it completed its acquisition of City Express, a midscale brand focused on Latin America.
  • Hilton CEO Christopher Nassetta said in his second-quarter earnings call that the “mid-market” was what he coveted long-term. “We’re not ashamed of saying we have every intention to have the best brands in every market to serve the mid-market because we think that’s where the most money will be made over the next ten or 20 or 30 years,” Nassetta said.
  • In May, Hyatt unveiled a new brand, Hyatt Studios, in the upper-midscale segment.

Hotels

Sonesta Debuts Two Soft Brands

1 year ago

Sonesta International Hotel Corporation announced the debut of two soft brands within its expanding portfolio, Classico, A Sonesta Collection, and MOD, A Sonesta Collection. These two new brands offer independent hotel owners the opportunity to affiliate with Sonesta’s network while retaining their iconic hotel names, identities, designs, and established styles.

Marketed by Sonesta’s Luxury and Lifestyle Lodging Development Team, each Classico property will have a distinct identity and offer signature local cuisine, traditional high-touch service, and refined interiors.

The first Sonesta Classico brand property is the 40-room Z Ocean Hotel in Miami, Florida’s South Beach neighborhood, which opened on May 1, 2023. Each MOD, positioned within Sonesta’s upscale portfolio, will feature eclectic interior designs and amenities, such as curated food and beverage options. The first MOD property will launch as Hotel 11 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. 

From Daily Lodging Report by Alan Woinski for Skift

Hotels

Hilton to Add Peloton Bikes to Hotels in Germany, Canada, and Britain by July

1 year ago

Hilton Worldwide said on Wednesday it was expanding its partnership with connected fitness-equipment maker Peloton to add its bikes to hotels in three new overseas markets: Germany, Britain, and “participating properties” in Canada.

Hilton had already added at least one Peloton bike to each of its 5,400 U.S.-based hotels by last December.

Hilton sees partnerships with non-travel brands as a key path to staying relevant. Connected fitness was a trend that surged during the pandemic.

“It’s a great example of what we call a ‘strategic mash-up’ that transcends individual brand standards,” Schuyler told Skift last month. “It matters at a Hampton, and it matters at a Waldorf. It’s delivering on the service expectations of new age travelers.”

Wellness is an increasing area of focus for hotel companies, as Varsha Arora, senior research analyst at Skift Research, explained in a presentation last week at Skift’s Future of Lodging 2023 event in London. Here’s a chart from her presentation that’s relevant:

As of today, Hilton’s loyalty program members who are first-time Peloton users residing in Canada, Germany, or the U.K. can also receive a three-month free trial of the Peloton App until July 4, as well as “preferred pricing” on some Peloton products.

Hotels

Hyatt Hotels to Debut Atona Brand in Japan That Distills and Updates Ryokan Concept

2 years ago

For centuries, Japan has offered ryokans, which are minimalist guest houses typically located near onsen, or natural hot springs used for bathing. Hyatt Hotels said Wednesday that it planned to launch a new brand, Atona, that will distill the elements of traditional ryokans while adding some modern comforts.

Hyatt has entered a fifty-fifty joint venture with Kiraku, a company that works to apply capital to help preserve the best of Japan’s cultural and natural assets.

Other companies have recently attempted to modernize and brand the ryokan concept, including Nobu’s hospitality division and Adrian Zecha, founder of Aman Resorts, whose brand is called Azumi.

Independently managed properties are expected to open in 2025. Kenya Hara will be the creative director of the new brand.

“We hope these ryokans will provide guests, both local and from abroad, a special place to experience the still unseen wonders of Japan, while also positively impacting local economies,” said Kou Sundberg, founder and CEO of Kiraku. For more on Sundberg, listen to this recent podcast.

Hotels

In a Bet on All-Inclusives, Accor Will Quadruple Rixos Hotels to 100 by 2027

2 years ago

Pool Suite Types, Rixos Premium Belek – Antalya, Turkey. Source: Accor.

Accor said on Wednesday that it was speeding up the development of all-inclusive hotels with the launch of its “all-inclusive collection.” Accor entered the all-inclusive segment in 2016 by cutting a deal with Fettah Tamince, founder of Rixos Hotels. Since then, Accor has tripled the size of Rixos, if you count opening in the pipeline. The brand is most prominent in Turkey, the Middle East, and Central Asia with 24 hotels and more than 10,000 rooms. The company aims to have 100 Rixos properties within five years.

Accor will enhance Rixos by adding restaurant, bar, beach club and nightlife concepts inspired and led by Carte Blanched, Ennismore’s F&B Concept Lab, part of an Accor joint venture with Sharan Pasricha.

For context, see Skift’s story: Accor’s All-Inclusive Resort Growth Plan Strengthens Company Grip on Luxury