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Leaning Into The Lifestyle Segment

Hilton Sees Development Pipeline Expand Among Trio Of Brands

By Dennis Nessler | June 28, 2021

While 2020 was wrought with challenges for the lodging industry as a whole, the tumultuous year clearly didn’t impact the growth trajectory of Hilton’s lifestyle brands as the company added 11 new properties to its development pipeline.

With these newly signed properties, Hilton’s lifestyle category supply is expected to double within the next five years as well as expand to an additional 17 countries/territories over the next 10 years including the first lifestyle property in Africa.

The company also effectively doubled its Canopy portfolio during the past year with 15 openings. Hilton’s premium lifestyle brand—which was launched in 2014 as Hilton’s first entry into the segment—continued to expand its global footprint recently opening the Canopy by Hilton Paris Trocadero, which brings the portfolio to 30 properties.

The brand’s growth momentum includes recent openings such as Canopy Hangzhou West Lake; Canopy Sao Paulo Jardins; and Canopy San Antonio Riverwalk. The brand also has current projects in development in Madrid, London and China, as well as Chicago and Portland, ME, all scheduled to open this year.

“While nothing about the past year has been easy we’ve been able to keep our momentum and celebrate the fact we opened 15 Canopy hotels. It’s been such an exciting journey to introduce our guests to all these amazing new neighborhoods around the world,” said Harald Han, director of brand management, Canopy by Hilton, during a recent media conference.

Han further described the DNA of the brand and some of its key attributes.

“We are that vibrant branded boutique hotel for travelers who are looking for that authentic and elevated local experience. Our hotels are uniquely designed with that local narrative in mind from the architecture to interior design to restaurants that are served with that local flair. We really want to bring each neighborhood to life, and so furthermore we kind of balance that sophisticated design with the more comfortable and residential feel,” he said, later adding the typical guest is an “experiential traveler.”

Meanwhile, Phil Cordell, Hilton Global Category Head, Hilton Lifestyle Brands & Global Brand Head, Canopy by Hilton, noted how the pandemic has helped bring guests’ needs more clearly into focus as he detailed what’s driving interest in the brand.

“I think one of the things that’s really cool for travelers is they’ve learned that connecting with friends, family, and loves ones is more important now than ever. I think that’s one of the reasons we see an accelerated curve in the reboot of leisure travel. When you think about Canopy that’s really what it’s all about. It’s about connecting with the local neighborhood in ways that enable our team members to be familiar with the neighborhoods and to offer an experience that’s kind of unique,” he said.

Meanwhile, although Canopy by Hilton doesn’t have what might be thought of as a lot of “traditional meeting space,” Han noted the properties have been benefitting from an uptick in smaller group business.

“The demands we see from customers and owners is more for these mixed-use collaborative kind of spaces that are flexible,” he said, adding the importance of the “aspirational element of it.”

Cordell further pointed out that Canopy has a lot of unique venues with rooftops and different types of spaces. As such, the brand has “started to get greater visibility with weddings.” He also noted the trend toward smaller, more “personal touch events” should benefit the brand.

Launched last year, Tempo by Hilton has six properties in the development pipeline. It is positioned as an approachable lifestyle hotel brand offering thoughtfully designed accommodations to help guests relax and recharge, according to the company.

During a recent press event—which also included executives from the company’s other lifestyle brands Motto by Hilton and Canopy by Hilton—Kevin Morgan, global brand head, Tempo by Hilton, discussed the “contemporary and modern” brand’s target demographic.

“Tempo was built to appeal to this emerging traveler, what we term as a modern achiever. Balance grounds them, compassion guides them, and discovery stimulates them. It’s a group of individuals that really reflects on their personal successes. They’re goal-oriented and really striving for more in life. When we looked at building the Tempo brand it was really about putting together design elements that touched on that and providing an uplifting and more inspiring experience,” he said.

Morgan emphasized that in addition to creating an affordable product for guests, the company kept owners very much in mind by ensuring that “it’s affordable to build” as well.

The lifestyle brand—which had previously announced a groundbreaking in Louisville—recently signed deals for new build properties in major metropolitan markets including Boston, New York, Seattle, and Milwaukee, as well as Irving, TX.

According to the company, each property will feature inspiring public spaces, state-of-the-art fitness facilities with product experiences from Peloton and Precor, and flexible meeting and working spaces. The brand is also designed to feature premium culinary options, such as its signature coffee and tea fuel bar, a café style breakfast offering and a bar experience.

Morgan further touted the flexibility of the brand’s lobbies, which he noted will allow guests to not only enjoy breakfast, but also have informal meetings and spread out and work.

“Within the public space you’ll see a dynamic communal space. It’s really about having a multi-function space that’s utilized throughout the day,” he noted.

The brand’s lobbies will also feature a very distinct ceiling mounted artwork piece, according to Morgan. “It’s one more nod to the ‘lookup culture.’ We find we’re always looking down at our phones and our computer screens; we want to put little nods into this brand,” he said.

The guestrooms also feature an abstract art piece on the wall greeting guests as they enter. The Get Ready zone includes an open closet and large stone top which be used as multi-functional space. He noted the brand has “resituated the bathroom” effectively making the room larger. “It allows guests to use that space for more than just walking through,” said Morgan.

The guestrooms also features a spacious bath suite with a backlit mirror and oversized shower. Other prominent room features include an enveloping headboard designed to “feel like a hug” as well as a swivel chair, multi-functional table and 65-inch TV.

The newly signed properties in Boston and New York City, meanwhile, are expected to open in 2023 with the remaining Tempo hotels opening in 2024.

The Tempo Boston Fenway will be a 184-room hotel near Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. It will feature an on-site restaurant, flexible meeting space and a fitness center with more than 1,220 square feet.

The Tempo New York City Manhattan Downtown World Trade Center Area will be a 41-story hotel with nearly 300 rooms located in the city’s financial district.

The Tempo Seattle Downtown will be a 23-story hotel featuring 200 guestrooms. It will feature a bar and restaurant located on the second level and a rooftop lounge and bar.

The Tempo Milwaukee Downtown is a 155-room hotel with views of the city and the Milwaukee River and 4,600 square feet of meeting space.

The Tempo Irving Las Colinas will be a 138-room hotel with more than 2,500 square feet of meeting space and a large outdoor patio.

In addition to the upcoming Tempo properties, Motto continues to expand its portfolio of curated micro-hotels in prime, urban destinations across the U.S. and internationally. Joining Motto Washington D.C. City Center, which opened in the summer of 2020, and Motto Philadelphia Rittenhouse Square, which just opened in early May 2021, the brand will open their third property in Chelsea, New York City later this summer. After announcing seven property signings in 2019, including the first Motto in Latin America with Motto Lima Miraflores, Motto recently announced six property signings.

Dennis Nessler

Dennis Nessler is Editor-in-Chief of Hotel Interactive, parent company of Hotel Community Forum. Nessler brings more than 28 years of editorial experience to his position, including some 17 years in the hospitality industry. As part of his duties, Nessler not only covers the industry editorially but moderates various high-level panel sessions at hospitality events and frequently conducts one-on-one interviews with C-level executives.

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