Today Hilton announced a new brand, Home2 Suites by Hilton. You might think that its an odd time to launch a new brand in the beleaguered hospitality space but this brand may have staying power.
Consider that Hilton claims to already have 10 franchise applications - most importantly with financing in place. If you are a developer looking for a brand to put on a new build - the power of Hilton global sales force, marketing programs and HHonors program is not to be dismissed. This is a huge advantage for Hilton.
Next, the brand itself is right for the times. In tough times, what sounds better than a "homey" suite to curl up in? The style is "hip and humble" according to Hilton - sounds like a significant upgrade to Hilton's current Homewood Suite offering which is plenty humble but certainly not hip.
Home2 has many similar design elements to Starwood's aloft product but will probably not have the jarring music as you walk in the door. It sounds more like a home than aloft's "everyone should check-in in a bar/nightclub" approach. Sounds good for the times.
But apart from more light and less music (we hope) many things are pretty similar between the brands. Consider:
- Similar number of keys (90-180 for aloft, 108 for Home2)
- Small real estate footprint required for construction
- Community lobby meant for gusts to "hang out" and work in (aloft's is more like a bar and Home2's feels more akin to a Starbucks)
- Free wireless throughout the hotel
- Small indoor pools, outdoor areas for socializing
- And of course, a green approach with things like bulk shower dispensers; dual-flush toilets; and recycled flooring
And at least Hilton will allow us to capitalize the first letter - home2 would have been painful.