Last year was a year marked by many events, not the least of which was the appearance of new brands and the renewal of big names in the industry. Hospitality ON provides a snapshot of what's new in the world of hotel brands in 2019.
The advent of augmented hospitality at Accor with the renewal of its historic brands
In 2019 Accor launched a renewal program for all its brands, starting with ibis red. In order to give it a strong identity, the concept of the economy hotel brand was entirely overhauled. It thus shifted from standardization to thematization, with a production declined in three scenarios: the Plaza concept by FGMF (whose prototype was developed in Sao Paulo), the Agora concept by Innocad (prototype based in Austria) and the Square concept by Soda (prototype based in Bangkok). In addition to a renewed and diversified look, the approach involved integrating a new dimension for the hotel business, with music as a key element. Concerts by local artists and a partnership with Spotify are planned and/or already organised. This is one way to bring additional revenue to the group's properties.
The same strategy was taken for Mercure properties, which were redesigned with help from the contemporary furniture brand Ligne Roset, the idea being to stand out from the other properties of quality within the group, such as Novotel and Mama Shelter. Sofitel properties are not left behind. The luxury brand was subject to a marketing campaign focused on French art de vivre, with the slogan "Live The French Way" which picks up on the group's new leitmotif "Live, Work, Play". In addition to the invitation to experience this art of living, the brand is planning various French-style events, such as the grape harvest through Sofitel Wine Days and the music festival, which will punctuate the year to maintain a constant link with a clientele eager for French culture.
This renewal of historic brands reflects the global strategy to see the Accor group evolve towards a new version of the hotel: augmented hospitality. More than diversification, it is a question of integrating all aspects of the life of an establishment's customers, of creating an ecosystem, perfectly summed up in the group's new slogan: "Live, Work, Play".
TRIBE and greet, Accor's last-born lifestyle brands
With this very promising development axis, Accor is focusing considerably on the lifestyle hospitality segment which has had a dedicated division within the group for three years. As a reminder, Cédric Gobilliard, Senior Vice President Lifestyle Division at Accor, spoke about the importance of this segment at the Paris Asset Forum >hospitality, explaining that it is a response to customer demand to "experience places to live, live the local culture". This need is such that the lifestyle offer should "double over the next 3 years" (Cédric Gobilliard).
TRIBE was Accor's first new lifestyle brand in 2019.Launched in March, it was inaugurated with a first 126-room hotel in Perth, Australia. The essence of the brand is based on optimizing space and enhancing design to boost customer perception. Common areas and rooms have therefore been given special attention to reinforce the impression of volume. The hotel has also been designed as a "hub" opening outwards and providing work and conviviality spaces. The interior design will give visibility to design objects signed by great names such as Jean-Paul Gaultier and Tom Dixon. In the restaurant and bar area, a TRIBE food corner will offer regional and seasonal products.
As for Greet, the brand is more focused on sustainable development and user-friendliness. The new brand thus aims to combine "environmental considerations with a socially responsible approach for travelers in search of authenticity". Announced at the beginning of 2019, it officially entered the market through a first deployment in Burgundy last April. It is intended to be easy to develop by giving owners a certain autonomy so they can display their own style in independent hotels with 50 to 70 rooms. There are only three rules to be respected at all times: display the brand logo "in common areas", set up a "large dinner table to share special moments", and set aside 20% of the rooms available for 4 and 6 people. Finally, through a "waste-free policy", particular interest is given over to recycling with an eco-system where everything is second-hand, where the need to "renovate and enhance the heritage" is felt. In the future, the brand wants to establish itself throughout France, notably in Marseille (St Charles and Airport), Lyon Perrache, Paris, St Witz, Rennes, Bourges and St Germain-en-Laye (Paris region), with a goal to open 300 units in Europe by 2030.
SureStay Studio opens at Best Western
Best Western has brought a new brand to the SureStay Hotel Group just three years after launching the first three brands - SureStay Hotel, SureStay plus Hotel and SureStay Signature Collection. SureStay Studio complements the U.S. group's economy offer. The brand was created in response to "growing demand from developers and travelers". It demonstrates a "strong return on investment" for investors and "superior service and amenities" for guests. The brand has joined the Best Western Rewards loyalty program, as well as the group's platform, and will benefit from its global partnerships, sales support and revenue management system to help hoteliers maximise revenue.
UrCove, a brand born out of a joint venture between Hyatt and BTG Homeinns for the Chinese market
Announced in February, in late June, Hyatt and BTG Homeinns revealed the name of their new brand dedicated to Chinese tourists: UrCove. Initially, the two hoteliers will launch in Shanghai and Beijing by the end of 2020, and then expand to other cities such as Guangzhou and Shenzhen. Designed specifically for business clientele, the hotels will be located in strategic urban areas and will be equipped with all the amenities, conference facilities and catering facilities to enable the organisation of business dinners.
Treehouse,"the little brother of 1" at Starwood Capital
This new eco- and friendly brand is envisioned by its founder and CEO, Barry Sternlicht, as the follow-up to the 1 Hotels brand, which has been successfully deployed in South Beach, Brooklyn Bridge and Central Park. Indeed Treehouse was born from a sustainable concept close to that of its predecessor. The name refers both to the natural material of wood but also to a return to the roots, to childhood, offering "a new type of hotel experience". Its management is entrusted to a subsidiary of the group. A first property opened at the end of 2019 in London.
Atwell Suites™, a new supply combining flexibility, ties and discovery at IHG
In keeping with its strategy to develop its brand portfolio, the British group launched a new brand in the mid- to high-end segment on May 15. Atwell Suites™ was designed as a brand that is both flexible and conducive to exchange and personal work. The hotels are designed around three key points: flexible and enriching spaces to offer "destinations for collaborative work, relaxation or networking"; an F&B offer including "a complimentary breakfast is available at sunrise and a bar serves complementary meals in the evening"; and an authentic networking experience to "inspire guests to share their recommendations and discover each other and their journey". The first properties were signed in the fall of 2019 and will open in 2021.
Steigenberger Hotels & Resorts has begun its transformation at Deutsche Hospitality
Group CEO Thomas Willms announced a modernization plan to update Steigenberger's brand identity with new services that are more in line with new trends. The plan has a budget of 120 million euros to finance renovation work on around ten existing establishments, and to provide new services such as the introduction of receptionists to meet customers, the organisation of ephemeral exhibitions in the lobby and cultural events and fashion shows in hotels. A limousine service is also planned through a partnership with the company Sixt. This historic investment programme, the third largest in the group's history, aims to boost the growth of the group's global hotel portfolio, all brands combined, by focusing on a "Made in Germany" identity.