Long popular in suburbia, extended stay properties are now making a name for themselves in urban areas.
Extended-stay hotels used to be considered a suburban staple, but in recent years, it’s been making moves into urban and ‘surban’ locations. What factors have made these markets so ripe for extended stay?Traditionally, extended-stay hotels have been popular in the suburban market, but cities are becoming hot spots for this type of hotel as guests seek out budget-friendly options in metropolitan areas. Today’s Hotelier recently talked with Adrian Kurre, global head of Homewood Suites and Home2 Suites by Hilton, about the rise of urban and “surban” extended-stay properties throughout the United States.
Travelers are increasingly looking for space, value-added amenities and convenience at a cost-efficient price point, all tenants of the Homewood Suites by Hilton and Home2 Suites by Hilton extended-stay offering. Similarly, recent guest surveys conducted by the All Suites brands by Hilton (Embassy Suites by Hilton, Homewood Suites by Hilton and Home2 Suites by Hilton) point to an increased desire for accommodations located in walkable, vibrant communities with shopping and dining, as well as easy access to public transportation. Our innovative building models have enabled us to capitalize on these favorable market conditions to expand our footprint into metropolitan locales.
Urban and ‘surban’ markets present challenges due to space limitations. What are some innovative practices for breaking into these high-barrier-to-entry locations?
A key to both Homewood Suites’ and Home2 Suites’ growth in urban markets has been their flexible and scalable prototypes. Hilton has invested a great deal of time and resources to perfect each design, which included ongoing collaboration with owners to create prototypes that have made it easier than ever to build an extended-stay property and thrive in competitive urban markets. Our prototypes are also customizable, enabling owners to adapt them to meet the needs and aesthetic of the local area.
For instance, Homewood Suites’ Generation 9.2 prototype provides a scalable cost-saving building model that vastly increases the number of potential sites for a Homewood Suites extended-stay hotel. The prototype also features a “bend and flex” approach to extended-stay properties, allowing up to 85 percent studios compared to the previous 60 percent maximum, in markets where it makes sense for business and customer loyalty.
In addition to the flexible and evolving prototypes, Homewood Suites and Home2 Suites has embraced adaptive reuse and dual-brand models where real estate is at a premium. The conversion of the former South Texas Building into the Home2 Suites by Hilton San Antonio Downtown Riverwalk is a prime example of adaptive reuse that benefits both the brand and the community. The historic property still maintains its Beaux Arts style exterior, elevator doors and original windows, while delivering on all brand pillars of a Home2 Suites.
Another effective strategy, “multi-branding,” also appeals to both owners and travelers. The Homewood Suites by Hilton Cincinnati-Downtown, for example, is a dual-branded 249 room Homewood Suites and Hampton property. Sharing front- and back-of-house facilities saves each brand construction costs, zoning approvals and ongoing operational expenses.
While we have traditionally pursued the dual-branded model as a tool to gain entry into urban markets, Hilton recently celebrated the groundbreaking of its first-ever tri-brand hotel near McCormick Place in downtown Chicago. Consisting of a Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn by Hilton and Home2 Suites by Hilton, the hotel is slated to open in late 2018. This milestone property will join the more than 60 multi-brand hotels in the Hilton pipeline, most of which contain an extended-stay brand.
We’re more than halfway through 2017, what is the movement of Homewood Suites and Home2 Suites into these locations thus far? What is in the pipeline for the remainder of the year?
Within the first six months of 2017, Homewood Suites and Home2 Suites, along with our sister All Suites brand, Embassy Suites, have opened six properties in urban and “surban” locations including New Orleans, Los Angeles and downtown Charlotte, N.C., bringing the All Suites brands’ current footprint of urban properties to nearly 30 hotels. We’ll continue to break into new high-barrier-to-entry markets throughout this year with Homewood Suites’ upcoming properties in Las Vegas and downtown Austin, Texas; and Home2 Suites’ new locations in downtown Birmingham, Ala. and Columbia, S.C. ■