Spark By Hilton Value Brand Launched
Over the years it seems hotel companies have been falling over themselves to create new hip brands to cater to the ever-changing standards of consumers. Companies like Hilton, Hyatt, IHG & Marriott which all used to have a small number of brands have seen their offerings swell.
Over the past 15 years Hilton has more than doubled their total number of brands and that trend has only accelerated. For example Tru, LXR, Motto, Tapestry and Tempo all launched in just the last few years. And yes those are the real names! Truth be told I stayed at a Tru property last year for the first time and really enjoyed it. I also enjoyed my stay at Crockford’s in Las Vegas which is an LXR property. So while it may be confusing, in some ways Hilton has delivered with these new offerings.
Hilton Going Downscale
Hilton announced today that they are launching yet another brand and this time they are going downscale. According to Hilton, Spark their new brand will be “premium economy” level. They say it will “deliver a simple, reliable and comfortable stay, all at an accessible price”.
In describing the brand Hilton focuses on four brand characteristics that they feel differentiate Spark by Hilton in the space. Here are the signature elements of Spark by Hilton:
- Thoughtful Simplicity: Spark by Hilton will offer simple, inspired design with splashes of color and cheer that bring the outdoors in. Each hotel will provide a welcoming sense of arrival with colorful exterior statement walls and energizing artwork. The public space will feature multi-functional seating from communal tables to rocking chairs, offering plenty of options for guests to enjoy breakfast, socialize or work throughout the day. Guest rooms will be comfortable and relaxing so travelers can unwind and recharge for whatever comes next. Focusing on practical amenities, the simple, streamlined furniture will include an open closet, in-room refrigerator, multi-purpose work surface and bright bathroom.
- Reliable Service: As part of the Hilton family of brands, guests will feel welcome and confident in their stay from the moment they walk through the door. Warm and inviting hotel team members with attention to detail will provide happy and helpful service. And, guests will be empowered with the tools needed to make the most of their stay, such as 24-hour digital check-in and Digital Key.
- Unexpected Touches: Spark by Hilton will help add value to the guest experience by offering a simple, complimentary breakfast, featuring premium coffee, juice and a signature bagel bar with spreads, so guests can fuel up before hitting the road. The brand will also offer a 24-hour retail market for on-the-go travelers.
- Consistent Quality: To ensure the goal of a consistent, quality guest experience, each hotel will be required to complete a full renovation, encompassing all guest-facing areas of the hotel, prior to joining Spark by Hilton and the Hilton family.
Spark by Hilton Is A Conversion Brand
One interesting part of their press release is targeted towards current property owners looking to shack up with a new brand. “Spark by Hilton was developed in close collaboration with our developer community, and we are thrilled by the positive feedback and excitement we have received to date,” said Alissa Klees, brand leader, Spark by Hilton. “In fact, we already have more than 100 deals in various stages of development across the U.S., with the first properties anticipated to open this year.”
Hilton says owners will benefit from their technology and network effect. They also focus on the cost-effective nature of the conversion and how it can transform properties by focusing on areas that benefit the guest experience while giving a more cohesive experience. Admittedly something that could be beneficial in this segment.
Is Spark by Hilton A Good Idea?
Who am I to tell a mega-hotel corporation whether or not they want to dive even deeper into the little leagues of hotels. I would expect there to be challenges converting a ton of older lower tier properties, but this could be an interesting strategy for growth. If they can make the economics work for owners then shacking up with Hilton would make a lot of sense.
Hotels in general have gotten better at all levels these past couple of decades and I think this is an example of that phenomenon. The hotel industry in some ways has matured and a budget room today is often much nicer than a budget room 20 years ago. This allows space for Spark by Hilton which should bring a uniform approach to these lower tier properties and hopefully will deliver a decent experience.
Spark By Hilton Value Drive Brand Launched – Bottom Line
Hilton has added yet another brand to their quickly growing portfolio with the addition of Spark by Hilton. This new premium economy brand will focus on conversions of other properties and will be focused on a more downscale market compared to many of their other brands. With 100 deals in the works it will be interesting to see how this new brand ends up working out.
What do you think of the new Spark by Hilton brand? Does this look like a place you would stay? Let me know in the comments!
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The lede photo (rendering) looks like a de-flagged Hampton Inn. Wonder if they’ll do some conversions of older HI properties, staying in the Hilton family but just going down a rung on the ladder?
I recently stayed at a Tru. I probably won’t again. I am usually a Hampton Inn or HGI guest. The Tru room just felt too small for me. I have stayed at some really unique Hampton Inns, one in Providence, RI that was a renovated older building that had been used as an office, it was very nice.
Having said that I have stayed in Hiltons that were not nearly as nice as a Hampton or HGI as well. But as others have said, might be good for a one night stop over stay.
The renderings look a lot like the Four Points Fort Lauderdale – Dania Beach I stayed at once. That location was previously a Best Western Plus, so it seems like this is Hilton’s version of it.
Didn’t the already do this with Tru?
I think this is more like a downscale version of Tru. They peg Tru in the middle tier above Hampton Inn, etc. They do seem similar but this is probably more bare bones. Comparable to like a Quality Inn or Best Western maybe.
“welcoming sense of arrival with colorful exterior statement walls and energizing artwork.” Is this a serious marketing tool? Does anyone consider artwork when choosing a hotel? I spent 2 nights last week at a Hyatt. Could not tell you if they even had artwork on the walls.
The kids must like it.
The footprint of the room, the building example… I see what will happen to those Hampton Inns that don’t want to invest to get up to standard. They will downgrade to a “new” brand.
Yeah that and Choice Hotels or Best Westerns that want to jump ship.
I immediately associate with Walmart, the name might be a problem
Haha. That could be an issue.
Def not going to be staying there if that little stool is the desk chair LOL
Also…bagel bars? I guess on the weekend that is fun but that doesn’t sound very appealing to the those looking for a healthier approach to breakfast.
Bagel bars wouldn’t even be “fun” on the weekends if the bagels come out of a package.
IMHO great move on their part and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Marriott or IHG make a similar such move. Doubt Hyatt will due to their smaller footprint and brand offerings as they could expand just by putting low end (IMHO) Hyatt Place and Hyatt House hotels up.
There is a market below Fairfield Inn or Hampton Inn that is occupied by Choice, Wyndham, Best Western, etc and if the large companies can effectively compete in that space good for them. I don’t see it diluting the “brand” since there is already significant segregation in that you don’t expect the same experience at a Springhill Suites versus a St Regis or at a Hampton Inn versus a Waldorf Astoria. All about messaging and ensuring people clearly understand what they are buying. I would argue that is already the case across the various hotel brands these companies offer so expanding on the low end shouldn’t be a problem
I agree this isn’t diluting their brand. Hilton is already spread pretty far across the spectrum from high to low and this just moves the goal post a bit. You’re right that the sub-Hampton market exists and I think the renders look pretty good. As long as it was clean I think it would be a fine place for a quick stay. I have stayed in much much worse over the years for sure!