Hilton Adds Spark By Hilton Premium Economy Brand; Could grow to over 1,000 hotels

The Hilton family of hotel brands grows in the new year with the latest option, Spark by Hilton. The new hotel product offers “premium economy” hotel stays and will balance affordability with popular amenities that travelers have come to expect (namely, free breakfast and access to the massive Hilton Honors loyalty program).

The premium economy segment is a fast-growing and lucrative segment for the hospitality industry, allowing it to gain a foothold quickly while penetrating a price-sensitive market. Hotel market segmentation is a key focus for major hotel brands, and the economy segment accounts for 43% (almost half) of the total market, with 68 million travelers choosing to stay there. With the Hilton name and Hilton Honors benefits, Spark by Hilton gives the hospitality company access to a segment where it sees tremendous potential in what it calls “open space” in the market.

According to Hilton data, 77% of destination travelers stay at economy standard hotels. Proprietary quantitative research indicated that the majority of travelers would view this addition to the brand portfolio, which includes 19 brands ranging from affordable to luxury, positively.

It’s also lucrative for hotel developers, who see the segment as an emerging, high-margin target. Hilton’s strong supply chain and pricing models can also help developers manage costs more efficiently. Competing brands in the same market include Best Western’s SureStay Hotel Group and Red Roof Plus, among others.

Spark by Hilton will be a conversion-only brand, meaning existing hotels will be leveraged to develop a new hotel network. This includes other hotel brands looking to transition to the Spark by Hilton model, but first they must all complete a full renovation to brand standards.

This allows Hilton to quickly enter new markets, often smaller or more price-sensitive, using the Spark by Hilton concept, which could eventually grow to more than 1,000 properties.

style and substance

Hotel owners can benefit from the extensive research Hilton has put into developing the right mix of amenities for the price point. It includes attractive rooms with colorful furniture, though a key focus is consistency between properties, a major pain point between other brand hotels, according to Hilton consumer research.

Open closets and wall hooks provide guests with convenient space to unpack, but are also easier and quicker for housekeepers to clean up between stays. This helps reduce the time it takes to clean each room and the need for more staff.

The simplified design is deliberately designed to keep spaces tidy, another facet in faster clean times. In-room amenities include refrigerators, desks that swing out to save or add space when needed, and an in-room workspace.

Co-working and communal spaces will be available in the public areas, with various types of seating including rocking chairs and communal tables.

Existing hotels transitioning to this new brand must complete a full renovation before opening as Spark by Hilton.

Giveaways

A good price does not mean that you should also save on equipment. Spark by Hilton offers a complimentary light breakfast to all guests. It includes a bagel bar with a variety of toppings and spreads, pastries, yogurt, juice, and all-day coffee and tea.

Rooms will not have in-room coffee makers, which may increase cleaning times, but the entire property will have free wireless internet. The hotels will also not have a business center or a bar.

Guests can also purchase snacks and beverages, including ready-to-heat items, from a 24-hour marketplace in the lobby.

Known Benefits of Hilton Honors

Frequent travelers can count on the Hilton Honors suite of benefits, including the ability to earn or redeem points for a stay and use in-app features like Digital Key to open the guest room with a smartphone. Hilton also offers its guests unusual benefits, such as the ability to guarantee connecting rooms in advance and choose the exact location of the room within the hotel.

While the first hotel location has yet to be announced, Spark by Hilton hotels will debut this year with a focus on US destinations, including everything from beachfront venues to highway lodging options.

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