Where we attempt to answer the question “Just how many brands does a lodging company need?”
Tru by Hilton (And Other Stuff)
I got an email from Hilton today reminding me that they recently launched their 13th brand, Tru by Hilton. 13 brands seems like a lot to me, although Marriott has 30 if you include those that it acquired from Starwood.
Tru is one of Hilton’s shots at Millennials. We’ve seen this before. A few days ago, I wrote about Air France’s absolutely ridiculous “airline with an airline” Joon. After realized that Millennials hate to be coerced by brands, Air France created a brand especially for them, thus missing the point entirely. Tru has done the same thing. While AF described its creation as “a lifestyle brand and a state of mind. Short, punchy and international…,” Tru has taken the cheese and absolutely run with it:
Say hello to a brand-new hotel experience from Hilton that’s vibrant, affordable and young-at-heart. It’s energetic, yet relaxing and comfortable. It’s familiar, and it’s also unexpected. It’s completely unprecedented, it’s distinctively Tru.
I’m not sure that I want the unexpected when I’m traveling but, then again, I’m not a Millennial.
Tru is clearly aimed at the entry level, which is certainly a good thing. But the company went one better, by couching its attributes in the language “fun” and “social responsibility.” Again, not a bad thing, but let’s see what you get:
What They Say What They Mean
“smaller, more efficiently designed rooms” “small rooms”
“Hang your items in the open closet or colorful wall hooks” “no closets. hooks.”
“Looking for desk space? Head down to the lobby…” “no desks”
“Work, play games, lounge or eat in (the lobby)” “buy stuff”
I Kid Because I Love
Okay, I kid Hilton. And they have certainly hit on a few ideas. For example, in the shower, soap and shampoo are in canisters on the wall, not in little plastic containers. While that does prevent you from stealing the shampoo, it also saves a ton of waste. Less space also means more rooms per building which should, in theory, cut down on costs, although most rates that I saw costs about $150 per night. Hey, at least the returns will be great for the hotel owner.*
The Bottom Line
There’s certainly nothing wrong with new brands, particularly at the lower end, where the major hotel companies don’t have as much to offer. But let’s cool it with the hipster-speak, okay?
*Beginner’s Hint: Most major lodging companies own very few of their actual hotels. Rather, there is an individual hotel owner who pays a percentage of revenues to the parent for managing the property, using the name, running reservations, etc.
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