Hilton's latest brand breaks new ground with a customizable complimentary breakfast.
Hilton made a splash at the 2016 Americas Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS) when they debuted their new Tru brand, giving Hilton a first-time presence in the midscale market.
“We had Home2 Suites and Homewood Suites—extended-stay brands—and Hampton Inn, but nothing in-between,” says Mark Southern, director, F&B brand programs, focused service, global brands and innovation services at Hilton. “Our research showed 40% of the room nights industrywide were at midscale hotels. That’s 40% of the dollars available that we weren’t getting, so the midscale market was important for us to enter.”
Hilton didn’t just enter that tier with a typical hotel brand either. Tru is in many ways an actual disrupter in the midscale market, with its unconventional complimentary breakfast, free Lavazza coffee in the lobby, retail-inspired signage, strategic color and décor touches, “good-better” grab-and-go offerings, and more.
“It’s not a Millennial brand, although they’re part of our target market. Tru crosses generations, and it’s geared toward a type of traveler rather than an age group,” says Shawn McGowan, senior director, global brand F&B, brand services and product development, Hilton Worldwide. “Tru appeals to people that are spirited, have a zest for life, and are looking for a unique experience at an affordable price point.”
There are currently two Tru properties open (Oklahoma City and McDonough, Georgia) with a total of 10 scheduled for this year. According to Hilton, there are 60 more Tru hotels slated for 2018, and more than 150 projected for 2019. Tru has the fastest pipeline growth in Hilton’s history, and here, McGowan, Southern, and Adrianne Korczynski, VP and creative director at FRCH Design Worldwide, detail some of Tru’s touchpoints and the strategies behind them.