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Hotels brands may claim to be different to one another and each brand within a portfolio may claim to offer guests something which its sister brands do not but branding really isn’t here for the benefit of guests.
Hotel brands are a marketing tool designed by the hotel chains to appeal to hotel owners and to encourage them to sign up to their management agreements.
If brands were really there just to differentiate the various offerings then no chain would need more than around 7 brands – one long-stay brand and six brands spanning the comfort spectrum.
But that’s not the case.
Up until now the Hilton portfolio has included:
- Hilton Hotels & Resorts
- Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts
- Conrad Hotels & resorts
- Canopy By Hilton
- Curio Collection By Hilton
- Doubletree By Hilton
- Tapestry Collection By Hilton
- Embassy Suites By Hilton
- Hilton Garden Inn
- Hampton By Hilton
- Tru By Hilton
- Homewood Suites By Hilton
- Home2 Suites By Hilton
- Hilton Grand Vacations
- LXR Resorts
- Motto (coming soon)
Now we have “Signia Hilton“.
Hilton says that the Signia Hilton brand is a meetings-and-events focused brand and will include a portfoilo of hotels designed “to transform the industry for meeting professionals and sophisticated business travelers by infusing state-of-the-art technology and design into every aspect of the guest experience“.
Each Signia Hilton property will offer a minimum of 500 guest rooms and, based on Hilton’s math, a minimum of 37,500 square feet of “flexible meetings and event space”.
The properties will be located in “top urban and resort locales” and, to kick things off, will include the following:
- Signia Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek
- Signia Hilton Atlanta
- Signia Hilton Indianapolis.
Per Hilton the key selling points of the Signia Hilton branded properties will be:
- Impressive arrivals: Signia Hilton will offer a true sense of arrival with modern architecture, manicured landscaping and welcoming team members who will invite travelers to enjoy the grandeur and energy of the hotel.
- Unmatched lobby experiences: Thoughtful design connected to the local culture will foster an impressive and comfortable space that doubles as a lobby and social destination for guests throughout their stay.
- Modern guest rooms: From the premium design and quality finishes that take inspiration from each hotel’s unique destination, to the innovative technology that matters most to guests, like Digital Key, the rooms will serve as a haven for comfort and convenience.
- A destination bar: Each hotel will feature a bar that ties back to the exciting city or resort destination where it resides. With its premier location in the hotel, the bar will serve as the heart of the hotel, emanating a dynamic energy throughout the entire space.
- A signature restaurant: The signature restaurants at each Signia Hilton will be based on a chef-driven concept, designed to offer both locals and guests elevated presentations and experiences that they will want to share with friends and business partners.
- Premium wellness experiences: From infinity pools to state-of-the art spas, fitness classes and facilities, each Signia Hilton will offer an upgraded experience, all in a space designed to make guests feel their best.
- The Signia meeting experience: The meetings and events spaces will be the signature showpiece of each Signia Hilton. Large ballrooms and pre-function areas will feature smart design paired with the newest technologies to elevate today’s meetings. As the modern meeting attendee is looking for spaces that inspire innovative thinking, the small to mid-size meeting rooms will feature unique design and technology that spark new ideas and optimize work and collaboration.
This is a great example of how hotel branding is really just a marketing exercise because, if you take a close look at each of those points that Hilton is keen to associate with its new Signia brand, it’s hard to see many that don’t already apply to a lot of other hotels out there…including a lot of properties already in the Hilton portfolio.
There are already countless hotels offering an impressive arrivals areas, a beautiful lobby, modern rooms, a good bar, a nice restaurant, good pools and nice spa facilities so the only thing that may distinguish the Signia Hiltons from other hotels are the meeting facilities….and those don’t really seem to stand out either.
Hilton says that the Signia Hiltons will offer large ballrooms, pre-function areas and meeting facilities with all the technology that guests will need….but doesn’t that describe just about any hotel that regularly hosts conferences and meetings?
I’m struggling to see anything new or unique here.
Hilton may be claiming that its Signia brand is something new that it’s bringing to the market for its customers and guests but the reality is that it’s just another brand to sell to hotel owners.
Where a hotel owner may not wish to be the second or third “Hilton” property in an area he/she may well be more than happy to be the first (and only) Signia property in a location so Hilton gets a new management agreement where otherwise one may not have been signed.
The hotel owner gets a shiny new brand to put on his/her hotel, Hilton signs up yet another property while guests get anther property at which to earn and burn Hilton points but not much else.