Hilton Worldwide Launches New Brand: Curio

Hilton Worldwide broadens its horizons yet again, this time with the announcement of its new brand: Curio.

SLS Las Vegas

Hilton Worldwide broadens its horizons yet again, this time with the announcement of its new brand: Curio.

According to the hotel giant’s news release, “Curio will be a carefully selected, global collection of distinctive four-to-five star hotels.”

Playing on the word’s meaning, “curio,” as something unique or rare, the company intends to make every hotel of this brand different from the next, with individuality being the common thread. The following properties are intended to be included under the Curio umbrella: SLS Las Vegas Hotel & Casino; The Sam Houston Hotel in Houston; Hotel Alex Johnson in Rapid City, S.D.; The Franklin Hotel, Chapel Hill, N.C.; and a yet unnamed hotel development in downtown Portland, Ore.

“We’ve created a collection of hotels and given them independence in the four-star category, what we consider is upper upscale and now we’ve given them a role to play in Hilton and we’re figuring out how to add value to them,” Jim Holthouser, executive vice president, global brands, Hilton Worldwide, told Commercial Property Executive.

The five hotels will retain their names and independent status, but will reap the benefits of a Hilton brand as part of the Curio collection by being franchised under Hilton for a fee, and Hilton in return will market for them.

Hilton owns and operates more than 4,100 hotels, of which 3,700 are franchised under its name.

Hotel Alex Johnson lobby, Rapid City, S.D.

Hotel Alex Johnson lobby, Rapid City, S.D.

“In our business you have to figure out a way for the owner of the independent hotel to win and for us to create value for him or her and this has to work for us (as well),” Holthouser added.

The independent hotels under franchise will now have access to 100 million of Hilton customers, access to its websites, to Hilton’s sales and distribution systems, and have purchasing synergy there, when buying hotel supplies at a discount.

A third of the hotels in the U.S. are independent, not affiliated with any company, such as  Hilton, Marriott or Starwood. In Europe, on the other hand, almost 60 percent of hotels are affiliated with those brands,  Holthouser explained.

“When a customer books through Expedia or other distribution channels, you will be paying a lot less as a Curio than you were as a standalone business,because you can leverage the scale of Hilton’s business to drive your own cost down,” he concluded.

One of the hotels, the famed SLS Las Vegas, owned and operated by SBE at the site of the former Sahara Hotel & Resort, will open after a three-year, $415 million renovation, which entails the redevelopment of three existing Sahara towers.

Three of the five hotels under the Curio brand are currently already in operation. Although the announcement went public on Monday, the branding is going through the legal department, and will be officially converted and selling on each hotel’s websites in a couple of months, according to Holthouser.