Hilton Worldwide Unveils New Brand

Hilton Worldwide has launched Tru by Hilton, its newest hotel brand, hoping to fill a void in the midscale category in the U.S. and Canada.

By Keith Loria, Contributing Editor

Tru by HiltonHilton Worldwide has launched Tru by Hilton, a new hotel brand set to fill a void in the midscale category in the U.S. and Canada.

“About a year and a half ago, we started to do some extensive research, and looked at the midscale category. Some of the statistics we found were very compelling,” Alexandra Jaritz, global head of Tru by Hilton, told CPE. “We found 40 percent of guest stays in the U.S. are in the economy and midscale segments, so a significant amount of guests in that space.”

Additionally, approximately 20 percent of Hilton Honors guests use products at midscale or economy price points and Hilton, until this launch, did not have a hotel at the price point.

“We realized we have an additional 18 million customers we could target if we entered that price point,” Jaritz said. “We looked at our existing competitors in the space and felt we had a real opportunity, combined with the power of Hilton, to disrupt the midscale segment and really make a difference with a product we believe could be one of our biggest brands and really drive distribution.”

Built from the belief that being cost conscious and having a great stay doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive, Tru by Hilton offers a unique experience in its space that is surprisingly affordable.

To get the new brand going, Hilton Worldwide already has 102 hotels signed and an additional 30 hotels in various stages of approval in cities including Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Denver, Portland and Nashville. The first hotels will open later this year.

“One of the things that makes this brand and the category it’s in very important is that it’s a franchising opportunity,” Phil Cordell, global head of focused service brands for Hilton Worldwide, told CPE. “This is a very attractive segment for them to get in. Built costs are somewhere between $84,000 and $85,000 per key plus land. At this [price] it offers great opportunity.”

Pairing a stringent focus on operational efficiency with thoughtful innovation, Tru by Hilton is designed to deliver a strong value proposition for owners and guests. According to Jaritz, the brand will appeal to a broad range of travelers who span generations but think alike; they are united by a millennial mindset—a youthful energy, a zest for life and a desire for human connection.

“When we started developing the brand, we focused on three brand pillars that we used as a filter for decision making and did it through the lens of a guest and of owners,” she said. “Those are simplified, spirited and grounded in value.”

Guest rooms will include all-white comfortable platform beds, 55-inch TVs, eight-foot-wide windows, access to power everywhere, and spacious bathrooms.

Among Tru by Hilton’s innovative features are: The Hive, 2,770 square-feet of open space with unique ways for guests to engage with others or spend time alone; The Play Zone, filled with table games, a large-screen TV (featuring DIRECTV), and tiered, stadium-inspired seating; and a complimentary “Build Your Own” breakfast consisting of a toppings bar with 30 sweet and savory items.

There’s also a centrally located Command Center featuring a social media wall with real-time content to foster engagement among guests, and a 24/7 market with snacks and refreshments, single-serve wine and beer, healthy light meal options and sundries for purchase.