brand strategy

Marriott Importing European Hotel Brand to US to Entice Millennials

Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 3, 2013 02:46 PM

Marriott is making another bid for Millennial travelers as it announces plans to import its European-based hotel chain, AC, to America. Earlier this year, Marriott introduced a partnership with IKEA for a new hotel brand called Moxy, which will cater to Millennials across Europe. 

AC Hotels, which is based in Madrid, was bought by Marriott back in 2010 and rechristened AC Hotels by Marriott, HotelChatter.com reports. The hope was that it would help Marriott expand its footprint across that continent, USA Today reports. That’s resulted in 79 AC Hotels by Marriott across Spain, Portugal, France and Italy. Now it’s looking to do the same in the States with a plan for 200 more in the next 10 years.

"It's the right time to bring it to the US," says Brian King, global brand officer for Marriott Endorsed Brands, according to USA Today. "You import wine and you import cars. We're going to import a hotel brand."

If Marriott can lock up a good portion of Millennial business travelers, it could mean a big boost to revenue. According to research done by the hotelier, “business travelers ages 21 to 49 who make three or more business trips a year spend $34 billion on hotel rooms,” USA Today notes.

The way AC designers see it, Millennials like a sleek design, free WiFi and communal eating and working areas. Each hotel will feature the AC Library, “offering wide communal tables for working and socializing along with locally relevant reading materials” as well as a lounge. Folks who aren’t staying at the hotel can even use the AC Library if they book space ahead of time on Marriott’s new Workspace on Demand.

Of course, other hoteliers are after that demographic as well, such as Starwood's Aloft, IHG's Hotel Indigo, and Tommie, which was announced by Commune Hotels & Resorts last week. "There are multiple brands that are capitalizing on the Millennial demand growth with smart design and advanced technology," Chekitan Dev, an associate professor at Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration, told USA Today. "This space is expected to grow."

In a bid to get ahead of the curve, Marriott recently announced that it is opening a 10,000-square-foot Innovation Lab below its Bethesda, M.D., headquarters. With the space, the company will “test for things such as the best positioning of a bed in a hotel room and the layout of a bathroom,” the Washington Business Journal reports.

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