The youth market has yet another suitor. Hilton Worldwide has plenty of hotel brands under its umbrella—a dozen in fact, encompassing 4,500 locations worldwide at the Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, Embassy Suites and other properties—but it’s hoping that #13 will appeal to millennials as a “revolutionary midscale brand.” But not just millennials, but those with “a millennial mindset.”
Unveiled on Monday, Tru by Hilton will launch by year’s end with 102 hotel properties; 30 more locations are in the process of being approved in cities such as Atlanta, Houston and Chicago. Hilton CEO Christopher Nassetta predicts to USA Today that the brand could be Hilton’s biggest over time.
— Tru by Hilton (@TrubyHilton) January 25, 2016
It’s certainly its boldest brand. What differentiates Tru from its Hilton siblings and competitors?
Tru by Hilton is a category disrupter. It’s built from a belief that being cost conscious and having a great stay don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Tru focuses on what matters most to guests, with a hotel that is more than just a place to sleep, it’s a true travel experience.
With lower upfront investment costs, a stringent focus on operational efficiency and simplicity, and a focus on those things most highly valued by guests, this all-new-build, franchise-only brand is designed to be easy to build, operate and maintain and to appeal to millions of consumers who feel they have to compromise between price and a quality experience. Not any more!
By creating an original, back-to-basics experience with soul – grounded in value and anchored in the DNA of Hilton – we will win the hearts and minds of guests who are looking for social engagement, unexpected certainty and vibrant simplicity.
As for the target audience, Hilton states that it’s young at heart, without only appealing to the young in age: “We created Tru to attract a broad spectrum of leisure and business guests who span generations—millennials, gen-Xers, boomers—all united by a common mindset. We call this a ‘millennial mindset.’ They share a youthful energy and a zest for life. They have a desire to connect with others and want to be part of something bigger than themselves.”
“We have a very large swath of demand that indexes very young, and we’re not serving it,” Nassetta explained to USA Today. “There’s an opportunity to build a new brand—if we do it right—that will drive huge demand.”
As for its brand positioning, Hilton states:
We think differently.
In this crazy world of ever-present technologies and never-ending globalization, we understand that while connecting has never been easier, staying close has never been harder. So we bring people together in newfangled ways.
People are our heart and soul.
We embody, serve, and celebrate the spark of the human spirit. So when our guests return our smiles, trade stories with each other, or simply share a common vibe, it makes us want to raise a glass and say, here’s to you, dear guest. Our place is your place. It’s simplified, spirited, and grounded in value.
So come in. Be alone, socially alone, or engaged with others. Live quietly. Enjoy serenity. Or live life with abandon and share your joy.
Tru’s three brand pillars:
We’re making decisions that are cost-effective to build, operate and maintain, and translate to an intuitive, effortless, efficient experience for our guests.
We’re embracing travelers’ desire for human connection, creating an experience that is playful, energetic, and engaging – a sense of place unlike anything in our space.
GROUNDED IN VALUE
We’re championing the value-conscious traveler with better basics served up in a fresh, consistent, and surprisingly affordable way.
Because when we create a hotel that connects people, we change what it means to be a hotel. We create a place that makes you stop and smile and stay awhile and think, yes, this is Tru.
The pricing is inspired by its own research showing midscale hotels command 40% of the demand for hotel rooms, Tru’s rates will be in the USD $90 to $100 range at launch, although the Associated Press hears its rates could be as low as $75 to $90 in some markets. At any (room) rate, Tru represents Hilton’s attempt to combat rival brands as La Quinta, Fairfield Inn and Comfort Inn.
As the video “fly-through” promoting Tru points out, it has been designed to create a public workspace for people to get their work done while meeting like-minded people. It also has a “play” space that features drinks and foosball (a requirement for any millennial-targeted entity) and plenty of free Wi-Fi.
Complimentary breakfasts and the sale of local snacks and drinks will also be nods to millennial interests and budgets. Each room will have 65-inch TVs. Plus, of course, an abundance of social media and networking opportunities.
“Get them loyal to our system,” Nassetta told the AP, echoing all the other brand leaders who are going after the youthful market, “and trade up as they move on in their lives.”
Take a closer look below: