Hilton has launched its 19th brand, Spark by Hilton, marking the company’s debut in the premium economy segment.
Bill Duncan, global head, all suites and focused service brands, Hilton, told Hotel Business that the brand has been in the planning stage for about a year. “Hilton is always looking for opportunities to do two things: to work with customers potentially we haven’t worked with before and serve them no matter where they travel around the world, any trip occasion and any need; and also to be able to grow our relationship with owners,” he said. “We’ve worked hard on that. In the last 15 years, we’ve almost doubled our brand portfolio organically.”
Spark by Hilton fits a niche that the company’s brands didn’t fill. “We started to see there was a hole in our ambition of serving every guest no matter where they traveled around the world, and it was something we really wanted to fill,” he said. “As we were growing and looking at this, we saw that this was the group we weren’t serving. It was really important—not only did they deserve to have a quality and consistent experience, but many of these customers will have the opportunity to build and grow their stays will Hilton up and into other brands.”
The brand is “designed to be simple, practical, a lot of fun,” said Duncan. “When I look at the name and the logo, it’s about this energy. It’s about this moment of ignition and this momentum. It’s designed to break through in this category.
He continued, “It is really about delivering, very proudly, a simple reliable comfortable stay at a price that is accessible.”
Duncan said that Spark, which is primarily a conversion brand, will have the following elements:
- Thoughtful simplicity: The brand will offer simple, inspired design with splashes of color and cheer that bring the outdoors in. Each hotel will provide a welcoming sense of arrival with colorful exterior statement walls and energizing artwork. The public space will feature multi-functional seating from communal tables to rocking chairs, offering plenty of options for guests to enjoy breakfast, socialize or work throughout the day. Guestrooms will be comfortable and relaxing so travelers can unwind and recharge for whatever comes next. Focusing on practical amenities, the simple, streamlined furniture will include an open closet, in-room refrigerator, multi-purpose work surface and bright bathroom.
- Reliable service: As part of the Hilton family of brands, guests will feel welcome and confident in their stay from the moment they walk through the door. Warm and inviting hotel team members with attention to detail will provide happy and helpful service. Guests will also be able to use 24-hour digital check-in and digital key.
- Unexpected touches: The brand will help add value to the guest experience by offering a simple, complimentary breakfast, featuring premium coffee, juice and a signature bagel bar with spreads. The brand will also offer a 24-hour retail market for on-the-go travelers.
- Consistent quality: To ensure the goal of a consistent, quality guest experience, each hotel will be required to complete a full renovation, encompassing all guest-facing areas of the hotel, prior to joining Spark by Hilton and the Hilton family.
The brand will target secondary and tertiary markets in the beginning. “We’re going to be very careful about existing Hilton brands,” he said. “We want to make sure that we are building hotels that are right for the types of stays and trip occasions and what the market is really focused on.”
Duncan reports that the company has already had a “significant” amount of interest from owners. “We have over 100 working deals in various phases,” he said.