Hilton has come up with another new brand to add into their portfolio. Maybe it is because they have hit a snag with the lawsuits related to the Denizen brand, or maybe it is because they are just thinking irrationally, but they have decided to make a change to one of their longer established brands – Embassy Suites. The appeal of Embassy Suites properties has always been that they are actually suites. Two rooms, with walls and a door to separate them. Plus free breakfast every morning and the Manager’s Reception happy hour on weeknights. But the brand name has the word “suites” in it. There isn’t a lot of wiggle room there. Or is there?
Apparently Jim Holthouser, brand manager for the Embassy Suites brand within Hilton’s corporate structure, feels that having that extra room in each suite is actually pushing business travelers away. "For years, customers have told us, ‘We love Embassy Suites with family. But for business? Not sure I quite need that’," is his take on the situation. Apparently business customers have actually been calling up Hilton’s corporate offices and telling them that they don’t want more space.
Yeah, we’re really supposed to believe that.
Even worse, somehow the folks at Hilton convinced USAToday to write their article on the change using that exact theme as the leader as though it much be fact because they said it was:
Ever driven past an Embassy Suites hotel because its two-room suites were too spacious for you and your laptop?
Embassy Suites execs think it’s time to fix that. They’re rolling out a one-room version of the chain’s standard, two-room suite for travelers who don’t need – or want – the extra space. It’s the first major room change since the chain was founded in 1984 aimed squarely at road warriors.
If the folks at Embassy Suites really want to focus on the bits that are probably driving business travelers away they should probably consider that their properties are generally located in tourist districts more than business districts and are frequently filled with families that want that second room for the kids and the free breakfast every day. So there are kids running around all over the place (in my experience, at least) and it can be pretty loud. At least they have a restaurant and room service at most properties.
The one room “suites” will only be an option for 20% of the rooms at any given property and they are actually only about 20% smaller than the regular suites, so it isn’t too much of a loss of space. Though the reasoning and justification are certainly specious at best. In the mean time, look for the new “suites” opening up in Buffalo, NY; Louisville, KY and St. Louis, MO in the coming months.
Read Lucky’s take on the story here. More objective than the USAToday bit by a long stretch.
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