New HomeTowne Studios prototype takes aim at efficiency

DALLAS—Red Roof has debuted a new prototype for its HomeTowne Studios by Red Roof brand that highlights efficiency and design.

Unveiled at this week’s AAHOA convention, the prototype features modern room design, a cost-effective development footprint and a layout that “sets new standards for improved operational efficiency,” according to the company.

Interim President George Limbert said maximizing space was one of the goals of the redesign, based on operator feedback about what guests really used and what they didn’t. COVID-19 also affected the direction of the design, as well as the labor shortage that was already starting to take hold when the redesign process began.

“We knew that with the labor shortages that were going on that it was even more important to ensure operational efficiency,” he said. “For example, we put the laundry room directly behind the lobby so that you can have a front desk clerk double up and do laundry when they're waiting around. We also removed some of the harder-to-reach cabinetry in order to make it easier to clean.

“We made it more operationally efficient but it’s still a good guest experience.”

One addition to the prototype is the large amount of storage, with cubbies available under and next to the bed, in bathrooms and in the kitchenette. The new HomeTowne Studios also offers a more functional layout for public areas, with onsite offices and laundry rooms located near guestrooms, securable for after hours.

Technology is another area that Red Roof is focusing on in its quest to make developers and guests happy.

“We will be looking at kiosks very keenly,” Limbert said. “We have designed our lobby to be kiosk friendly in order to help limit the hours at the front desk so that a guest who comes in after hours can check in through the kiosk.”

Outdoor space is an optional add-on, such as a firepit area, based on the needs of the market, Limbert said.

“It's a nice experience for guests sit outside,” he said. “Pre-COVID As you know the hotels were really going toward this kind of common area, common tables, so it's a good opportunity to meet different people from different places.”

The new prototype requires only six employees to operate each location. It has 124 rooms but can be scaled larger or smaller depending on lot size and demand.

“If there's an interest to have bigger square footage in the rooms, if there's an interest to have a larger lobby, all of that is a possibility within the prototype,” Limbert said. “If the market says that maybe less rooms are more appropriate or the footprint of the land is an issue it can be scaled down.”

There are 61 HomeTowne Suites open, and the first with the new prototype is expected to open early next year in Tampa, Fla. Average cost per key is still being finalized but it is lower than the previous prototype, according to Limbert.

“It is no secret that Red Roof puts guests and franchise owners first,'' he said. “The new HomeTowne Studios prototype is a testament to those commitments and the culmination of many hours spent listening to the needs of the franchise community and partnering with them to come up with new concepts to create unprecedented value. As we unveil the concept at AAHOACON 2021, we invite the industry to join us for a look at the future of hotel franchising—a new kind of economy extended-stay product for a new era in hospitality.”