At ALIS, Hilton launches new Tapestry Collection

LOS ANGELES - At last year's Americas Lodging Investment Summit, Hilton launched its Tru brand, which, as of September, had 120 executed agreements for agreements. As this year's conference gets underway, the company has announced the launch of yet another brand. The Tapestry Collection by Hilton is the 14th brand and second collection brand for Hilton, and will focus on including upscale hotels in the three- to four-star segment.  

"White Space" Opportunity

The Tapestry Collection by Hilton is positioned in the upscale segment just below Curio—A Collection by Hilton, which launched in 2014 and today operates more than 30 upper upscale hotels in seven countries with another 45 in the global development pipeline. Analyzing consumer feedback and data, Hilton found a "white space opportunity" in the upscale market segment, especially for a collection brand. While the company's Curio collection will continue to focus on the upper-upscale segment, the new soft brand will include upscale properties.

"We have learned a tremendous amount in the two and half years since we launched Curio," Mark Nogal, global head, Curio—A Collection by Hilton and Tapestry Collection by Hilton, told HOTEL MANAGEMENT.. "When we brought Curio online, we had owners who had other properties that didn’t fit. We enjoyed the conversation, but they weren’t right for Curio. We needed to fill a niche." 

According to Bobby Bowers, SVP of operations for industry research firm STR, the supply of independent properties in the upscale market is estimated to be more than 15,000 hotels globally. "We’re not looking for all 15,000," Nogal said. "We’re looking for those hotels that are complimentary to what our guests are looking for, our opportunities to drive business and to partner with owners that we can have a great relationship with. It’s a great way for us to attract more customers to our organization, especially for people looking for an independent travel experience."  


"Soft" Growth

In selecting hotels for the new portfolio, Nogal said, Hilton will consider a range of factors, from a hotel's physical aesthetic to its current TripAdvisor rating and social media presence. The company, he explained, wanted to make sure they were partnering with properties that will represent the brand well. "The standards as you would have in a soft-branded property are relaxed from what you would have in hard brands," he said. "We look for independent hotels to maintain their identity. The Tapestry and Hilton names will be complementary elements to give validation to the properties rather than being dominant.

Seven hotels have signed letters of intent with the collection in the following cities: Syracuse, N.Y.; Chicago, Ill.; Nashville, Tenn.; Warren, N.J.; Hampton, Va., and two in Indianapolis, Ind. The collection has an additional 35 deals in process, with the first property expected to convert to Tapestry Collection by the third quarter 2017. 

"The key for this brand is conversion opportunities," Nogal said, noting that Tapestry's numbers in its first year will be determined by the overall condition of existing properties—"if they need to do a PIP or if they're ready to partner as-is. We’re actively talking to more folks. Being here at ALIS this week, we know that the pipeline will grow."

For now, Tapestry will be limited to the Americas, Nogal said, but it could go global in time. "When you launch a brand, it gives us a chance to gather feedback and make adjustments," he said. "We’re looking to add to it when the timing is correct." 

Hilton has launched several brands in the past decade including Home2 Suites by Hilton in 2009, Curio—A Collection by Hilton in 2014, Canopy by Hilton in 2014 and Tru by Hilton in 2016. Combined, they have added 20,000 rooms to the Hilton footprint, with another 66,000 in the pipeline.