HM Exclusive: How La Quinta is attracting a new demographic

It’s been nearly six years since Wyndham Hotels & Resorts acquired the midscale La Quinta brand, and as the flag gains ground in new markets, it is finding ways to capture the ever-growing business travel demographic—including a new campaign for the holidays.

Del Sol and Target Demographics

One of the brand’s biggest changes came in 2014 with the launch of the Del Sol prototype. “That prototype is not just a concept,” La Quinta President Krishna Paliwal said. “That prototype has opened hotels—over 150 open hotels across the United States.” Since Wyndham acquired the brand in 2018, he added, the company has opened more than 100 Del Sol hotels. “The Del Sol prototype provides a big, strong curb appeal,” Paliwal noted. “People will recognize the architecture of it, the geometry of it, the prominence of it.” Del Sol “really put La Quinta into the map,” he added. 

The prototype’s 500-square-foot fitness room particularly appeals to business guests, he added, and helped shift the brand’s target demographic. “They want to go in the morning or in the evening, depending on their schedule,” Paliwal said. “They want to make sure that their normal-life routine continues.” The brand uses fitness equipment from Precor, acquired in 2021 from Peloton. “The idea is to provide our business guests a very good space where they can relax, they can energize and they can start the day,” Paliwal said. 

More than 150 hotels have updated to the Del Sol prototype, and Paliwal said Wyndham has earmarked more than $35 million to help owners complete their own property improvement plans through the LQUp Incentive Program. Ultimately, Paliwal said, the prototype was designed to attract “the high-paying white-collar as well as gray-collar business guests who are our everyday travelers.” 

The La Quinta team recently conducted research to better understand their target guests, said Carolina Matias-Perez, La Quinta’s senior director of marketing. “They are your midlevel professional … they are the traveling salesperson, the government employee, the engineer at a construction site, the traveling nurse. They are very much business travelers, but they're not likely wearing a tie.” 

While the brand’s leadership had traditionally targeted travelers in the 35 to 55 age range, their research found that many of the actual guests at La Quinta hotels and its competitive set were about 10 years younger—“which, for a marketer, is a dream come true,” she added. Paliwal noted that younger professionals are also traveling more in the wake of the Biden administration's Infrastructure Bill, which earmarks $110 billion in funding to repair roads and bridges and billions more for airports and rail.

While La Quinta was largely a domestic brand before the acquisition, it has expanded internationally in the years since. Of the brand’s 925 hotels, 20 are outside of the U.S. “Our presidents of [Europe, Middle East and Africa]; Asia-Pacific; and Latin America have done a phenomenal job of taking La Quinta to the world map,” Paliwal said. The brand now has “really upscale” hotels in China, new properties in New Zealand and Turkey and has made its Dubai debut. 

New Campaign

La Quinta’s latest campaign to capture that demographic’s attention is the Holiday Hype Machine, a personalized video-sharing platform that lets users create and share custom “hype-up” messages. “It's really intended to give you that hype that you need to push through and get through the holiday season, get done with business—get it all out so that you can really enjoy the holidays,” Matias-Perez said.

Sterling Shepard for La Quinta

Visitors to the microsite can send free, personalized, hype video messages from New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard. “He had to sit out last season due to an injury and became known as his team's hype man,” Matias-Perez explained. “We wanted to borrow that and use it to help us sort of hype up our La Quinta upper-midscale business traveler with messages to get them really excited to knock out those last minute to-dos and that last minute travel before the holidays.” 

The Holiday Hype Machine will be active on La Quinta’s site through the end of the year.