INTERCONTINENTAL HOTELS GROUP’S recently launched upper-midscale brand Atwell Suites is now available for franchising. The company said it is targeting an estimated $18 billion industry segment that has grown 70 percent over the last four years.
Atwell Suites was launched in May as a response to research into guest needs that showed a demand for memorable experiences combined with “right-sized amenities” that fall between those offered by traditional extended stay and traditional select service hotels. It also is intended to provide IHG owners with a brand they can bring to local markets, IHG officials said at the time.
“We used extensive consumer research and insights, as well as close collaboration with our existing owners, to create Atwell Suites as a unique brand that is both efficient for owners and inspiring for guests,” said IHG Vice President for Atwell Suites Jennifer Gribble in announcing the franchising sales efforts.
Initial development of the brand is focused on the U.S. and will be predominantly new-build following a prototypical design, with conversions also being considered on a case-by-case basis. The target build cost is between $105,000 to $115,000 per key, not including the cost of the approximately two acres of land the average site is expected to use.
Franchisees will be charged 5 percent royalty fees and a 4.75 percent loyalty rate. Franchisees who sign before March 2021 will be eligible for a 2 percent discount on royalties in the first year and a 1 percent royalties discount in the second year.
IHG said it has received more than 50 expressions of interest in franchising the new brand and it expects the first Atwell Suites properties to begin construction early next year.
“The Atwell Suites brand is tailor-made to meet the significant demand in the upper-midscale segment for a new all-suites brand,” said IHG CEO Keith Barr when the brand was launched.
Atwell Suites will join IHG’s all-suites brand family that includes Staybridge and Candlewood. The creation of the brand was driven by research into guest needs that showed a demand for memorable experiences combined with “right-sized amenities” that fall between those offered by traditional extended stay and traditional select service hotels. It also seeks to provide IHG owners with a brand they can bring to local markets.
The hotels will offer all-studio suites divided into zones for living and sleeping. The suites will include a kitchenette with counter-height refrigerator, microwave, coffeemaker and sink, as well as a work area, a pullout sofa and an oversized vanity in the bathroom. The closet will be accessible from both the guestroom and the bathroom.
The new brand also will focus on providing more public spaces where guests can create their own environments for work and/or socializing. A “Golden Hours” food service will include a complimentary hot breakfast with some cold, grab-and-go options and premium coffee. A bar in the lobby will serve small plates paired with a drink menu.