AIMING TO MEET what its research shows to be an unmet, $18 billion market, InterContinental Hotels Group has launched a new upper-midscale hotel brand called Atwell Suites. At the same time, the company has released new design prototypes for its Holiday Inn, Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites brands.
Both announcements came out of IHG’s Americas Investors & Leadership Conference being held this week in Las Vegas.
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 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, who had hinted at the company’s plan to launch a new all-suites upper midscale brand in February. “Our newest offer gives owners and guests something different to what’s out there today – a stylish suite with the flex for guests to work, socialize or explore over a four-to-six-night stay.”
Atwell Suites 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.
The suites will feature the IHG Studio casting service and 55-inch TVs. Self check-in will be offered at tablets near the front desk and bar areas.
“This highly anticipated new offering is a strong follow up to the successful rollout of avid hotels, the fastest brand launch in our history,” said IHG CEO for the Americas Elie Maalouf.
Atwell Suites properties will be efficient to build, operate and maintain, IHG said. The company expects the Atwell Suites brand to be franchise-ready in the fall of 2019 with the first hotels beginning construction in 2020 and opening in 2021. Initial development will be focused in the U.S. market and the brand will be new-build led following a prototypical design.
The initial owner offer will include a target build cost between $105,000 to $115,000 per key (excluding land costs), with estimated site size of two acres. The company will charge a 5 percent royalty fee, but the first 100 to sign license agreements will qualify for a 2 percent fee discount in first year a 1 percent discount in the second year.
The new Holiday Inn, Staybridge and Candlewood prototypes also resulted from extensive research into guests’ desires. They include similar features to the Atwell design, such as a focus on flexible public space and F&B options, including multiple restaurant options.
“We are continually evolving and investing in our brands, and at the center of our latest enhancements sits extensive customer research and close collaboration with our owners” said Heather Balsley, IHG’s senior vice president for global marketing mainstream brands. “This is crucial to delivering brand experiences that fit the ever-evolving needs of mainstream travelers and drive performance for our hotel owners.”
Holiday Inn’s prototype is called H4 after its H4 Design that was launched in 2017. The Staybridge prototype, Generation 7.0, features suites divided into zones like Atwell. Candlewood’s new Beacon 4.0 prototype, will come with a new logo when it rolls out in December. It also features larger windows for more natural light, an open designed lobby and recliners in each suite.
IHG’s announcement is the latest in a series of brand updates my major companies this year. In February, G6 Hospitality announced a new design for Motel 6/ Studio 6 dual-brands. In March, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts introduced its new “Moda” prototype for its Microtel by Wyndham brand. And earlier this month Choice Hotels International marked its 80th anniversary during its 65th annual convention in Las Vegas by announcing new logos for four of the company’s midscale brands: Quality Inn, Clarion, Sleep Inn, and MainStay Suites.