Hotel companies are tripping over themselves to develop new concepts — called lifestyle brands — designed to lure Generation X travelers. This younger group is fast replacing baby boomers as the largest segment of business travelers, and they want casual and tech-friendly lodging, with 24-hour access to food and drinks. Meeting space, however, is not a priority.
Starwood's aloft brand, designed for secondary markets, will comprise newly constructed properties with 125 to 175 rooms and average daily rates of $100 to $125. Each will include a bar, food and beverage center, outdoor area serving light meals, fitness center with swimming pool, wireless Internet access, and flexible meeting and function space. Guest rooms will have nine-foot ceilings, oversized windows, a signature bed, a workspace with an MP3 docking station, and a flat-panel TV. Starwood is developing five alofts and plans to open the first in early 2007; plans call for 500 to be open by 2012.
Hotel Indigo brand hotels, which InterContinental Hotels Group debuted in 2004, feature guest rooms with hardwood floors, oversized beds, and spa-style showers; a restaurant and bar with health-conscious food and Starbucks coffee; and a “Phitness” studio. Three Indigos are open: one in Atlanta and two in the Chicago area.
Global Hyatt Corp. is retooling its newly acquired AmeriSuites chain into a product called Hyatt Place. The all-suite hotels will be outfitted with Hyatt's Grand Beds, a wet bar, and a soft sectional sofa. The Hyatt Place hotels will be equipped with control panels that allow guests to plug in MP3 players, DVD units, and computers and network with the 42-inch plasma TV. Food will be available all day, and the front desk will have a coffee/wine bar. The conversion will be completed late in 2006; Hyatt's goal is to have 400 open or under development by 2011.