MCLEAN, VA.—Last year was undoubtedly one of the worst years in the history of the lodging industry but that bad year saw the continuation of one of the industry’s most notable success stories—Hilton’s Home2 Suites extended stay brand. Designed with “sustainability being a key pillar,” according to Global Brand Head Leonard Gooz, this year marks the tenth anniversary of the brand. As of December 31, 2020, there were 463 open and 409 in the pipeline. According to Hilton, the 500th Home2 Suites is expected to open by the end of this quarter.
STR says Home2 Suites saw the most supply growth industry-wide of any brand in the United States last year, with nearly 80 openings. STR adds the brand has the largest development pipeline industry-wide in North America.
Lodging Econometrics named Home2 Suites the No. 1 brand in terms of hotels in the construction pipeline, and with the most openings last year.
On top of that growth, Hilton’s partner in China, Country Garden, has committed to develop 1,000 Home2 Suites. The first Home2 Suites there will open in the third quarter this year. “We are seeing in China the rise of the middle class,” Gooz says. “The amenities we are offering are highly appealing.” By 2030 the brand may have 2,000 hotels worldwide.
“About two out of 10 have a dual-brand component,” Gooz says. “It has become a proposition for certain markets. The most common combination is with Tru by Hilton.” There are 32 dual-branded Home2 Suites hotels open and 69 in the pipeline.
Many Upsides to Extended-Stay Brand
According to Gooz, there is much about the brand to like. Some of those attributes have to do with sustainability, some do not.
“We are seeing more and more travelers who are interested in a brand that has sustainability embedded,” Gooz says. “Sustainability has become much more important.”
The list of Home2 Suites’ green touches is long. One of the brand’s green showpieces is the LEED Platinum Home2 Suites by Hilton Silver Spring. (See article on Green Lodging News.) Developers have flexibility regarding LEED and the extent to which to take sustainability. The Silver Spring property, for example, has a 124.8-kilowatt solar system.
The following are some of the sustainable features one will find at every Home2 Suites:
- The countertops in the Oasis community space are made of 85 percent pre-recycled and 100 post-recycled content, as well as the Humanscale desk chair made of 98 percent recycled product.
- The landscaping includes indigenous-only plants that significantly minimizes water usage and irrigation needs.
- Home2 Suites properties that offers pools as an amenity feature eco-friendly saline pools.
- Home2 Suites has partnered with Clean the World, the world’s largest organization to recycle hotel soap and bath amenities.
- Guest suites feature low-flow showers and faucets, LED lighting, biodegradable food trays, recycled flooring and carpet tiles (carpeting contains 60 percent recycled content) and Energy Star appliances.
- Home2 Suites incorporates Hilton’s LightStay system, which measures energy use, water consumption, waste and carbon output to help minimize the environmental impact of each property.
- Appliances are highly efficient.
- Real glass and chinaware are used.
“We have a strong recycling program in place,” Gooz says. “The bulk amenities have been well received.”
“Hilton has been very committed to sustainability with its 2030 goals,” Gooz adds. (See recent Hilton 2020 ESG Report article.)
Home2 Suites is also about efficiency. For example, a combined laundry and fitness area, Spin2 Cycle, allows for multitasking. Getting into the head of the customer and what they want is key.
“Everything we approach we approach through the lens of our customers,”
Gooz says. From a customer point of view, it has to do with the spacious suites and the way they are designed. The rooms are very functional. All suites come with fully equipped kitchens. The Oasis is an expanded community space that provides common areas for social gathering as well as communal and individual work and meeting zones. Within the Oasis is the Home2 Mkt, stocked with convenient items and the Home2 Suites by Hilton complimentary breakfast at the Inspired Table. Each hotel has an attractive courtyard area and fire pit. The brand is geared toward creating a sense of home.
For developers, Gooz says Hilton has made it easy to build a Home2 Suites. “For some it is their first entry into the franchise business,” he says. “You need less than 2 acres. You have a steady base of 50 percent occupancy taken care of. Given the extended-stay model, you have fewer guests checking in and checking out. You have a little better premiums and efficient cost to renovate metrics.”
The extended-stay niche has performed well compared to the rest of the industry during the pandemic.
“Our extended stay category shone this past year. With distribution across the United States, we were able to meet the needs of our guests on the road,” said Bill Duncan, Global Category Head, focused service and all-suites brands, Hilton.
Glenn Hasek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.