Nancy Trejos, USA Today
LOS ANGELES—Hilton Worldwide is launching a new collection of independent hotels that will be known as Tapestry.
Tapestry Collection by Hilton marks the McLean, Va.-based company’s 14th brand and second collection, following its introduction of Curio in 2014.
Already, seven hotels have signed letters of intent to join Tapestry in these cities. Syracuse; Chicago; Nashville; Warren, N.J.; Hampton, Va; and Indianapolis. The company will announce the new brand today at the Americas Lodging Investment Conference here in Los Angeles.
Indianapolis has two properties that will be part of Tapestry. The first of all the Tapestry properties will convert by the third quarter of this year. Another 35 deals are in progress.
Tapestry is what the hotel industry calls a soft brand. In recent years, many major hotel companies have started them. They are collections of independent hotels that maintain their own names and leadership. But they abide by the standards of the parent company and take advantage of the loyalty programs, distribution channels and marketing.
Marriott Worldwide, which four months ago acquired Starwood Hotels and Resorts, now has three collections with that purchase—Autograph, Luxury and Tribute Portfolio. Choice has had Ascend for years. Hyatt last year created Unbound.
The benefit to a company like Hilton is to appeal to a customer who wants to stay at an independent hotel yet get the guarantee of having the backing of a major company if anything goes wrong. The customer can also earn and redeem Hilton Honors points. Hilton Honors has about 60 million members worldwide.
“It opens up a bigger pool of customers,” Hilton CEO Christopher Nassetta told USA TODAY.
Curio—A Collection by Hilton operates more than 30 upper upscale hotels in seven countries. Another 45 are in development around the world.
Mark Nogal, global head of Curio and Tapestry, says the goal is to have 50 Tapestry hotels by 2020. The strategy of the company is to identify existing hotels that could fit its standards, but Nogal says he is not opposed to new builds joining the collection.
Curio hotels are high end, in the four to five star-range—what the industry calls upper upscale.
Tapestry properties will reside in the three-star range—or upscale in industry parlance. Nassetta says they may have smaller rooms and fewer amenities but will still appeal to travelers looking for comfort, convenience and reliability.
“This is driven by what travelers want,” Nassetta says.
Nogal says there are about 15,000 independent upscale hotels around the world.
“We saw this as a great opportunity, what we call white space in the upscale category,” Nogal says. “It really lends itself to the growing trend of that independent traveler looking at that unique experience being on the road.”
Many hotel companies have been trying to grow by purchasing or merging with other companies. Marriott now has 30 brands with its acquisition of Starwood.
But Nassetta says he is more interested in growing organically, partly by creating new brands. Not only did Hilton launch Curio in the last two years, but it introduced the new Tru brand as well. It also started the Canopy brand.
“Our goal is to still grow organically,” Nassetta says. “I see no reason to change it if it’s working.”