Year Punctuated by Brand’s 20th Anniversary, Innovative Consumer Program and Growing Footprint
Homewood Suites by Hilton, the international brand of all-suite residential-style hotels is ending the year on a high note with a string of positive announcements, including its 20th anniversary, the opening of nearly 30 hotels and a continually growing development pipeline. The brand wraps up 2009 with a footprint of 286 hotels with 31,531 upscale suites throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico, and a development pipeline of more than 120 planned properties.
“We have been fortunate to continue the brand’s steady growth through a very challenging year,” said Bill Duncan, Global Head, Brand Management for Homewood Suites by Hilton. “Aside from the great brand-wide initiatives we celebrated, our success relies squarely with our individual hotels, which have remained focused on direct sales and providing exceptional service to every guest.”
While other hotel brands have cut back on guest amenities, Homewood Suites has enhanced its offering. The brand completed its Distinctly Homewood initiative, a five-year multi-phased product-improvement program designed to bring a greater sense of consistency across the system. This included the installation of granite countertops in kitchens and bathrooms, laminate wood flooring in suite foyers and kitchens, an upgraded bedding and linen package and enhanced in-room entertainment options.
Another Homewood Suites enhancement included the revamping of its complimentary “daily hot breakfast” and “evening meal with drinks” programs. The brand spent two years crafting and testing new menu items which were developed into 30-day rotational menus for hotels. As most Homewood Suites guests are on extended-stay trips, expanding the offerings provides additional choice. Some of the items include savory breakfast entrees such as the farmhouse frittata, lemony oregano hash browns, Canadian bacon and turkey sausages. Filling dinner items include slow-cooked BBQ beef brisket, rotisserie chicken, farm-raised tilapia, and an assortment of entrée salads. Additionally, most Homewood Suites properties serve beer and wine with the evening meal*. These complimentary meal programs provide substantial value to both business and leisure travelers looking to save money while on the road.
Guests benefited aesthetically with the introduction of the brand’s Homewood Is Where the Art Is program, which also rolled out in the spring. Every hotel in the system now displays at least one original piece of art from a local and/or regional artist whose work reflects one of four themes: home, travel, family or local essence. Artwork is diverse and includes oil and watercolor paintings, photography, mixed media, glass work and sculpture.
Homewood Suites is a strong supporter of literacy and childhood education initiatives, so in early 2009, it introduced the second in a series of children’s books, “Lewis Goes to Canada.” In this book, the brand mascot, Lewis the Duck, has his family join him on a business trip to Canada, where they visit iconic sites throughout the country, including the CN Tower, Parliament Hill, Niagara Falls and the Laurentian Mountains. This book and the original, “Lewis the Duck and His Long Trip,” are available system-wide in the brand’s Suite Shop convenience stores.
The brand continued to focus on generating awareness within the family/leisure segment with the fall launch of SuiteTrip.com – a microsite designed to provide useful tips and pointers for families who travel. The site is updated daily with informative posts from some of the top family travel bloggers.
On the development front, Homewood Suites opened nearly 30 new hotels in 2009, including three new joint-build projects in Silver Spring, Md. (Hampton), Hanover, Md. (Hilton Garden Inn), and Jacksonville, Fla. (Hilton Garden Inn). These projects provide developers a range of efficiencies in construction, staffing and maintenance, while allowing guests added choice and value. Homewood Suites plans to open an additional 20-25 properties in 2010, including the Q2 opening of its 300th hotel.
Complementing the brand’s impressive growth, Homewood Suites was honored with several industry awards, including:
“While it’s been a tough year for the hospitality industry, we’re wrapping up 2009 with an impressive list of accomplishments, a substantially larger geographic footprint and a renewed sense of excitement about our future,” said Duncan.
Source = Business Wire / Homewood Suites