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Hilton Targets Millennials with New Brand, Tru by Hilton

This week, Hilton revealed the newest addition to its brand arsenal with Tru by Hilton, a so-called “revolutionary midscale brand.” While it bills itself as filling a void in the midscale hotel category , it comes across more like a way of competing with boutique hotels and shared accommodation platforms such as Airbnb.

The brand’s target market is those with a “millennial mindset.” As a millennial myself, I can’t picture my parents wanting to stay there, but I would totally book a stay at one of these hotels based on the renderings below—depending on location and price, of course.

hilton tru 1

How Millennials Are Changing the Way Hotels Cater to Travelers

Location and price (i.e., what you get for your money) are the two factors that drive most millennials’ travel decisions (and, let’s be honest, most people of any generation). If Hilton can deliver on its urban location/mid-range price promise without adding in ridiculous fees (say, by not charging for Wi-Fi or water), I might be on board. Here’s a look at some of what Tru by Hilton promises, via press release:

  • “The Hive, a first floor experience that’s more than a lobby—2,770 square-feet of open space with unique ways for guests to engage with others or spend time alone—in one of four distinct zones for lounging, working, eating or playing.” This seems a little hostel-like to me, but I get it: It’s something that many millennials are looking for in shared accommodations. Not a necessity for me, but a nice touch.
  • “A centrally located Command Center, a re-envisioned front desk—featuring a social media wall with real-time content to foster engagement among guests, and a 24/7 market offering fun snacks and refreshments, single-serve wine and beer, healthy light meal options and sundries for purchase.” The self-serve aspect and 24/7 availability is great for travelers. It would be nice to see some sort of social media campaign with destination guides and a program that would connect guests with local hosts or a group activity.
  • “A complimentary ‘Build Your Own’ breakfast consisting of a toppings bar with 30 sweet and savory items allowing guests to customize bagels, donuts, Greek yogurt, and oatmeal to satisfy their taste buds and cravings.” They had me at Greek yogurt … as long as this doesn’t stop before 11:00 a.m.
  • “A technology-forward mentality featuring segment-leading complimentary Wi-Fi bandwidth allowing guests to download and stream content on their devices, plentiful power sources, and mobile check-in, room selection and Digital Key available through the Hilton HHonors mobile app.” Woo! Free Wi-Fi! Also, not having to deal with a person while checking in fresh off a flight is great, as long as the technology is reliable. It would be even better if flexible check-in were an option.
  • “A collaboration with DIRECTV, offering guests more than 150 channels, like they have at home.” I don’t know a single person my age who has DIRECTV. I would rather see complimentary use of Netflix, Hulu, HBO GO, or Amazon Prime. Or even just a Smart TV where I can sign into those accounts.

hitlon tru 2
The minimalist design pairs nicely with the room and bathroom layout, all of which look extremely appealing to me. The lobby, gym, and “hangout areas” look simple and offer great amenities, too.

Currently there are 102 hotels signed throughout the U.S. and Canada, with another 30 in different development stages in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Denver, Portland, and Nashville (how millennial of you, Hilton). According to the press release, Tru by Hilton will be suitable for urban, suburban, highway, and airport locations, with the first hotel to open by the end of 2016 in an undisclosed location.

The brand will also participate in the Hilton HHonors program (perhaps this is its way of being “cross-generational”) and will be the 13th brand within the Hilton Worldwide group. Tru comes just after Hilton launched the brand Canopy last year, which also aspires to cater to millennials but has yet to open any of its locations.

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Ashley Rossi is always ready for her next trip. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram for more advice on travel hacks and destination ideas.

(Photos: 2016 Hilton Worldwide)

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