You can read the BASF article on Springwood’s Tru by Hilton Lancaster, PA HERE.
Central Penn Business Journal led with a comprehensive article about Springwood’s most recent accomplishment and the opening of the Tru by Hilton in York. You can read it HERE.
The Tru York, PA is only the sixth Tru by Hilton open in the world. Springwood’s Tru Lancaster, PA was the third. With six Tru by Hilton properties now open globally, at the moment (October 2017) Springwood Hospitality manages one-third of the global supply of all Tru by Hilton hotels.
The Highland Group has just issued the second quarter 2017 report on the US extended-stay lodging industry. Report highlights for extended-stay hotels:
- Fastest quarterly supply growth since 2009
- Strongest mid-year demand growth since 2010
- Fourth consecutive mid-year period with double-digit room revenue increase
- Sixth consecutive quarter of RevPar growth above 3%
- Rooms under construction up 22% over the past year
I find it interesting that with U.S. extended-stay hotel supply growing as fast as it did in 2009, revenue is STILL climbing at double-digit rates. That is simply phenomenal.
Most analysts expect the rate of increase to slow as a result of new supply. I feel this is realistic. But think about what this means: extended-stay RevPAR has reached new record-highs, and with this as the STARTING point, the rate of growth may decelerate. We’ll take that. It will achieve great results for our investors.
That’s why we remain optimistic about the near-term and mid-term future of our industry.
Hilton recently interviewed us for input on their new TRU brand. Springwood has been one of the pioneers of this brand, so that wasn’t surprising. Our answers may someday appear in some Hilton promotional material, but YOU can see all of them below. Enjoy!
- What have been the biggest challenges in the midscale segment and how do you think Tru by Hilton addresses them?
Inconsistency has plagued this segment for decades. Guests are forced to play “reservation roulette” when they book a mid-priced room, and that simply isn’t fair. Years ago we managed a beautiful Comfort Inn in our hometown, but business travelers were reluctant to book there due to in consistency of the brand nationwide. We’ve seen no such hesitancy with TRU.
- Why did you decide to invest in Tru by Hilton?
There were many corporate room nights that we were leaving to other brands, because their budgets didn’t permit them to pay the minimum room rates at our hotels. With the TRU brand, we can compete for – and win – that business. By doing so, we’ll build greater corporate-booking loyalty to our local team and properties.
- What motivated you to bring a Tru by Hilton to your city?
See #2. The other reason is that quality hotel development sites are difficult to obtain. Both of our TRU’s are developed on smaller sites that others tried to develop, but they could not lay out a conventional select-service hotel with adequate room count to achieve the necessary return on investment. TRU is so compact that we were able to successfully develop both sites and make the numbers work, without shrinking the number of guest rooms. TRU is a godsend for hotel developers who may have passed over smaller sites in healthy markets. Now those sites can make sense.
- What are you most looking forward to for the Grand Opening of your property?
Too late for that. The cake was really good.
- Insight from our current owners helped mold Tru by Hilton into a brand that was “engineered by hotel owners.” Keeping this in mind, what has it been like to do business with Hilton?
We are blessed to participate in the Owners’ Councils for several Hilton brands, and we know that Hilton appreciates and acts upon “bottom-up” feedback. We’ve seen it first-hand. We know, for instance, that the TRU concept initially had no king-sized beds. Owners spoke up, and before the first TRU ever broke ground, there were king beds in TRU’s. There are numerous examples of this bottom-up design with TRU. The same feedback system works for Hilton’s other brands, as well.
- What has been your experience with Tru by Hilton’s turnkey model?
There have been several teething issues, and Hilton is working to solve problems as they crop up. We suppose this is normal for a new brand; we’ve just never been bleeding-edge developers before.
- Tru by Hilton has been identified as a brand with the fastest-growing pipeline in industry history. Why do you think that is?
See #2 and #8.
- Where would you say Tru by Hilton fits in your portfolio? What does it add?
See #2. The surprise has been the enthusiastic response to the brand by millennial travelers. The input we receive from them is “over the top.” One seasoned millennial traveler we spoke with compared our TRU to an Aloft, which we personally never expected to hear, and he was dead serious. Another was so excited about the TRU common spaces that he told us, “I am going to look for a TRU wherever I travel.” We do not ever recall this strong a positive response to a new hotel brand, and initial guest response to Home2 Suites was very strong.
- After speaking with guests and hotel owners, it’s clear travelers in the midscale segment want consistency. Given this feedback, why do you think Tru by Hilton’s all new-build hotel model will be appealing to owners and guests?
Hilton knows how to run a consistent brand, and they will be “on their game” with TRU because the stakes are enormous. We don’t expect much slack from Hilton on quality – for us or for anyone else. That’s just the way it has to be for the brand to succeed.
Millennials are driving innovation in Hilton’s hotel portfolio. They’ve already overtaken Baby Boomers as the single biggest driver of hotel demand worldwide. FYI individuals born between 1982 and 2004 are considered to be Millennials; these folks are currently aged 13 to 35. They view the world differently.
Their preoccupation with smartphones leads them to put a premium on having fun and gathering with other real humans. As a bonus, having fun with humans makes a good backdrop for selfies. The philosophical shift from the Boomers’ “collecting things” mindset to the Millennials’ “collecting experiences” quest has been very good for the hotel industry. Experiences require travel, and this generation is travelling a lot more than their parents did. Despite the explosion in AirBNB bookings, the hotel industry is quite healthy, thank you.
Hilton is a market leader who has thoroughly researched this phenomenon and created two entirely new hotel brands designed to delight Millennials. Their Home2 Suites brand burst on the scene in 2009 (oops) and is now one of the fastest-growing brands in history. TRU by Hilton is their newest foray into Millennial segmentation. It’s a complete re-think of what a Millennial would like in a hotel, and it is on track to become THE fastest growing brand in the history of hotels. Both brands will disrupt the hotel market.
We’re opening the third TRU by Hilton in the world today, June 30, 2017. One Millennial who viewed these photos told me, “Wow, a Foosball table! I want to stay at a TRU.” That was easy. Some will have pool tables or ping pong tables – we opted for Foosball in our TRU’s. The lobby is designed as THE gathering place for food, for play, for working, or just for hanging out.
The rooms are more compact, but that’s simply because they’ve done away with the traditional big dresser and big soft chair. They’re replaced by a narrower wooden shelf (with wire drawers below) where the 55″ TV is placed, and a comfortable task chair with swinging arm to hold a tablet or a microwave meal. Both are smaller than what they’ve replaced, and that excess space has been squeezed out of the room. There’s no loss of walking space, and no loss of functionality. Genius.
Maybe best of all is the room rates. TRU is positioned in the market below a Hampton Inn & Suites, so guest stays at a TRU will cost less. Yes, it will create problems for LaQuinta, Comfort Inn, Wingate, and others. It will be fun to watch this brand soar.