International hotelier Hilton is planning a new brand designed to jump on the bandwagon for individualized and upscale hotels and has agreements to create two in Indianapolis.
Named Tapestry Collection by Hilton, the brand has letters of intent to open seven hotels in six cities, with two set for Indianapolis. The other cities are Chicago; Syracuse, New York; Nashville, Tennessee; Warren, New Jersey; and Hampton, Virginia.
Hilton officials declined to identify the locations of the two local properties, saying the agreements had not yet been finalized. The primary focus for the brand is to convert existing independent hotels, according to a Hilton spokesman.
Thirty-five other deals are in progress, Hilton said in a statement Monday. The first Tapestry site is expected to open by the third quarter of this year, with a goal of 50 by 2020.
Tapestry is the second so-called “soft brand” that Hilton has developed, following Curio, a Collection by Hilton, in 2014. Under soft brands, individual hotels have their own name and image apart from the corporate manager or franchiser.
Soft brands typically involve converting an existing hotel, such as boutique properties that want to maintain their own identity but rely on a global reservations system, frequent-guest program and sometimes management expertise.
The brand “will enable us to provide the best of both worlds to travelers who are looking for an independent hotel experience but also want the consistency and reassurance they expect from Hilton,” said Hilton CEO Christopher J. Nassetta in a prepared statement.
Tapestry is Hilton’s fifth new hotel brand since 2009 in the latest bid by the world’s second-largest lodging operator to increase earnings by franchising properties.
Its newest brands include Home2 Suites by Hilton (introduced in 2009), Curio – A Collection by Hilton (2014), Canopy by Hilton (2014) and Tru by Hilton (2016). Combined, they have added 20,000 rooms to the Hilton footprint, with another 66,000 in the pipeline.
Tapestry hotels are expected to feel like one-of-a-kind, independent hotels, each with distinctive elements relating to their location.
Hilton, set to be 25 percent owned by China’s HNA Group later this quarter, had its “best year ever” last year and there are signs that business travel, which accounts for about 75 percent of total guests, is improving, Nassetta said in a Bloomberg Television interview Wednesday from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
He said that Hilton sees potential for an urban micro-hotel brand and is “incubating” five brands for introduction after 2017.
“It’s about organic growth,” Mark Nogal, global head of Hilton’s Tapestry and Curio brands, said in a phone interview.