IHG names new brand Atwell Suites

InterContinental Hotels Group will name its new all-suite,
upper-midscale brand Atwell Suites. IHG anticipates the brand will particularly
appeal to guests staying four to six nights. 

Heather Balsley, IHG’s senior vice president of global
marketing for its mainstream brands, said Atwell is targeting a guest segment
not being well-served in the industry today. 

“Right now, they are falling between the more full
amenities that an extended-stay brand offers and the more limited amenities of
a select-service brand,” she said. “We
are going to fill this need.”

Atwell’s king and double-queen studio suites are optimized
for longer stays, Balsley said, with distinct zones for living and sleeping.
However, IHG found that its target guest is not interested in cooking while
traveling, so suites won’t have full kitchens. They will have kitchenettes with
mini-refrigerators, microwaves and coffee machines. 

There will be a sleeping zone but no separate bedroom. 

“What [our target guest] told us is that while the
suite itself is important to them, they spend a lot of time out in the public
space, so we designed the public space to support their time working,
socializing and relaxing, and a more focused suite that is zoned and offers
great amenities but didn’t require a move to one-bedroom suites,” she
said. 

Calling Atwell’s target guests “opportunity seekers,”
Balsley said they have a “youthful spirit” and “tend to blend
work and life.” 

“They may go on a business trip and extend their stay a
few days to view part of country they’ve never seen before,” she said. 

Atwell’s public spaces are being designed as places where
guests can make connections and create their own environment with flexible
meeting spaces, including a meeting room integrated into the lobby, outdoor
space, huddle areas and co-working spaces. 

Every Atwell will offer what IHG calls a “Golden Hours”
food and beverage concept, with service at sunup and sundown. Atwell stays will
include a complimentary breakfast, and a bar in the lobby will serve drinks and
small plates at the end of the day. 

IHG said rooms will have seamless direct casting of
entertainment from guests’ personal devices to 55-inch TVs. Self check-in will
be offered at tablets near the front desk/bar area. 

During February’s Q4 earnings call, CEO Keith Barr said IHG
would launch an upper-midscale all-suite brand, telling investors that the
rollout is part of IHG’s strategy to “add new brands in underserved areas
of the market.” 

He estimated that the all-suite upper-midscale market has
grown by 70% in the Americas over the last four years. He called it an $18
billion segment.

“The Atwell Suites brand is tailor-made to meet the
significant demand in the upper-midscale segment for a new all-suites brand,”
he said this week. “As we focus on accelerating our growth, the brand will
further extend our leading position in the mainstream space.”

Suites brands in the upper-midscale sector include Marriott’s
TownePlace Suites, Hilton’s Home2Suites and Choice Hotels’ Comfort Suites,
according to STR’s 2018 Chain Scales. IHG’s Staybridge Suites and Candlewood
Suites are upscale and midscale brands, respectively.

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