It’s known that Hilton needs more brands to compete, but weaving this particular “soft brand” into the fold feels a bit like it’s more of a blanket statement kind of brand. then one with identity.
Hilton’s big move of 2017 is debuting its newest brand: Tapestry by Hilton.
The soft-brand collection marks Hilton’s 14th brand. It will initially debut with properties in8 cities. Syracuse, New York, Chicago, Nashville, Warren, New Jersey, Hampton and Indianapolis. Hilton didn’t disclose the names of those properties as of press time. The first Tapestry Collection hotel is expected to complete its conversion by the third quarter of this year.
The decision to add another brand to Hilton’s portfolio was motivated by consumer and owner feedback. Also a desire to appeal to younger consumers.
For certain trip occasions, people want something at this three to four-stars price. Point that’s something more unique. It’s not a hard brand in the sense that it relates more to its local environment.
THE SOFT BRAND CONCEPT
Tapestry Collection by Hilton, unlike a “hard” hotel brand like Hilton or Tru by Hilton, is meant to be a little undefined. Not necessarily beholden to the same strict brand standards as those aforementioned Hilton brands. Tapestry, Hilton’s other soft brand collection, is designed to appeal to independent hotel owners who yearn for access to Hilton’s more than 50 million Hilton HHonors members and its global distribution network.
There are about 15,000 independent upscale hotels around the world.
That’s a lot of properties not affiliated with any major brand. Those owners are looking for an opportunity to associate with a bigger brand to get recognition.
News of this new brand shouldn’t be that much of a surprise to industry watchers. At Hilton’s December Investor Day, the company outlined five new brand concepts.
Economic pros and cons of soft brand collections are fairly straight forward.
They’re designed to be a win-win for both hotel management companies and independent hotel owners.
What kind of experience will Tapestry Collection deliver?
Perhaps the biggest challenge Tapestry will have as it enters this crowded space is whether it can be distinguishable enough to stand out and to appeal to owners and customers alike.
From the initial outset, Tapestry Collection’s brand positioning may not seem so clear , but maybe that’s what Hilton wants. At least from a soft brand.
Each of these hotels will be an individual, one-of-a-kind hotel. The Tapestry name came to the top because it can be associated with independent traveler looking to have a great experience.
The problem is that so many of these brands and their brand standards are, in some ways, starting to blur. And not every hotel guest is well versed in the differences. But also guests who stay in these hotels are used to certain things. The brand standards are going to blur. With soft brands it’s going to be harder.
Going forward, Hilton will also have to be careful to ensure Tapestry doesn’t target same guests as its other brands.
If Hilton’s initial promotional images for Tapestry Collection are any indication of the brand’s distinguishing features, it’s clear this is a soft brand targeted toward a more contemporary demographic. Think guys in suits on skateboards, a young couples, a Millennial with headphones wrapped around his neck, or a chic woman.
Hilton will be investing heavily into digital marketing, making sure whatever campaigns are released emphasize “the independent nature of the properties”. While also leveraging the Tapestry Collection name and Hilton’s credibility.
The ultimate success of Tapestry Collection will be measured in the number of independent owners whom Hilton can sign contracts with. And whether Hilton can deliver the guests.