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New Hilton brand won’t be millennial-focused
March 31 2014

Hilton Worldwide’s new lifestyle brand will appeal to a wide group of customers and will not focus solely on the millennial traveler, President and CEO Chris Nassetta said during the Hunter Conference.

  • Hilton will tailor its new lifestyle brand to appeal to a wide customer base.
  • “Millennials grow up,” Hilton’s Chris Nassetta said.
  • A second brand might also be in the cards for Hilton.
By Shawn A. Turner
HNN contributor

ATLANTA—Hilton Worldwide Holdings’ president and CEO Chris Nassetta last week drew back the veil a little more surrounding the company’s efforts to develop at least one new lifestyle brand. 
As it turns out, there might be more than one brand in the newly public company’s future.
As Nassetta discussed previously with Hotel News Now, a lifestyle product is definitely in the cards for Hilton, Nassetta said during an onstage Q-and-A session at the 26th annual Hunter Hotel Investment Conference. That new brand, though, is likely to be designed to appeal to a broad range of customers rather than being focused on the millennial traveler.
“Hampton has to appeal to a wide range,” for instance, Nassetta said. “They all have to. I think it’s misguided to think there is a silver bullet and there is a millennial brand that will solve any of a company’s problems.”
It’s misguided to try to develop a brand largely around just one generation of travelers because the desires of those travelers change as they age, he said.
“Millennials grow up,” Nassetta said. “What I wanted (at a younger age) and what I want now is completely different. 
“The millennials will grow up and that will happen quickly, over the next decade,” he said. “You can’t change that fast. You have to anticipate these things. You better anticipate where this is going.”
Nassetta acknowledged that there is a lot of fervor around catering to the millennial traveler.
“I read. I know there are views that there are millennial brands,” he said. “I just don’t agree with it. The lifestyle brand, when we eventually do it, we will have a different perspective. It will be a perspective that will try to capture a broader base of demand.”
Nassetta also hinted during the approximately half-hour session that Hilton, which oversees a portfolio of 4,100 hotels comprising 680,000 rooms, might add a second brand. He did not provide additional details, however, on what shape a second brand might take or the timeline for when an additional brand might be introduced.
“The future is about innovation and really focusing on giving our customer base more choice,” he said, adding, “It’s a big world and there’s a lot more for us to do.”
4/16/2014 8:02:00 AM
Totally agree with Will...the fundamentals that define the nature of travel/traveler needs, hasn't changed that much, nor has the fickleness, trend-oriented, "follower" ways of today's 20-somethings....its pretty much the same in mentality, just a different type of distribution, e.g. mobile devices, and MORE media to highlight something that like NAssata also agrees, will be a moving target since we all grow up...albeit today's times move faster. I think, the only truly (recent) "original" time of this age group, that also includes teens, is the late 60's..that period was truly much more seismic in its influence across a range of political, business, creative, family, social, music genres, education, etc. areas...
4/1/2014 1:02:00 PM
I agree, to think that an entire generation is going to stay in place and not grow or have their taste change is unrealistic. Mr. Nassetta is absolutley on point.
Ms. April Foolday
4/1/2014 11:39:00 AM
Don't the millennials all just couch-surf any way? ;0) I envision a hotel brand that is comprised of just a giant lobby with a foldout ezboy style recliner chairs with lots of outlets to plug things in on an attached table and an egg shaped flip over cover for the guest to put over their head when needing privacy or quiet - the proverbial cone of silence if you will- or google glass may make that unnecessary. In lieu of a bathroom there will be shower/toilet stalls in a row nearby that are the size of what you see on a cruise ship. Each millennial guest will be issued a skateboard at check in for transportation purposes or a hoverboard if it's a few years from now. Progress!
3/31/2014 1:07:00 PM
Mr. Nassetta is bang on -- segmentation by generation is short sighted and probably not valid anyway. Customer based segmentation (which is a refreshing change from product based segmentation) in this category really only works if it is needs based, and within the r realities of traveler needs, only an experiential base can be sustainably differentiating.
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