Sleep Inn relaunch tries for flexibility, fresh design
Sleep Inn relaunch tries for flexibility, fresh design
31 OCTOBER 2017 7:27 AM

With the relaunch of its prototype, Sleep Inn offers owners and operators a modern style and a hotel design that’s cost-effective to build. 

ROCKVILLE, Maryland—Choice Hotels International’s Sleep Inn brand, which has been around since 1989, has in recent years been repositioned as a midscale offering with affordable style.

Anne Smith, VP of brand management and design at Choice Hotels International, said there’s a lot of momentum behind Sleep Inn, with much of the focus on transforming the brand and “getting all of our properties over to the ‘design to dream’ (style).”

“Sleep Inn’s always been new construction. Every Sleep that’s out there today was a purpose-built Sleep, and we’ve seen the results of this transformation,” Smith said. “We’ve had segment-beating (revenue per available room) growth; we’ve outpaced competitive sets …. Now we’re really focused on making sure that more and more owners know about what a great solid investment Sleep can be and what a great addition it can be to their portfolio, and it’s starting to show up in our pipeline.”

The brand has a pipeline of approximately 120 properties. Eight have opened this year; 10 are under construction; and 15 are in architectural-design review, Smith said.

She added that Sleep Inn properties work in a variety of markets—in large markets such as Philadelphia, as well as secondary and tertiary markets.

“We are primarily a domestic brand; however, we do have over 400 (properties) globally, and primarily that expands out (to) Canada and Latin America,” she said.

New prototype, owners’ perspective
Sleep Inn relaunched its prototype in 2016, with the first new property open and operating within nine months of its unveiling, Smith said.

“(It) demonstrates the (speed) to market. It’s not only low cost to build; it’s easy to build. And we really looked at innovating in a few key ways,” she said.

Some key innovations include flexible seating in the lobby area, all-day coffee and tea, and a mini marketplace, which owners and operators can choose to include at their properties or not, according to Smith.

Nivea Hospitality has three properties under the Sleep Inn brand, with its first one built four years ago, said the company’s owner Robert Schlabach.

The brand’s new prototype has a very modern design, which he appreciates; and the square footage of the rooms is a little bit smaller, which is ideal, he said.

“What kind of doesn’t work in midscale is when you get a lot of square footage that’s wasted,” he said. “That’s something Sleep Inn has done very well is manage their square footage on their buildings. That’s what’s helping (us).”

He added that the cost to build a Sleep Inn property is low, and the return on investment is high.

Sleep’s new campaign
To support the idea of affordable style behind the Sleep Inn brand, Smith said the brand recently launched a marketing campaign to get across the message that a good investment never goes out of style.

“We talk style specifically because that’s something that’s always been part of the DNA of Sleep,” she said. “We put the owner at the heart of everything that we do with the business. We’re focused on ensuring that they can deliver on what the guests of today and tomorrow want, but in a way that demonstrates that we understand and are mindful of their bottom line.”

Smith said an example of this is the black-and-white artwork with “a design that’s rooted in nature,” which she described as having an appeal that’s long-lasting.

On top of the excitement around the new campaign, Smith said she’s happy there’s currently so much energy and excitement around the midscale segment as a whole.

“We have been (involved) in bringing to life that segment, innovating that segment,” she said. “We’ve got 3,500 midscale hotels; we’re 25% of the market. This is a great opportunity to remind people that Sleep has always been a leader in the segment and very innovative in terms of its timeless style and its appeal to guests, so we’re excited it’s getting some attention.”

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