On Monday, at the ALIS hotel investment conference in Southern California, Hilton CEO Christopher Nassetta unveiled plans for Tru by Hilton, a new brand in its repertoire that’s marketed toward young, tech-savvy travelers. Room prices will hover around $80 to $90 per night.
Hilton’s venture into hip, budget-friendly lodging isn’t surprising, nor is it a new idea. Many other big-name companies, such as Marriott International and Virgin, have announced plans for similar brands. But the move reflects an urgency from these larger companies to capture the interest of a generation that’s accustomed to convenient alternatives like Airbnb.
Hilton aims to set Tru apart with an emphasis on overall aesthetic: bright colors, airy lobbies. Closet-less rooms will be smaller than those at competing midscale hotels (Comfort Inn, Fairfield Inn and La Quinta), but Hilton hopes the new brand’s large, communal lobby spaces — dubbed “hives,” they’re partitioned into lounges for eating, working or just hanging out — will be enough to draw individuals in its target demographic, and to keep them coming back. Cleanliness is important too. In fact, most Tru by Hiltons will be entirely new structures, not renovated hotels.
So far, Hilton has confirmed 102 prospective locations for Tru, many to be found near highways and college towns. These include Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago, Denver and Nashville, among other centers with dense congregations of tech-savvy travelers. Speaking on the brand’s future, Nassetta recently told Bloomberg that Tru has the potential to become Hilton’s largest brand to date, a rank currently held by Hampton with more than 200,000 rooms across its global network. He expects the first Tru by Hilton to open later this year.