The last quarter of 2018 was marked by the announcement of Hilton’s new micro-hotel brand Motto and the company's intent on launching a chain of reasonably priced urban hotels, the first of which is set to open for business in London, a year from now.

It should say something about the current nature of the hospitality when one of the industry giants takes note of the recent hostel boom and acts on it by taking long term steps to integrate it into their business model.

Still, it’s important to note that Motto by Hilton is not meant to be a hostel, but rather a novel hotel experience inspired by many of the features that make hostel stays desirable to an increasingly wider demographic of travellers.

Hilton’s principles of innovation are at the centre of the brand’s long-lasting success, and as such any new project they choose to take on can have an almost transformative effect on the industry as a whole. Which is why examining this new brand even before its official launch can shed some light on the direction the hospitality industry is about to take in the years to come.

How did Motto by Hilton Came to be?

“…For Motto, we really started looking at the lifestyle hostel segment. What was really attractive about that? We heard from guests, they like the connection with locals, the activated social spaces where they can connect with their fellow travellers, in particular, those guests are travelling in big groups, and they had a room configuration that worked really well for them.” - Tripp McLaughlin, Global head of Motto by Hilton

With big names like Hilton, all innovation is the result of years of detailed marketing research with a heavy focus on the desires of potential guests that are not being met sufficiently in the current market. An ever-increasing number of guests are looking for authentic local experiences, at a reasonable price and with within a fixed deadline, more and more of them are turning to alternative accommodations and hostels with the hopes of having those demands met. But the reality of the industry is that many of those alternative accommodations and hostels are not equipped to provide a hotel experience, where the quality of the service could be maintained through time.

Motto was Hilton’s response to this need. By building an affordable brand which connects to the local culture of each location, but manages to maintain a stellar hotel experience through a long period of time is an integral part of Motto's conception. By identifying and filling this niche, the team behind the new brand guarantees Motto a solid foundation, from which the brand can grow and eventually become a household name in its own right.

Who is the Target Customer of Motto?

“We have found a specific target customer. Through our research what we discovered was, it’s less of a demographic and more of a psychographic, a mindset, they’re a group that we call the connected and confident traveller and they share a sort of set of unique behavioural characteristics.” - Amy Martin Ziegenfuss, VP of Global Brand Marketing

These new guest prospects prefer to travel more often, both solitary and in big groups and are also willing to tradeoff the more traditional hotel experience so that they might have more resources at their disposal to spend on activities around the city that they’re visiting. These are also travellers who travel as a way to form social connections.

This is accidentally also the main lure of platforms like AirBnB and Couchsurfing, where the travellers prefer to spend on memorable local experiences at the heart of the city. With Motto, Hilton taps into this niche by offering the customers a central location with a large common space and interconnecting rooms that the customer can modify to their liking.

What Makes the Motto Hotel Experience Different?

“Motto by Hilton is an urban micro-lifestyle hotel that we think is going to change the landscape of hospitality” - Chris Nassetta, CEO

Phil Cordell, the Global Head of New Brand Development of Hilton, proposes that there are three fundamental principles of Motto by Hilton:

  • The Connected Rooms

One of the main features of a micro-hotel is small but efficient rooms. It is a telling sign that when travellers are faced with choosing between staying at a top location or giving that up for more spacious accommodation, it’s the square footage that is the thing to go. The connected and confident travellers favour the comfort of a different kind.

They would value a more tech-savvy establishment, one that offers them a self-service app through which they can perform check-ins and outs, regulate room the temperature, or order room service. Motto’s connected rooms offer just that, the ability to set the demands of your stay all through a device that you already use on a daily basis. Property management system would have to play a key part in running such an establishment in order to meet both guest and staff demands.

  • The Flexibility

Motto rooms can easily be reconfigured, with retractable beds, a bedroom can easily be transformed into a comfortable office space, perfect for business travellers. If there is a bigger group who needs more space, the connecting door, a signature trait of the Hilton brand would allow guests to expand the square footage of their rooms by joining them. In fact, guests will be able to reserve multiple linking rooms, in order to best customize their stay.

This feature can also easily appeal to hoteliers, as three Motto guest rooms are the size of two standard mid-scare guest rooms. This means that even though the location of the hotel will be central, the building itself will be a lot smaller, but still able to a hundred plus rooms.

  • Food and Beverages

Motto Commons, the large common space shared by all guests will be a hub of social activity curated by adding local flavour by ordering food and beverages from local vendors, which ensures that no two Motto travel experiences will be quite the same, but it’s exactly this unique vibe that the connected and confident traveller is looking for.

As concepts go, Motto by Hilton is a solid one. It is yet to be seen how it will develop once the first location opens its doors to guests in 2020, but considering Hilton’s track record when it comes to innovation, the odds are definitely stacked in Mottos’ favour.

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About Clock Software

Clock Software is a global provider of cloud-based property management systems (PMS), integrated online distribution, online & kiosk hotel self check-in solutions and mobile & in-room guest engagement systems with customers in more than 65 countries.