Last month, Hilton Worldwide announced its latest foray into the lifestyle category with Canopy by Hilton, a new concept from the international hotel behemoth that will localize the guest experience. Poised to open its first set of doors in 2015, we spoke with Gary Steffen, the brand’s global head, who shared five things you should know about Canopy by Hilton.1. The locations will be diverse, but vibrant.
Homegrown experiences will be a cornerstone of each Canopy location, which are varied but all share a vibrancy of neighborhood. Portland’s Pearl District, Miami’s Brickell, San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter, Savannah’s Historic District, Indianapolis’ City Centre, DC’s Bethesda North, Oklahoma City’s Bricktown, Ithaca’s The Commons, Downtown Nashville, and Uptown Charlotte will see the first Canopy by Hilton locations open in 2015 and 2016. London, too, will have a Canopy (neighborhood TBD). Because of its focus on creating a unique experience that’s reflective of its individual neighborhood, the brand promises that no two Canopy hotels will be the same. “We are embracing a diverse group of destinations and, in-turn, bringing aspects of the neighborhoods into every facet of the hotel experience, from check-in to check-out,” says Steffen.
2. Each Canopy location will be an extension of the neighborhood in which it’s located.
From design to food and beverages to artwork, each Canopy outpost will derive inspiration from its location -- and its locals. “Simply put, Canopy by Hilton is the streetlamp of the neighborhood,” explains Steffen. “The food and drink offerings at each Canopy property exemplify the brand’s commitment to offering guests local flavor and experiences." He points to the welcome gift that each guest will receive as an example. In Denver, guests might be treated to something from the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory; in Chicago, it may be Garret’s Popcorn. Likewise, café of breakfast bag items in the morning and the lobby's craft beers and wines in the evening will all feature fresh and local ingredients. But, Steffen adds, "Canopy’s local offerings will extend far beyond food and drink. Hotels will also feature locally inspired design, partnerships, and programming with local art and music programs and neighborhood fitness options.”
3. “Included value” is the brand’s mantra.
These days, travelers want something different, something more, from hotels -- a key consideration in Canopy's programming. Among the brand’s guest-pleasing and inclusive extras are free WiFi, an artisanal daily breakfast, and evening beer, wine, and spirits tastings. Hilton HHonors members will also receive bonus benefits like room upgrades and earn points by using their loyalty cards at all Canopy by Hilton locations. In other words, for those who "simply want a comfortable place to relax and refresh, to have fun and really experience the city they’re visiting feel," Steffen says, "we are placing the control and power of choice back in our guests’ hands and combining that with our staff's local know-how to create truly authentic experiences.”
4. Technology will play an enormous role in the guest experience.
Canopy by Hilton will employ a range of unique technologies to help improve and personalize the guest experience. “Guests will be able to use their mobile devices to pre-check-in to the hotel and pre-select their ideal room from a floor plan or hotel map,” Steffen cites as one example. “When we open our first Canopy hotel in 2015, we’ll also be offering guests the newest option to go ‘straight-to-room,’ allowing guests to use their own mobile device as their room key.”
5. The bulk of the initial properties will be new builds.
Love the smell of a sparkling-new property? You're in luck. Though the Canopy by Hilton concept was developed to be a conversion-friendly one, Steffen shares that 9 of the 11 hotels in the initial launch will be brand-new builds.