Hilton About To Unveil a New Chain For New Affluents That Hate Tiny Rooms

Tired: Hotels ‘for millennials’ featuring tiny rooms that lack desks, where hopefully guests escape claustrophobia to ‘social spaces’ spending money on food and beverage. However millennials as a class don’t have as much disposable income as older generations, and their digital life includes ordering in more interesting food and beverage than the hotel provides.

Wired: Hotels catering to the ‘new affluent’ who prefer experiences over things, so don’t mind small rooms and are sufficiently lacking in experience that they’ll allow the hotel to curate their food and beverage choices in those same ‘social spaces’.

Here’s how Hilton describes their still new-ish yet tired Canopy brand (which itself is in a crowded field even within Hilton, since Tru focuses on under-250 square foot rooms without dressers).

Travelers want a hotel to help them get the most out of travel and experience the best of a great neighborhood. Our guests are explorers who seek simple comfort, thoughtful details, an energizing atmosphere, and a uniquely local experience.

Thoughtful details are the bare minimum essentials that matter to guests, stripping away the rest of the frills. The chain is focused on guests want the best of a great neighborhood rather than of their hotel. The atmosphere (in the ‘social spaces’) should be energizing (transactional) and the properties should be uniquely local, i.e. there ought not be much in the way of brand standards that are enforced.

It’s only been three years since the first Canopy opened and already the brand is tired with Hilton launching a new brand aimed not at millennials broadly but at young professionals, not merely the new affluent but new affluent on expense accounts.

Sure it will “feature a lifestyle concept, focusing on modern design, and a bar and restaurant scene targeted at both urban travelers and locals” but it will also not suck, offering ‘bigger rooms and plusher amenities’.

It’s “meant in part to be Hilton’s answer to AC Hotels by Marriott,” which while limited service still manages to appeal to travelers under 40 who will pay a premium to avoid Moxy. (Soon by the way we’ll have ‘Caption’ from Hyatt as well.)

Can’t keep all the brands straight? Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson has explained to investors that this doesn’t matter – all that matters it keeping customers engaged with the loyalty program so they search their hotel choices at Marriott.com (the true reason for the book direct craze is more than just distribution costs). When customers choose from the choices offered on the website, the chain doesn’t need to invest in expensive branding or even brand differentiation.

More brands, of course, means more expansion – circumventing restrictions on proximity to existing hotels.

The chain plans to unveil details of their 18th brand next month.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Does it matter if you are afluent or not if you are on an expense account (“new affluent on expense accounts”)?

  2. Being on an expense account also isn’t a blank check. I can’t stay in Canopy hotels for $300 a night when there’s a Doubletree for $150. I do have a long term stake in my company’s profitability.

  3. Is there a more over-used and less understood term in the self-appointed travel expert blogger field that “expense account”?

    Hint: there’s a LOT of business travel out there with strict spending limits that does not equate to a no limits expense report

  4. I stayed at my first (and only) Canopy in Zagreb, Croatia over the summer, at a rate that was more expensive than the Hilton Garden Inn and Doubletree. I picked it mainly for the location but was also interested in trying out the new brand. I don’t know if it was just a reflection of the local individuals and the Croatian culture or the culture of what the brand was trying to project but all the front desk staff were quite cold…and the experience felt like a brighter and cheaper version of going to a W hotel. It felt like it was trying to be ‘hip’ with everything they do (from the bar, restaurant, lobby, etc.) but I just didn’t understand it. The breakfast buffet was decent but nothing really extensive or elevated and the nightly manager drink reception/canapé (also in the restaurant) was unmemorable. We did really enjoy the branded toiletries they used in the bathroom…that was a plus. So overall, it felt like a forced concept brand with an unwelcoming front desk lobby staff. But again, it’s possible that could have been due in part to its location in this particular country.

  5. Millennial who travels for business and can book his own hotels:

    I stayed in a tru once, bed wasn’t as comfy as a Hampton; which I stayed at every other time in the area.

    Yeah my hotel room was a place to sleep and maybe chill before bed.


    3 way tie in no order to start

    0. Free parking
    If I can’t park I won’t stay

    0. Clean hotel and rooms

    0. Comfy beds AND floors
    The tru had cold floors instead of carpet bleh

    3. Adequate/nice bathroom

    4. Decent complementary breakfast and/or bagged breakfast like hampton

    Nice to have

    5. Decently (at least 5 foot deep) sized pool and hot hottub

    6. Cool keycards
    Bam https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Fmedia-cdn.tripadvisor.com%2Fmedia%2Fphoto-s%2F08%2Fac%2F83%2Fd9%2Flake-norman.jpg&f=1&nofb=1

    7. Usb chargers built into desks

    8. a fridge

    9. complementary bottled water.

    Things I don’t care about at all

    On site restaurant, the food will probably come from sysco and be overpriced compared to local so meh

    “Millennial oriented social spaces” Your hotel is not my destination, but sure I guess some pool tables and air hockey would be cool.

    I don’t really plan on chilling with total strangers

    If the hotel really wants to save money:
    as a millennial I pack my own laptop and smart phone, so make tvs and alarm clocks a by request item like roll in beds.

  6. “I don’t know if it was just a reflection of the local individuals and the Croatian culture or the culture of what the brand was trying to project but all the front desk staff were quite cold” I felt the same way in Croatia. The people were fairly cold and aloof, although I was there a number of years ago and I chalked it up to the war still being a fairly recent occurrence when I was there. If its still that way then maybe its a cultural thing.

  7. As affluent you mean someone like you? All bloggers have become such arrogant jerks. Lucky was pretty cool when he started now he is a stuck up . This guy is no different.

  8. Thanks for letting us know that the Hilton Canopy brand was designed to “not suck, offering ‘bigger rooms and plusher amenities.”As the suck factor at the Hilton Canopy is less than the AC Hotels by Marriott, next reservation, I will give this brand a try.

  9. Was this originally written in another language and then translated to English via Google Translate? Maybe too many drinks at the Centurion.

  10. For those of you that don’t understand Gary’s typical writing style, the lede is well buried. Canopy isn’t the new brand, the new brand hasn’t been launched yet. They’re only announcing that they’re launching the new brand. But I am glad to see rooms that aren’t ridiculous come back in style.

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