. How Multi-Branded Hotels Offer More Choice Under One Roof | Northstar Meetings Group

How Multi-Branded Hotels Offer More Choice Under One Roof

These combined properties offer new and flexible options for planners.

Denver's Le Meridien is attached to its sister property, the AC Hotel by Marriott Denver Downtown.
Denver's Le Meridien is attached to its sister property, the AC Hotel by Marriott Denver Downtown.

Dual-branded and even triple-branded hotels suddenly are dominating the development pipeline, and for good reason. By sharing the same footprint, back-of-the-house operations, amenities and, in some cases, even employees, they offer tremendous financial and operational synergies. For groups, the variety of room types and price points is a plus.

Hilton, which has 85 dual-branded hotels and several more in the works, opened its first triple-branded property in Chicago this past August. Adjacent to Wintrust Arena and with direct access to McCormick Place, this unique new hotel comprises the 187-room Hampton Inn by Hilton Chicago McCormick Place, the 184-room Hilton Garden Inn Chicago McCormick Place and the 95-room Home2Suites by Hilton Chicago McCormick Place, all under one roof.

Chicago-based White Lodging, which developed the first dual-branded hotel in the U.S. in 2005, has several full-service, dual-branded development projects in the pipeline, including two that will open in 2019 -- an Autograph and Moxy combination in Louisville, Ky., and an Autograph and AC collaboration in Austin, Texas.

"As a developer, it's attractive to have a more concentrated footprint with multiple brands to attract a wider range of customers at the same location," notes Chris Anderson, chief commercial officer for White Lodging. "As an operator, it affords us the opportunity to maintain the individual brand experience customers expect. It's also attractive for our associates, because it provides them the opportunity to see how different brands operate without having to change companies, commutes or even buildings."

According to Portsmouth, N.H.--based global real-estate intelligence firm Lodging Econometrics, which tracks hotel-development deals, 244 dual- or triple-branded properties are currently under development on 192 shared sites. Over the next 12 months, another 414 hotels on 281 shared sites are expected to break ground. 

"When you think about it, you can develop two properties with different room-rate structures and with different amenity packages, so you have the opportunity to capture different segments and guest profiles," points out Patrick Ford, Lodging Econometrics' senior vice president of global development. "They are of great appeal to developers and hoteliers, and I expect we will see more of them going forward."

For now, most multi-branded hotels are in the limited-service pipeline, such as the Tru by Hilton and Home2Suites by Hilton Nashville Downtown Convention Center, on tap to open in the second quarter of 2019. But that's changing. This month, Marriott is slated to open a 470-room, $120 million triple-branded hotel in downtown Nashville, within walking distance of the Nashville Music City Center. It will comprise an AC hotel, a Residence Inn and a SpringHill Suites with six dining outlets and 9,000 square feet of shared meeting space.

"With the demand in the market and number of travelers attracted to the city, Nashville is the ideal location to introduce this new concept," says Gina Peper, vice president of sales and marketing at Atlanta-based Northpoint Hospitality Group, which owns the building. "Instead of one hotel brand with 470 rooms, this unique property gives us the opportunity to attract three diverse types of travelers, which broadens our guest base."

White Lodging was in on the trend early, opening the 20-story, dual-branded 223-room AC Hotel by Marriott Denver Downtown and the 272-room Le Méridien Denver Downtown with 12,000 square feet of meeting space. "We're already moving in the direction of full-service, upper-scale dual brands," says Anderson, "and I am certain you will see dual brands at the highest segment levels."

Case in point: Marriott has a dual-branded property coming with a W Hotel in the mix, a project that was already in the works back in 2015 before Marriott bought Starwood. The W Philadelphia and Element Philadelphia should open by the end of this year with 295 rooms in the W and 460 in the Element.

For meeting planners, booking a multi-tiered host hotel will present the opportunity to negotiate for several room types at different price points, all with one contact and in one place. "Planners know that everyone has their favorite hotels and brands," says Anderson. "Combining the brands makes the location a more flexible offering."