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New Brand, Spark by Hilton, Courts Budget-Conscious Business Travelers

Hilton hopes to fill what it sees as an open space within the hospitality industry

by Lark Gould

February 14, 2023

Spark by Hilton Check-in / Photo: Courtesy of Hilton

Hilton is adding a new brand to its portfolio. Spark by Hilton, the company’s 19th brand, targets an emerging market in the post-pandemic landscape: the premium economy tier.

While the first hotel is not due to open until later this year, the buzz is already swirling about the new brand and its place within the chain’s portfolio. Spark will have a fair number of competitors when it debuts, yet it aims to differentiate itself by courting budget-conscious business travelers. Hilton is betting on small-to-medium business owners who will appreciate the price points (initial rates of $80 to $100 per night are in discussion), as well as the Hilton Honors points they can accrue during their stay.

Spark by Hilton, guest room / Photo: Courtesy of Hilton

“In looking at the economy category, we saw a segment that has grown dramatically but lacks consistency, providing us an opportunity to deliver on the needs of this underserved segment of travelers,” said Matt Schuyler, chief brand officer at Hilton.

The first Spark hotels are expected to open in the third or fourth quarter of 2023, with locations still to be determined.

Hilton has more than doubled its brand portfolio in the past 15 years, creating a diverse range of brands across categories.

Spark by Hilton is defined by what the company calls “Thoughtful Simplicity.” According to Hilton, that means uncomplicated design with splashes of color that bring in the outdoors, as well as colorful statement walls and energizing artwork. Public spaces will feature multi-functional seating from communal tables to rocking chairs, allowing guests the flexibility to enjoy breakfast, socialize, or work throughout the day.

Spark by Hilton, public spaces / Photo: Courtesy of Hilton

Guest rooms will offer practical furniture and amenities including an open closet, in-room refrigerator, and multi-purpose work surface. Guests will also have access to modern conveniences such as 24-hour digital check-in and a Digital Key, as well as classic comforts including complimentary breakfast. Hotels will offer coffee, juice, and a signature bagel bar.

“Hilton has pioneered the hospitality industry as we know it today, and we continue to grow our portfolio as our guests’ and owners’ needs evolve,” said Chris Nassetta, president and CEO, Hilton.

Spark by Hilton, public spaces complimentary premium coffee / Photo: Courtesy of Hilton

A recent survey published by the American Hotel & Lodging Association, conducted by Morning Consult, notes that 60 percent of Americans report being more likely to stay in hotels as a lodging choice in 2023, a spike over that sentiment for 2022. Hotels are the top lodging choice among those planning to travel for business in the next three months. Some 52 percent of business travelers say the amount of business trips expected or supported by their employer is now the same as before the pandemic, while another 20 percent say it’s higher than before.

The emergence of brands like Spark by Hilton indicate hotel chains are responding to these trends.