BT: The iconic Sheraton brand is getting a refresh. How did this come about?
ADENAW: Sheraton is the most international brand for Marriott with 530 hotels open or in the pipeline in 75 countries. It is also the third highest in revenue for the company, and in three years, its 157,000 rooms will be in 90 countries. Because of its wide footprint and global recognition, we took a step back and consulted with our owners to determine what the Sheraton of the future should look like.
BT: The test-market hotel is the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown. Based on the changes here, what can travelers expect?
ADENAW: We want a consistent room product across the portfolio so that travelers immediately recognize familiar comfort and design. But our public areas are extremely important to our redesign. We like to say that Sheraton is at the “intersection of Main and Main,” alluding to the many Sheratons in iconic locations. Sheraton is in New York’s Times Square, directly on the Nile River in Cairo, inside the terminal of Paris Charles de Gaulle airport and on London’s Park Lane. These high-profile locations deserve properties that live up to the hype with lobbies that serve as gathering spaces for both guests and locals. We want guests to feel like locals and locals to feel like guests.
BT: You compare the lobby to a public square. What will draw guests there?
ADENAW: We envision bar spaces that attract people throughout the day and not just during happy hour. Think communal work tables, soundproof phone booths and group work studios that people can reserve for free through a new roving lobby manager. The new Coffee Bar Bar concept will offer an all-day menu of drinks from barista-prepared coffee to craft cocktails and light meals. Our research shows that our target customers are team players who enjoy co-working or spending time with like-minded people. That’s what is driving many of our design efforts, which we are rolling out at our test hotel the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown.
BT: Explain the difference between Marriott and Sheraton as brands.
ADENAW: Sheraton’s design is more residential while Marriott’s appearance is typically more elegant and polished. Of course, they intersect to some degree, but Sheraton puts strong emphasis on public areas. Marriott’s business traveler target puts more attention on ergonomic room design. Marriott guests are especially focused on Marriott Bonvoy elite status, which is why club lounges are being relocated to the lobby level in many properties. We might see some of these successful strategies carry over to Sheraton in the future.
BT: What’s the timeline for this brand refresh?
ADENAW: With so many hotels, it can take years, and we have allowed owners to make adjustments over time as their properties come up for renovation. That typically takes place over a rolling seven-month cycle, but many of these initiatives will be implemented sooner. Still, many owners are so excited about the changes, they are implementing them immediately to take advantage of this great momentum.