A peek into the US hotel pipeline: ‘millennial’ brand leads the way

There’s certainly no lack of hype surrounding millennial travel. And a quick glimpse at the US hotel development pipeline suggests it’s not just buzz. TOPHOTELS reports that Aloft, the ‘hip’ hotel brand by Starwood aimed at millennials, currently has 40 properties planned for development –  more than any other brand. Not bad for a brand that launched in 2005 as “A Vision of W Hotels”.

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A casual analysis of Aloft makes it clear why it’s a hit with younger travellers. This mid-range hotel taps into everything the modern, young-at-heart traveller desires: cool ‘industrial’ design, multi-functional communal spaces, a bar with good music, delicious ‘grab & go’ food, free WiFi and decent spa amenities – all for a reasonable price.

In terms of tech innovation, the SPG Keyless programme means guests can use their smartphone or Apple Watch to bypass check-in and go straight to their room, with all the info sent to their phone/watch to electronically open their door.

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A robot butler – the Botlr – pushes the brand even further into the future, delivering towels and toiletries to guest rooms. A ChatBotlr, meanwhile, interacts with guests and give them info even when they’re not at the hotel. PLUS, there’s Aloft TiGi – the ‘Text it. Get it.’ service that allows guests to text designated emojis to the kitchen to order specific food and drinks items instead of calling for room service. Sounds like something we’d do just for the novelty of it.

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It’s heartening to see some colour and innovation take the lead in the US. A sign perhaps of bigger, brighter hospitality things to come.

Other hotels that top the US pipeline list are Cambria Hotels & Suites and Hampton Inn. The full list is available over at the TOPHOTELCONSTRUCTION database.