BT:

Business Traveler (USA) - - UPFRONT -

What kind of ho­tel owner is look­ing to come un­der the Cu­rio um­brella?

When we first launched, we thought the ma­jor­ity of our ho­tels would be those in­de­pen­dent own­ers, like the Prov­i­dence Bilt­more or the Sam Hous­ton. But what we quickly saw was a lot of our own­ers have one of our other 11 or 12 Hil­ton port­fo­lio brands. For ex­am­ple our Sam Hous­ton owner also has a Dou­bleTree and a Hil­ton, and I’m sure other brands. So even though he has this in­de­pen­dent ho­tel, he also owns oth­ers.

So we have a va­ri­ety of own­ers, from in­sti­tu­tional own­ers to in­de­pen­dent own­ers to own­ers that have mul­ti­ple brands. When we launched we re­ally thought it was go­ing to be the ma­jor­ity of the in­de­pen­dent, I just have this one ho­tel. But that re­ally hasn’t been the case.

Ex­plain the con­cept be­hind a col­lec­tion ver­sus a ‘hard’brand?

It re­ally goes back to that owner want­ing to have their own au­then­tic ho­tel ex­pe­ri­ence. As long as they are pro­vid­ing an up­scale lux­ury 4- 5- 6-star ho­tel from the con­sumer point of view, we give a lot of flex­i­bil­ity. Some­times peo­ple think,‘Oh, it might be easy to be­come a Cu­rio.’ It re­ally isn’t.You still have to main­tain those stan­dards; we’re just a lit­tle more flex­i­ble in them, and own­ers love that. Be­cause they re­ally like to bring out that au­then­tic ex­pe­ri­ence for the con­sumers with th­ese in­di­vid­ual ho­tels.

What im­pact has the In­ter­net had on the col­lec­tion con­cept?

The In­ter­net re­ally has changed how ev­ery­body looks at ho­tels. But even with the In­ter­net chang­ing the land­scape, Cu­rio cus­tomers aren’t need­ing to do a lot of re­search. It’s that quiet re­as­sur­ance of, I’m get­ting this in­de­pen­dent, au­then­tic ho­tel that’s dif­fer­ent, but I don’t have to worry be­cause it’s backed by Hil­ton. Also those 48 mil­lion HHonors mem­bers? They want some­thing dif­fer­ent, but they want their points too.

Why do you think th­ese in­de­pen­dent lux­ury prop­er­ties are gain­ing trac­tion with busi­ness trav­el­ers th­ese days?

What’s the new lux­ury to­day? I’ve been do­ing busi­ness travel for prob­a­bly 15 years, and I can’t tell you how many times I went air­port-hote­lair­port-home. So to me, it’s the lux­ury of con­ve­nience and the lux­ury of be­ing able to en­joy your­self, have some leisure while you’re there for your busi­ness. It’s en­abling the con­sumer to con­nect to the lo­cal com­mu­nity – where I’m stay­ing at a ho­tel and I’m get­ting to have fun. BT

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