Hilton Launches ‘‘Distinctly Homewood’’

Homewood Suites by Hilton, the national brand of upscale all-suite, residential-style hotels, officially launched a five-year product enhancement program today, titled “Distinctly Homewood.” Based on comprehensive guest studies and input from both internal and external constituents, “Distinctly Homewood” addresses three areas to keep the brand the leader in the extended stay industry: Relevance, Consistency, and Distinctiveness. Implementation is set to begin immediately at all 145 hotels and will be implemented at the additional 85 hotels in the development pipeline. Final completion is scheduled to coincide with the Homewood Suites brand’s 20th Anniversary in 2009. “Our ‘Distinctly Homewood’ program will upgrade the guest experience, while ensuring the brand’s continued dominance and growth in the marketplace,” said Jim Holthouser, senior vice president, brand management, for Homewood Suites by Hilton. “It is imperative to stay relevant in the minds of our guests, but also to remain consistent across all of the hotels in our brand. ‘Distinctly Homewood’ will help us accomplish these goals.”

The series of planned upgrades will make the extended stay brand’s hotels more residential and feel more like home to guests. In keeping with the latest hospitality trends and standards, enhancements include higher quality bedding, upgraded baths, updated kitchens, expanded fitness facilities and updated amenities.

The Suite: Residential Bedding, Bath and Kitchen

Given the typical Homewood Suites extended stay guest stays an average of 14 nights, enhancements to the guest suite are perhaps the most important of the “Distinctly Homewood” program. All Homewood Suites by Hilton hotels will feature Serta Suite Dreams mattresses and box springs, together with cozier cotton blend duvet covers, Down Dreams pillows with 250 thread count pillow cases, chenille throw blanket and a signature Homewood Suites wood duck pillow. The bedding package attempts to continue the brand’s position of upscale residential by translating that positioning to beds in each suite. By 2009, all suites will feature the new bedding package.

Studies have shown bathroom conditions are one of the top considerations affecting consumer satisfaction and loyalty. The brand is upgrading the guest bath with bowed shower rods for more space in the shower, ringless shower curtains and larger, heavier towels. The countertops in the bathrooms will also be upgraded to a granite vanity, which is a more home-like feature.

ADVERTISEMENT

Kitchen upgrades will also feature granite counter tops, as well as wood laminate or ceramic tile flooring in all suites.

The Wood Duck Icon

To further differentiate itself from competition, the brand plans to leverage its wood duck icon, the brand’s trademark symbol that conveys the warmth and casualness of a lodge, as well as its trademarks, its systems and customer information. Homewood Suites is branding all in-suite Neutrogena(R) care amenities with the Homewood Suites logo, while renaming all key services to stay closer to the “home” theme. Homewood Suites offers all guests a daily, complimentary Suite Start(TM) hot breakfast, as well as a Welcome Home(R) reception(a) featuring a complimentary light meal and beverages Monday-Thursday evenings. The Homewood Suites by Hilton 100% Satisfaction Guarantee has been renamed the Suite Assurance Guarantee(TM). The guarantee states: “We guarantee high-quality accommodations, friendly, efficient service and clean, comfortable surroundings. If you are not completely satisfied, please let us know. We’ll make it right or your night’s stay is free.”

The Amenities

Research has shown more than 50 percent of Homewood Suites extended stay guests bring their music choices with them. As part of “Distinctly Homewood(TM),” each Homewood Suites hotel will feature a Homewood Suites-specific clock radio with an MP3 audio jack. Each suite is scheduled to have the enhanced clock radio by beginning of summer 2005.

Staying with a fitness routine and exercise program is imperative to extended stay guests. Therefore, Homewood Suites by Hilton(R) will promote guest health through a new Healthy Traveler Platform and improved fitness facilities. The fitness centers at each Homewood Suites by Hilton hotel will be updated and expanded to include dumbbell equipment.

“Over the next few years leading up to our 20th anniversary, guests will experience what they have come to expect from Homewood Suites by Hilton - consistency and quality,” said Holthouser. “These enhancements will enable the Homewood Suites brand to remain the leader in extended stay.”

Much of the “Distinctly Homewood” program enhancements will be completed by the end of 2005, with full completion slated for the end of 2008.

“This program was designed in conjunction with the brand’s franchise advisory council and since has been very well-received by our ownership base,” added Holthouser. “It is designed to take us to an even better place over a 5-year period and allows ample time for owners to plan their capital. Simply put, it positions the Homewood Suites brand for continued strong performance and leadership in the extended stay segment over the next several years and beyond.”

Launched in 1989, the Homewood Suites by Hilton brand today has more than 140 hotels open with another 85 in the pipeline. Beyond its spacious suites and home-like amenities, Homewood Suites guests can find an on-site Suite Shop(R) convenience store, exercise facility, and guest laundry at most locations. Guests can also enjoy a daily complimentary Suite Start(TM) hot breakfast and a Welcome Home(R) reception(a) featuring a complimentary light meal and beverages Monday-Thursday evenings in the hotel’s Lodge. Additional guest services at Homewood Suites by Hilton hotels include a complimentary grocery-shopping service(b) and a convenient business center at most locations. Most Homewood Suites locations also feature a swimming pool and outdoor sports court.

To make reservations at a Homewood Suites by Hilton hotel, travelers can visit the Homewood Suites Web site at homewoodsuites.com or call 1-800-CALL-HOME(R). Homewood Suites participates in the Hilton HHonors(R) guest reward program, which allows its members to DoubleDip(R) by simultaneously accumulating both hotel points and airline miles with each qualifying stay.
——-