Hilton is making its foray into the micro-hotel space with a new hostel-inspired brand, Motto by Hilton, unveiled last week. Motto will primarily be focused in dense urban markets, with locations slated for Boston, Dublin, London, Nashville, New York and Washington, among other cities.
Motto is the 15th concept within Hilton's brand portfolio.
"Hostels have been around for a long time, especially in Europe, and provide an inexpensive place to stay that's clean, comfortable and can be used as a home base to explore and visit with friends," said Phil Cordell, global head of new brand development at Hilton. "We knew that while the basic hostel concept was good, it was sometimes a little too bare bones, and it could be more of an elevated experience."
Hilton expects the brand to begin rolling out next year, with plans to eventually grow the concept to some 175 locations globally.
Meanwhile, Motto will play in the midscale space, with rates just below those of upper-midscale brand Hampton by Hilton. According to Cordell, Motto's biggest competitor will likely be Marriott's Moxy lifestyle brand, which debuted in 2014 and also plays in the microhotel space.
The average Motto room will be approximately 150 to 160 square feet. By comparison, the average room at sister midscale brand Tru by Hilton is 230 square feet, while the average Hampton room is around 340 square feet.
In addition, Motto hotels will also feature "flex" rooms, which offer a wall-bed system that can be folded away like a Murphy bed to create a living area. Another innovation will be "bunky" rooms, which feature bunk bed-style accommodations. All rooms will have private bathrooms.
Hilton said Motto will be well positioned to cater to groups, with guests able to connect as many as six to seven rooms.
Along with connected rooms, the brand will also offer a downstairs communal space known as the Motto Commons, intended to evoke what Cordell described as "Starbucks meets a cool neighborhood bar."
Along with coffee, Motto Commons will offer counter-service food and beverages sourced through local vendors.
"Travelers these days want to be connected to the local community, and when traveling together, they want to be connected as a group," Cordell said. "They also want value and flexibility. Our audience doesn't need a lot of bells and whistles, but the basics have to be right. This concept will be targeted toward people who are willing to trade in a larger room for the opportunity to explore urban areas."