NEW YORK -- On the heels of a flurry of brand launches aimed at Generation X (Aloft, NYLO, Hyatt Place), hotel companies appear to be embarking on what might be called Generation Extended Stay.

Starwood, Hyatt and Marriott provided details on new extended-stay hotels and improvements to existing hotels at the New York University International Hospitality Investment Conference, held here earlier this month.

Extended-stay hotels have long outperformed the rest of the industry as far as return on investment, partly because there is little fluctuation in occupancy. Hotel companies are increasingly looking to remodel them to appeal to a younger crowd.

Marriott is calling redesigned Residence Inn rooms Gen7 suites; the entrance to the redesigned TownePlace Suites is being called the Launching Pad rather than the lobby.

Brands are pitching communal space, spa-like bathrooms and oversize fitness centers, products and services meant to attract young guests.

Some speakers on conference panels were skeptical about the strategy. Barry Bloom, senior vice president of CNL Hotels & Resorts, said, Hotels might be so focused on appealing to a certain demographic that they turn off people who feel like they might not fit into those places. Advertising guru Donny Deutsch said, You cant just start a brand based on some kind of ideology or feeling. It has to be based on truth.

Other speakers were more confident about generational shifts.

Thomas Arasi, president of Portman Holdings, a development company, said, You have to look 10 years ahead. Ten years ago, boutique hotels were a little thing off to the side. Now Goliath is copying David.

At the show, Starwood offered glimpses of its yet-to-be-named extended-stay product, Project ESW, which is modeled after its Westin brand. Starwood will roll out the brand in 2007.

Hyatt unveiled the prototype for Summerfield Suites, which will be contemporary and stylish, with an emphasis on technology.

Summerfield Suites will provide free wireless Internet access and flat-screen TVs that integrate with laptops. Hotels will have oversize fitness centers. Rooms will have spa-style bathrooms. A Guest Kitchen Buffet will offer a free hot breakfast and serve specialty coffee throughout the day. A Guest Market will have specialty upscale food and beverages.

Not surprisingly, Westin and Hyatt executives derided existing extended-stay product. Jim Abrahamson, Hyatts senior vice president of development, called it mundane and tired. Starwood CEO Steven Heyer said it is frankly, pretty boring.

When told about those comments, Laura Bates, Marriotts senior vice president of extended-stay brand management, said, We are not resting on our laurels. We are constantly innovating to keep up with the needs and preferences of our guests.

Residence Inns Gen7 suite features separate zones for cooking, dining, working, relaxing and sleeping. The design will be implemented in new hotels and existing hotels when they are renovated.

With the Gen7 guest rooms now designed, said Bates, Residence Inn is focusing on public spaces where there will be some sort of gate house with a lot of choices for guests, everything from a Monday Night Football party to quiet spaces for work or chatting.

At TownePlace Suites by Marriott, said Bates, the Launching Pad will consist of the Welcome Center, an informal space that offers quick and easy check-in and an introduction to local services and destinations; In a Pinch, a market area offering food and beverages; and the Towne Map, a floor-to-ceiling map that will show staff- and guest-chosen local restaurants, shopping and activities.

Guest rooms will feature modular furniture that enables guests to rearrange pieces for dining, working or entertainment.

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