With 1,816 locations built in nearly 30 years, Hampton Inn poses a sizeable posture in the hotel industry. But, according to Phil Cordell, global head of focused service and the Hampton Inn brand for Hilton Worldwide, the brand isn’t done growing. While highly successful in the U.S., the brand is now looking overseas.
“In the Americas, particularly in the States, Hampton Inn is a segment leader from a market share and guest satisfaction perspective,” Cordell says of the brand. “In the U.S. we continue to see it grow and expand not only in suburban markets but also urban markets.
“Up until Hilton U.S. and Hilton International came together about four years ago we didn’t have the ability to grow many of Hilton’s brands outside of the U.S.,” he adds. “We’re now able to take the brand outside of the U.S.”
Cordell says that once the merger took place through Hilton U.S.’s acquisition of Hilton International, the planning for taking Hampton Inn across the pond began. But planning for entry into markets such as Europe and Asia meant taking a long look at the brand as it already existed.
“We didn’t just say that we have all the answers. Hampton Inn works in the U.S. so let’s just replicate it and drop it in here and here and here,” Cordell says. “We are very thoughtful of where we grow, why we go there, and what the brand experience in that place starts to look and feel like.”
Hampton Inn’s initial efforts overseas have been concentrated in Western Europe. “That’s a part of the world that’s most familiar based on segmentation and the business model of our industry,” Cordell says. In fact, Hampton is open, trading, and under development in the United Kingdom and Germany. Within the next year, Cordell says, the brand will be in Italy and Turkey. The brand recently announced deals for hotels in Genoa, Italy, and Diyarbakir and Ordu, Turkey.
Going overseas, Hampton Inn decided not to bring its U.S. box. “Our Hampton Inns in Europe are smaller in room size, which is accepting to guests there. We have a limited food offering and are a little more design forward,” Cordell says.
Cordell says the brand’s first hotel in Berlin, Germany, opened to great success.
Hampton Inn’s customers in Europe are similar the U.S., with a 50-50 mix of business to leisure travelers. However, the price points are a little different, especially in comparison to the euro and pound to the U.S. dollar. The raw ADR is higher in Europe, but Cordell says the brand is still appropriately positioned for the value price point in the market.
Cordell describes Europe as “round one” of the brand’s expansion overseas. He says the company is still thinking through its Asia expansion. “Asia’s a very different model from a business perspective,” he says. “Our industry just isn’t as developed and segmented there as it is in other parts of the world.”
Cordell says that the brand is discussing plans with three or four very large organizations in India and China. “Clearly those are markets where we don’t go in and put one hotel here and one hotel there, because the operating environment is so different,” he says. “So we really have to put our arms around what is successful.”