Talking business: Adrian Kurre, Homewood Suites and Home2 Suites

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• Can you give us a brief career history?
"I have been in the hospitality industry for more than 40 years, beginning my career as a waiter and bartender and then eventually transitioning into restaurant management for Black Angus Restaurants. That experience led naturally into my career in hotel hospitality. Prior to my 2016 appointment as global head for Homewood Suites by Hilton and Home2 Suites by Hilton, I served as global head for Hilton Garden Inn. During my 19-year tenure with Hilton Garden Inn, I saw the brand grow from four hotels to more than 650 global properties, an experience that has prepared me well for the rapid period of growth that Home2 Suites and Homewood Suites are now experiencing."

"I couldn't have chosen a more exciting time to become a part of the All Suites brands by Hilton. In addition to celebrating the 800th All Suites property earlier this year, Embassy Suites, Homewood Suites and Home2 Suites are also all nearing individual brand milestones. Embassy Suites is slated to open its 250th property in 2018, Homewood Suites is gearing up for its 450th property possibly later this year, and Home2 Suites is quickly approaching its 200th property milestone which could also happen before the end of 2017."

• What was it about the extended stay segment that attracted you to it?
"The segment, and Hilton's extended stay brands, Homewood Suites and Home2 Suites were attractive for many reasons. On a personal level, I love the fact that the brands I oversee have 'home' in the names. I'm a family man, and the father of three.  I'm also a business traveller, who like many of our guests, spends a lot of time on the road. The space, comfort, and more importantly, hospitality, we deliver to make our customers feel at home while on road is something I am very proud to take part in. I was also drawn to the strong value proposition offered by Homewood Suites and Home2 Suites. Witnessing the success of these brands has been an incredibly rewarding and fun experience. Moreover, Hilton's extended stay brands, Homewood Suites and Home2 Suites, have made a name for themselves as category leaders."

"Traditionally thought of as a hotel product for suburban markets, thanks to innovative prototypes and development models like multi-branded and adaptive reuse hotels, both brands have rapidly expanded their footprint in high-barrier to entry urban and surban markets. Several years were spent perfecting Homewood Suites' latest prototype design with a goal making it easier to build the brand in competitive markets. The process included ongoing collaboration with owners and resulted in a prototype infused with flexibility, like the ability to have up to 85 percent studio suites in a property, an option that wasn't previously available. Flexibility has been built into Home2 Suites design from the very beginning. The brand is also a great illustration of the power of owners' feedback. Homewood Suites owners approached Hilton executives on multiple occasions, requesting an extended stay product that required less land and lower costs to build. Their instinct was right, and today Home2 Suites is one of the fastest growing brands in the Hilton portfolio."

"Within the first six months of 2017, Homewood Suites, and Home2 Suites opened six properties in urban and surban locations including New Orleans, Dallas and Los Angeles. High-barrier-to-entry markets will continue to be broken into this year with upcoming properties such as Homewood Suites' new hotels in Las Vegas and Downtown Austin, TX; and Home2 Suites' new locations in Downtown Birmingham, AL and Columbia, SC. In January Hilton unveiled its first-ever triple-brand property including a Home2 Suites slated to open in 2019 in Chicago near McCormick Place. This milestone property will join the more than 60 multi-brand hotels in the Hilton pipeline, nearly half of which contain at least one Homewood Suites, Home2 Suites, or sister All Suites brand Embassy Suites. Other noteworthy upcoming multi-brand hotels this year include a dual-branded Home2 Suites and Tru by Hilton property in Murfreesboro, TN and a Homewood Suites and Curio by Hilton property near Los Angeles International Airport."

• Since the creation of the All Suites category at Hilton, the frequency of openings and signings has increased - what do you think is the reason for this?
"By capitalising on synergies across development, marketing, sales and operations, the All Suites brands by Hilton have been able to deliver unprecedented added value to our owners. For instance, a new integrated revenue management system and enhanced cross-selling opportunities have already increased All Suites' market share by 1.1 percent, with gains expected to continue. We also recently launched BRING IT, the All Suites brands' first-ever joint-marketing effort spotlighting the brands' shared consumer-facing offerings, particularly spacious accommodations. The campaign has already garnered more than 460 million impressions, 15 percent more than the brands would have received if they launched their own programs."

"Because of these impressive results, not only have our network of existing owners embraced the All Suites strategy - we now have 192 owners who have two or more of our All Suites brands in their portfolio - but we are forming relationships with new development partners both here in North America and abroad."

• What proportion of Hilton's (open) portfolio and pipeline is made up by the extended stay brands?
"The All Suites brands represent a significant and growing percentage of the Hilton portfolio. As of June 2017, the All Suites brands (Embassy Suites, Homewood Suites and Home2 Suites) collectively made up 16 per cent of Hilton's supply of open hotels, and 25 per cent of the Hilton pipeline of pending properties."

• How much does the ratio of business vs leisure guest vary regionally and between the three brands?
"It really depends on the market. In downtown and urban locales, we have a fairly even mix of both. However, in many of our coastal properties the percentage of leisure guests skews higher. Similarly, our properties nearby major commercial hubs have a larger number of business travellers."

• Do you have plans to bring the All Suites brands to Europe, and specifically the UK? Why do you think the big hotel companies have been slow to come to Europe with their extended stay brands (Marriott opened the first Residence Inn in London last month for example)?
"While we aren't ruling out expansion in Europe, at the moment the All Suites brands are focused on continuing to bolster an already strong presence in Canada. Additionally, Embassy Suites and Homewood Suites are also both setting sights on growth in the Caribbean and Latin America, which represents a growing market for All Suites brands. Homewood Suites is slated to open its doors in Silao, Mexico in November of this year, with four more Latin American/Caribbean properties in the pipeline. Likewise, Embassy Suites is growing its footprint in established resort destinations with upcoming properties in Aruba and St. Kitts & Nevis."

• Do you see the All Suites velocity picking up even further in future? How many properties do you anticipate opening between now and 2020?  
"Averaging a new hotel opening every four days, the All Suites brands by Hilton have opened 49 new hotels over the past six months, and are showing no signs of slowing down. The All Suites brands have nearly 80 hotels in the current pipeline that are scheduled to open in 2017 -  that's about three hotels per week for remainder of year - and are poised to hit 1,000th property in 2019."

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