Hilton’s Tempo is ideal for the Modern Achiever

MCLEAN, Va. — Tempo by Hilton is the company’s first elevated, yet approachable, lifestyle brand. CLN talked to global head of New Brand

From left: Hilton's chief customer officer John Witter, president and CEO Chris Nassetta and global head New Brand Development Phil Cordell unveiled Tempo last month.
From left: Hilton’s chief customer officer John Witter, president and CEO Chris Nassetta and global head New Brand Development Phil Cordell unveiled Tempo last month.

MCLEAN, Va. — Tempo by Hilton is the company’s first elevated, yet approachable, lifestyle brand, “Designed for the Rhythm of Life”. Canadian Lodging News interviewed global head of New Brand Development Phil Cordell about this brand and its suitability for Canada.

CLN: What are some of this brand’s features that differentiate it from other Hilton brands?

Phil Cordell: Tempo by Hilton joins our portfolio as Hilton’s very first elevated, yet approachable lifestyle brand. We designed it from the ground up to meet and surpass the expectations of today’s highly discerning travellers, more specifically a new subset we’re calling the modern achiever. This emerging class of traveller is ambitious and constantly working towards personal and professional goals, looking for ways to improve themselves and the world around them.

As part of the new brand development process, we’ve taken an entirely new approach to how we developed each facet of the Tempo by Hilton brand, including speaking to and surveying more than 10,000 consumers. Our findings informed every aspect of the brand, and allowed us to curate all components — from design, to amenities, to cost — to better address the needs and wants of our target consumer.

Hilton identified a new class of traveller, the Modern Achiever.
Hilton identified a new class of traveller, the Modern Achiever.

After an exhaustive research effort, we successfully identified a new class of traveller that we are calling the modern achiever. Spanning beyond any arbitrary age range, we are focusing on the modern achiever’s mindset and lifestyle. We have found them to be ambitious, with high standards for themselves personally and professionally – and these standards extend to all aspects of their lives, especially their preferred travel experience. According to our studies, many of these modern achievers report feeling uninspired by current offerings within their price range. Having discovered this, we crafted a unique blend of uplifting design, thoughtful amenities and F&B offerings into Tempo by Hilton, specifically to help ambitious guests continue on their journey without disrupting their routines.

The modern achiever wants to maintain their routine even while travelling. For this reason, Tempo by Hilton has developed wellness, fitness and F&B offerings that help guests stick to their normal rhythm of life, limiting the disruptions that can come with being on the road. Instated to help guests continue their journey towards reaching their full potential, Tempo by Hilton’s alignment with Arianna Huffington’s renowned well-being platform Thrive Global has allowed us to develop an assortment of morning and bedtime rituals that will help guests “Power Up” for their day and/or “Power Down” for more effective rest.

These include a range of Microsteps, from guided stretching and breathing exercises, steps that can be done in 30 seconds and can be easily incorporated into morning or evening habit-stacking routines, helping guests be at their best when on the road; as well as “Power Down,” a meditative video and audio series created to help settle down for sleep and winding your brain down.

We are also collaborating with Blau + Associates, professional restaurateurs with a passion for exceptional food and beverage concepts, to form a Chef Collective, an advisory board of up-and-coming chefs who will curate fresh, exciting and healthy culinary options such as seasonal menus.

CLN: What is its comp set?

Phil Cordell: Our research actually shows us that Tempo by Hilton sits in a unique place within the industry. Our concept is both elevated and attainable, separating it from other lifestyle-driven hospitality concepts, which has allowed us to target a rising demographic of travellers who are looking for a brand that not only reflects their success, but also empowers them to be their best selves — an ever growing demographic in the industry that needs a brand that allows them to maintain their routine while on the road.

In terms of its place within the Hilton portfolio, Tempo by Hilton rounds out Hilton’s portfolio of upscale brands, joining Hilton Garden Inn, DoubleTree by Hilton, Tapestry Collection by Hilton and Homewood Suites by Hilton as a new, lifestyle brand.

CLN: Would this brand be suitable for Canada? What locations in Canada would be suitable?

Phil Cordell.
Phil Cordell.

Phil Cordell: Right now, the plan for Tempo by Hilton is to focus on growth within the U.S., where we believe we can scale up to 500 hotels. Tempo by Hilton is designed for urban neighborhoods, as well as select “surban” communities that are located just outside a major city but still offer many urban amenities. For example, Tempo by Hilton could be a fit in mixed-use developments, providing guests proximity to entertainment, retail, and dining options.

However, we see great opportunity to expand this brand throughout the Americas and expect properties in Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America will soon follow. With that said, in Canada we are looking less toward “surban” locations, and more toward areas in city centres and downtown urban neighborhoods.

Of course, before any deals are signed, our team of experts would conduct a thorough analysis to confirm which of our brands is best suited for the area, as well as identify any other nuances specific to the region.

CLN: What are some of the advantages for developers?

Phil Cordell: As with all of our brands, we consulted owners and developers throughout the entire development process of Tempo by Hilton, keeping their needs top of mind. Tempo by Hilton provides hotel owners and developers with a highly-scalable and design-driven lifestyle brand that is easy to build, yet flexible, and designed to offer a compelling value, supported by an efficient operating model that far exceeds what is currently found throughout competing hospitality concepts.

With owner ROI in mind from start to finish, Tempo by Hilton owners will have the powerful Hilton engine at their disposal, allowing them to tap into the 100 million Hilton Honors members driving over 62 per cent of occupancy to the company’s portfolio of brands. While we do not have control over the ADR in individual markets, Tempo by Hilton will achieve a rate premium over traditional select service, while targeting a similar cost to build and operating model.

Despite the various upscale offerings on the market, there is significant room for growth in the category, especially within highly sought-after destinations, with little to no modern achiever-friendly options.

This combination of unmatched corporate support, compelling product offerings and approachable price point creates massive opportunity for owners and developers.

CLN: What are some of the advantages for travellers?

Tempo's Get Ready Zone.
Tempo’s Get Ready Zone.

Phil Cordell: All facets of the brand were designed to better address the needs and wants of our target demographic – the modern achiever.

Overall, we focused on gearing Tempo by Hilton to help guests continue being their best even while travelling, inspiring us to create a brand that meets every guest and travel need, at all locations. This begins with public spaces that immediately welcome and embrace visitors with stunning design aspects paired with art collections that inspire.

Through our partnership with Blau + Associates, we were able to create an F&B program that features a premium coffee and tea bar with benefit-driven, functional mix-ins and flavorings, an innovative breakfast offering with a variety of delicious options – from smoothies and lattes to breakfast sandwiches and bowls– and a bar featuring spirited and spirit-free cocktails, perfect to start and/or end the evening.

Another key example of this mindful approach is how we handled sleep quality. During our R&D process, we found that as many as 96 per cent of our respondents were interested in assistance with relaxation and sleep quality. Because of this, we’re partnering with Thrive Global, Arianna Huffington’s renowned behavior change platform, to develop a series of microsteps that help individuals power down for more restful sleep, and power up for the day ahead. The Microsteps range from writing, stretching and breathing exercises meant to awaken and calm guests’ bodies and minds, to meditative visual and audio content conveniently available through the in-room TV.

CLN: What will the common areas be like?

Tempo by Hilton common area, East Coast.

Phil Cordell: Much like the rest of the brand, Tempo by Hilton’s common areas were designed to provide a thoughtful and inspiring space. We started by putting ourselves in the shoes of the modern achiever. Knowing how busy this group is, spending countless hours on their smart devices, we decided to integrate “Look Up” Moments” in all common areas. These surprising design touches range from curated art collections placed in uncommon locations — even ceilings — as well as other unexpected details that inspire guests and encourage them to “look up.”

Providing comfortable work spaces, both for groups and individuals, was also a priority, which is why our guests will be able to book non-traditional, energizing and flexible meeting spaces. More importantly, each is specifically aimed at either facilitating collaboration or focused, individual tasks.

Other common area offerings will include an elevated, yet convenient café-style offering a variety of delicious breakfast options – from smoothies and lattes to breakfast sandwiches and bowls; a complimentary premium coffee and tea bar with mix-ins that add flavor and health-boosting effects; and finally Tempo by Hilton’s inviting bar experience, featuring spirited and spirit-free cocktails and a selection of small plates.

CLN: How large will the guest rooms be?

Tempo by Hilton guest room.

Phil Cordell: Tempo by Hilton guest rooms are designed as welcoming retreats where travellers can recharge, unwind and prepare for the day ahead. They all feature a reimagined layout that combines a spacious bath suite and Get Ready Zone with a thoughtfully-designed sleep environment.

The sizes will vary by market, but a standard king room sits somewhere around 300 square feet and a standard double queen will be closer to 340 square feet. All will be Connected Room-enabled.

CLN: How do you see the rollout of Tempo happening?

Phil Cordell: The rollout is taking place as we speak. We had robust interest amongst a founding group of owners leading up to launch, and that pace has only quickened now that the brand has been made public. There are more than 30 individual commitments to date with properties confirmed in several prime markets across the U.S., including New York, Maui, Boston, Los Angeles, Louisville, Nashville, San Diego, Charlotte, Washington D.C., Houston, Atlanta, and more. An additional 30 deals are in various stages of development.

The brand was designed with a flexibility that will allow owners to easily add a Tempo by Hilton to their existing portfolios. With this in mind, we expect to see many more confirmed deals shortly in in-demand locations where the modern achiever is not currently being well-served.

CLN: Is there a story behind the name?

Phil Cordell: We chose the name “Tempo” because this brand is designed for the rhythm of life. All facets of the brand were created under the guiding principle that a well-designed space has the power to transform your mood, open new perspectives and help bring out your best. The brand was designed from the ground up as an approachable, yet elevated lifestyle brand to fit seamlessly into the rhythm of our guests’ lives, and we feel the name perfectly captures our guiding principle.

We chose to include “by Hilton” to the name, adding value to both owners, knowing they are supported by Hilton’s proven commercial engine, and guests, who are comfortable with Hilton’s reliability. Including “by Hilton” will immediately give Tempo by Hilton credibility with guests, developers, the media and all audiences to whom we tell our story.

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