We talk with Alexandra Jaritz, Global Head of Tru by Hilton, to learn more about a new concept launched by the global hospitality company.
Q: What is the concept of Tru by Hilton?
A: Developed from the ground up using consumer and owner feedback, Tru by Hilton offers a brand-new midscale hotel experience that is vibrant, affordable and young-at-heart. It’s energetic, but it’s relaxing and comfortable. It’s familiar, and it’s also unexpected. It’s uniquely Tru.
Tru by Hilton champions the value conscious traveler and was built from the belief that cost conscious and having a great experience do not have to be mutually exclusive. The brand was built to appeal to a cross-generation of travelers (i.e., Millennials, Generation X and Boomers) who share a zest for life mindset and an open-minded optimism. They appreciate minimal yet meaningful features delivered consistently including a fresh contemporary design and forward-thinking technology, all at a great value. The brand was designed to appeal to business and leisure travelers.
Q: How is it different than other Hilton concepts?
A: Tru by Hilton is a completely unique addition to the Hilton portfolio and the entire midscale segment. Tru by Hilton stands out as its own category, not just in our portfolio but in the entire hotel industry.
The key features that make Tru by Hilton truly unique include:
- All new-build brand, which drives the consistency of experience for guests
- Reimagined, enlarged lobby with 2,880 square feet of public space with areas to work, play games, eat or lounge
- Breakfast is reinvented with the complimentary build-your-own “Top It” breakfast bar that has 30 sweet and savory toppings, so guests can create their own healthy or indulgent morning masterpieces
- Rooms are modern and designed to make every square foot count, with natural light from oversized windows, 55” TV with 150 DIRECTV channels and bright all-shower bathrooms with premium bath amenities
- National and local brand gourmet snacks and drinks — including single-serve beer and wine — are available 24/7 in the “Eat. & Sip.” market located in the heart of the lobby
- Tech savvy hotel with mobile check-in, Digital Key, free superfast Wi-Fi, remote printing, social media wall, lobby and market iPads, super-charging stations and accessibility to outlets everywhere
- A fitness center that leverages the latest fitness trends through barre, TRX bands, free weights, cardio and flexibility gear, plus guests can get workout ideas from the fitness center tablet
- All the benefits of a Hilton Honors membership are available to Tru by Hilton including Diamond Member parking, welcome gift for our elite members, and the ability to earn five points for every dollar spent
Q: What has been the biggest challenge?
A: When creating Tru by Hilton, we faced a number of challenges that we wholeheartedly embraced. First, we challenged everything we knew about the hospitality industry and questioned the status quo on current hotel features and amenities offered in the midscale segment. By starting the innovation process with a blank canvas, embracing an outside-in perspective and learning from other industries, we were able to develop a unique product.
For example, traditional components of a “hotel” were analyzed and questioned, such as the size of the guest room and lobby. The Tru team reimagined the lobby: enlarged significantly with areas for lounging, working, eating or playing. The lobby’s work space used inspiration from modern office design with private and collaborative workspaces fit for the mobile worker, including sound-absorbing work booths. We also opted to use luxury vinyl tile flooring (LVT) instead of carpets for an easy to clean and maintain option. We nixed overbearing doored closets and tubs in favor of showers, making rooms more efficient. This is all unprecedented for the midscale category.
Second, we had to encourage risk-taking and innovative approaches from the start. One example: The Tru brand team fast-tracked the development process with unconventional testing techniques and technology. Prototype testers experienced full-size cardboard guest rooms in real time – and then manipulated the design using 3-D visualizations before the actual prototype rooms were created. It was spectacular!
Q: What travel trends do you predict for 2017?
A: Going into 2017, travelers want to be able to be connected at all times, either technologically or with other people, but also want the flexibility to disconnect whenever they want. Tru by Hilton engenders an environment for this with the enlarged, open-space lobby that features unique ways for guests to interact with others or be “socially alone.” On the technology front, travelers also crave the flexibility of being able to connect wherever, whenever. That’s why at Tru by Hilton we offer complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi and an average of 14 outlets in every guest room, so travelers can connect when they need to without delay.
Q: What is your favorite travel destination? Why?
A: My favorite travel destination is Thailand, since I grew up there from the age of 9-19. My dad was a hotelier, which provided my family the opportunity to live in and get to know many different parts of the world. We often lived in the hotels my father managed. I was born in Germany, but grew up all around the world and spent a majority of my youth in Bangkok and Chiang Mai. I love the Thai culture, food, and beauty of the country; and reminiscing about where I grew up and the wonderful experiences I had in the country makes one of my favorite destinations to visit.