New Hilton Brand Targets Millennials–Will it Work?

It’s no secret that millennials are traveling more and companies are starting to cater to the needs of our generation.  In this spirit, Hilton recently announced Tru by Hilton, a cost conscience hotel brand that targets millennials.  Hilton offers the following description of Tru by Hilton:

Tru by Hilton is a category disrupter. It’s built from a belief that being cost conscious and having a great stay don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Tru focuses on what matters most to guests, with a hotel that is more than just a place to sleep, it’s a true travel experience.

With lower upfront investment costs, a stringent focus on operational efficiency and simplicity, and a focus on those things most highly valued by guests, this all-new-build, franchise-only brand is designed to be easy to build, operate and maintain and to appeal to millions of consumers who feel they have to compromise between price and a quality experience. Not any more!

By creating an original, back-to-basics experience with soul – grounded in value and anchored in the DNA of Hilton – we will win the hearts and minds of guests who are looking for social engagement, unexpected certainty and vibrant simplicity.

Do these videos make you want to stay at Tru by Hilton?

This video reflects Tru by Hilton’s marketing strategy.  I’m a millennial and I find the marketing strategy repulsive.


This video offers a tour of Tru by Hilton.  You’ll notice the cool common areas and the lack of a desk in the rooms.

Here’s what we know so far:

  • Tru has 102 locations (soon to increase) in US cities such as Atlanta, Houston, and Chicago
  • The target cost will be $90-100 per night
  • “We’ll use clever graphics and unexpected winks to spark a conversation with our guests.”
  • “We’ll use vibrant colors and patterns that are playful.”
  • “We’ll make it easy for guests to power up and connect by incorporating charging solutions and smart technology integrations throughout the hotel.
  • The lobby will be called the “Hive” and will feature an expansive common area with zones for play, work, etc.
  • Snacks will be sold at “the Hive”
  • The rooms won’t have desks


The Hive is pretty awesome.


The room doesn’t have a desk.  The thing over the air conditioning unit provides extra seating.

How Millennials Pick Hotels

Millennials are typically defined as folks born between the early 80’s and early 2000’s which includes individuals aged 15 and 30.  As you can imagine, the traveling habits and needs of a 15-year old is different than that of a 30-year old.  Millennials, over 18-years old, traveling for leisure typically use the following process to pick their hotels:

  1. Location: millennials who travel to large cities will want to see their hotel located downtown, preferably within walking distance of restaurants and bars.  The hotel should also be located within walking distance of public transportation that will connect to either an airport or train station.  A location in a safe, well-lit area is also important.
  2. Price: once the general location is selected, the responsive hotels will be evaluated based on price.  Millennials typically have a ton of student debt, so price is certainly an important factor.
  3. Free wifi/ breakfast: once the hotels that fit within the budget are picked, free wifi and breakfast are used as distinguishing factors.
  4. Other amenities: if free wifi and breakfast does not distinguish the hotels, then other amenities are evaluated.  The remaining amenities can include work out facilities, free snacks/ coffee, atmosphere, pool, loyalty program, etc.

Of course, this list does not reflect how all millennials book hotels.  Some are not constrained by budgets and others are very loyal to their hotel chains.

My current favorite hotel that does an excellent job of catering toward millennials is the Hyatt Andaz.  The Hyatt Andaz is a “luxury botique hotel” and offers a sleek/modern marketing approach which reaches millennials who are both traveling for work and leisure.  The Hyatt Andaz only has a few locations but they are located in major US cities, reasonably priced given the value ($149/night for its Wall Street, New York location), provide complimentary high speed wifi, and offer other nice amenities (complimentary snacks, cookies, and coffee and a work out facility).


Hyatt Andaz Wall Street.  Yep, that’s the tub just to the right of the bed.  It was amazing.

Will Tru By Hilton Attract Millennials?

It’s too early to tell.  Hilton has not yet announced where the Tru hotels will be located in major US cities–I anticipate this will be one of the most important factors in determining the success of the brand.  The $90-100 price point is on target.


A piece from Tru by Hilton’s marketing campaign.

While I think the hotel nailed the common area concept by offering a large area where people can come and hang out/ work/ eat, I am disappointed by the branding that is intended to reach millennials.  The colorful circles and meaningless three letter words that are scattered throughout the hotel make the hotel feel more like a daycare than a hotel.  I’m also concerned by the lack of a desk in the hotel room.  If you require more than just a laptop to do work, the common area will likely not offer sufficient table space to do meaningful work.  While I realize that Tru by Hilton appears to target more of a leisure millennial traveler, I also know that many millennials work while on vacation 🙂


I’ll likely stay at a Tru by Hilton once so I can review it, but I do not see myself staying there otherwise.


Do you think that millennials will want to stay at Tru by Hilton?  Feel free to drop a comment below.

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