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5 Questions for Phil Cordell, Hilton Global Category Head, Hilton Lifestyle Brands & Global Brand Head, Canopy by Hilton

This week, Hilton’s Lifestyle Brands announced more than 10 new global property signings across both Motto by Hilton and Tempo by Hilton, two of the latest brands in the expanding Lifestyle category. 

Here, Phil Cordell, global category head, Hilton Lifestyle Brands, shares his insights on the lifestyle sector, provides details on Hilton’s three lifestyle brands and explains how he connects with local communities when traveling. Cordell has more than three decades of travel industry experience, launching iconic Hilton brands such as Hampton, Home2 Suites and Tru. He now oversees the strategic growth and development of Hilton’s Lifestyle category, which includes Canopy by Hilton, Motto by Hilton, and Tempo by Hilton. 

Can you give us some history on the lifestyle concept and explain Hilton’s take on the category?

PC: When it started, lifestyle hotels represented more of the “cool kid’s club.” They had dramatic lighting, loud music and were considered by many people to be unapproachable. At Hilton, we wanted to make lifestyle approachable but still aspirational, design-driven and culturally relevant. Our target audience doesn’t want a cookie-cutter approach. They want a great vibe and an authentic experience. So, we created properties that are comfortable yet also have that unique “Instagrammable” factor. 

How is staying at a Hilton lifestyle hotel different than a traditional hotel experience?

PC: Certain hotels have a very distinct feel. It’s as if everything came from a catalog. The furniture is almost overly curated and matching, and the space is very segmented. At our lifestyle hotels, there is a managed inconsistency. There's a sense of familiarity, but there's also a sense of novelty.

We use this idea of 60-30-10. Sixty percent of the experience delivers enough familiarity that a customer will feel comfortable. The next 30% makes someone think, “That's more than I expected.” And the final 10% is the “wow” factor. For example, a craft cocktail from the bar would be slightly different than what you would expect, but not so unusual that you don't want to try it.

At our lifestyle hotels, guests can expect somebody at the front desk who's plugged into the local neighborhood, who knows the fun spaces to check out and can be a resource throughout the stay. The hotels are intimate and approachable and have public spaces that invite you in. You can be casual and comfortable, yet still feel a bit pampered. 

Can you describe the different brand personalities of Motto, Tempo, and Canopy?

PC: Motto is targeted to the urban explorer and for those who want to be in the city center. The rooms have a smaller, more efficient footprint, yet also provide flexible layouts and the ability to connect up to nine rooms for larger group travel. Our hotels provide a launchpad to the local scene, not the tourist attractions. Motto is for someone who is more cost-conscious yet wants to enjoy quality, locally driven food and drinks. It’s designed to be a community hub in the heart of up-and-coming urban areas.

Tempo targets a bit of a broader guest demographic, providing an elevated yet approachable experience that meets both professional and personal travel needs. You’ll find more consistency here, but there will be some unique touches at each property, whether through design or food and drink offerings. Tempo hotels, which will be in suburban-urban areas, have a more contemporary design and uplifting atmosphere.

Finally, Canopy is all about experiencing a destination like a local. It’s a vibrant, boutique hotel brand for those who want to explore but also prefer a more elevated and upscale experience. Each property feels like an extension of the neighborhood, with locally inspired design elements and Team Members who are experts on the newest hot spots in town. Canopy provides a sophisticated yet comfortable reprieve.

How do you foster innovation and creative thinking among your Hilton team?

PC: I view our lifestyle space as an area where we have license to play around, test, learn and innovate. We are thoughtful and directional but not prescriptive. We give ourselves permission to try a lot of things. If you allow your team to think differently and encourage that type of thinking, cool stuff will happen.

We find inspiration everywhere. For example, one of our colleagues was walking in New York, looking down at her phone, and some guy said to her, “Do you ever take a minute to look up?” When she shared that story, it resonated with us. We thought about how to incorporate the “look up” ethos into our brands. It fit perfectly with the motivated, driven mindset of Tempo’s target audience. So, we now incorporate “look up” moments into the guest experience—whether through a unique piece of art on the ceiling or a front desk interaction where our Team Members will always look up and make eye contact with a guest. 

You’re a seasoned traveler who has spent most of your adult life at far-flung locations. What’s your personal travel style like?

PC: There are a few travel habits I’ve acquired over the years. For one, unless it's an extremely long trip, I never check a bag. I also reuse the plastic dry cleaner bags, layering them in to keep my packed clothes from getting wrinkled. On a more meaningful level, on every trip I take, I do at least one thing that connects me to the local community. It could be going across the street to a new local coffee place or visiting a cool little donut shop that just opened. It makes every trip a learning experience and a bit of an adventure.

About Tempo by Hilton

Tempo by Hilton is a stylish and contemporary lifestyle hotel brand with more than 10 properties under development. Pioneering a new hospitality category, Tempo by Hilton is dedicated to exceeding the expectations of the ambitious, modern traveler and offering accommodations thoughtfully designed to help guests relax and recharge, including an open lobby concept with dedicated spaces to relax, work and dine, as well as premium culinary options, such as the brand’s signature coffee fuel bar, a casual breakfast cafe and an inviting bar experience. Created to serve a rising class of highly discerning guests committed to personal growth and development, Tempo by Hilton amenities include well-being offerings, state-of-the-art fitness facilities and programs, flexible meeting and working spaces and more. Learn more about Tempo by Hilton at newsroom.hilton.com/tempo.


About Hilton

Hilton (NYSE: HLT) is a leading global hospitality company with a portfolio of 24 world-class brands comprising more than 7,600 properties and nearly 1.2 million rooms, in 126 countries and territories. Dedicated to fulfilling its founding vision to fill the earth with the light and warmth of hospitality, Hilton has welcomed over 3 billion guests in its more than 100-year history, was named the No. 1 World’s Best Workplace by Great Place to Work and Fortune and has been recognized as a global leader on the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices for seven consecutive years. Hilton has introduced industry-leading technology enhancements to improve the guest experience, including Digital Key Share, automated complimentary room upgrades and the ability to book confirmed connecting rooms. Through the award-winning guest loyalty program Hilton Honors, the nearly 190 million Hilton Honors members who book directly with Hilton can earn Points for hotel stays and experiences money can't buy. With the free Hilton Honors app, guests can book their stay, select their room, check in, unlock their door with a Digital Key and check out, all from their smartphone. Visit stories.hilton.com for more information, and connect with Hilton on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube.


About Canopy by Hilton

Canopy by Hilton delivers elevated, boutique hotel experiences that immerse guests in the best of the locale. Inviting, sophisticated design, bespoke food & beverage and crafted touchpoints deliver a locally inspired, high-end and welcoming stay. The Canopy portfolio includes more than 40 open properties around the globe with 40 under development across 18 countries and territories. Experience Canopy by Hilton by booking at canopybyhilton.com or through the industry-leading Hilton Honors appHilton Honors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels have access to instant benefits. Learn more about Canopy by Hilton at stories.hilton.com/canopybyhilton, and follow the brand on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.  


About Motto by Hilton

Motto by Hilton is a dynamic, stylish micro-hotel experience designed to connect guests to the center of it all – the best block, the buzziest spaces, the pulse of the community. Through its incredible locations, efficient guest rooms, active lobby, and locally inspired food and beverage options, Motto by Hilton is a launchpad to destinations around the globe. Motto by Hilton delivers a flexible and innovative hospitality experience through elements like first-of-its-kind connecting guestrooms for up to 9 rooms, lively communal spaces and a coffee house and bar for work and social use by guests and locals alike. Check out Motto by Hilton in Washington D.C., Philadelphia, New York City, Tulum and Rotterdam by booking at mottobyhilton.com or through the industry-leading Hilton Honors app. Hilton Honors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels have access to instant benefits. Learn more about Motto by Hilton and its more than 20 additional properties under development at stories.hilton.com/motto, and follow the brand on Facebook and Instagram.


About Hampton by Hilton

As the No. 1 ranked lodging franchise for the last 15 years by Entrepreneur®, Hampton by Hilton — including Hampton Inn by Hilton and Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton — serves quality-driven and value-conscious travelers at more than 3,000 properties in 40 countries and territories around the globe. The brand continues to lead its segment by providing guests with high quality, thoughtfully designed accommodations and amenities, such as modern, spacious rooms and free hot breakfast featuring the signature Hampton Waffle. Hampton by Hilton is committed to delivering an exceptionally friendly and authentic service all backed by the 100% Hampton Guarantee™. Experience a positive stay at Hampton by Hilton by booking at hampton.com or through the or through the industry-leading Hilton Honors app. Hilton Honors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels have access to instant benefits. Learn more about Hampton by Hilton at stories.hilton.com/hampton, and follow the brand on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Hilton Honors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels have access to instant benefits. Learn more about Hampton by Hilton at stories.hilton.com/hampton, and follow the brand on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


About Home2 Suites by Hilton

Home2 Suites by Hilton, one of the fastest growing brands in Hilton’s history, is a mid-tier, all-suite, award-winning extended-stay hotel concept designed to offer stylish accommodations with flexible guest room configurations and home-like amenities for value-conscious guests and their pets. With a commitment to environmentally friendly products and hotel operations, Home2 Suites by Hilton offers complimentary hot breakfast, innovative and customizable guestroom designs, laundry and fitness areas, multiple outdoor spaces, 24-hour business centers, expansive community spaces and pet-friendly environments. Home2 Suites by Hilton has nearly 670 open hotels with more than 700 in development. Experience a positive stay at Home2 Suites by Hilton by booking at home2suites.com or through the industry-leading Hilton Honors app. Hilton Honors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels have access to instant benefits. Learn more about Home2 Suites by Hilton at stories.hilton.com/home2suites, and follow the brand on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.