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.
Hilton (NYSE: HLT) is a leading global hospitality company with a portfolio of 18 world-class brands comprising nearly 6,900 properties and nearly 1.1 million rooms, in 122 countries and territories. Dedicated to fulfilling its founding vision to fill the earth with the light and warmth of hospitality, Hilton has welcomed more than 3 billion guests in its more than 100-year history, earned a top spot on Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For list and been recognized as a global leader on the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices for five consecutive years. Hilton has introduced several 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 133 million 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, Hilton’s first lifestyle brand, is a place in the neighborhood to relax and recharge, offering simple guest-directed service, comfortable spaces and thoughtfully local choices. Each hotel is designed as a natural extension of its neighborhood and delivers a fresh approach to hospitality and the guest experience. The Canopy portfolio includes more than 35 open properties around the globe with 26 under development across 16 countries and territories. Experience a positive stay at Canopy by Hilton by booking at canopybyhilton.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 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 an urban, lifestyle hotel brand in prime locations globally. Motto by Hilton caters to travelers looking for value and one-of-a-kind experiences by bringing together the best elements of a lifestyle hotel – centrally located urban locations, modern design, the best of the neighborhood food and beverage and a local vibe. At its core, Motto delivers a flexible and innovative hospitality experience through elements like first-of-its-kind connecting rooms for group travel, vibrant communal spaces with access to check-in 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 and New York City, with 15 additional properties under development. Motto is part of the award-winning Hilton Honors guest loyalty program. Learn more about Motto by Hilton 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 13 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 2,780 properties in 33 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 and spacious rooms, complimentary Wi-Fi and free hot breakfast. 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 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.
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 inspired amenities for cost-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, free Wi-Fi, multiple outdoor spaces, 24-hour business centers, expansive community spaces and pet-friendly environments. Home2 Suites by Hilton has more than 530 open hotels with more than 560 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.
About Tru by Hilton
Tru by Hilton is a game-changing hotel brand with 215 open locations across North America, providing guests with a consistent, fun experience at an affordable price. Spirited, simplified and grounded in value, Tru by Hilton is designed for cross-generational appeal. Efficiently designed modern guestrooms feature rolling desks, oversized windows for natural light and bright, spacious bathrooms. Guests can enjoy complimentary hot breakfast and free Wi-Fi. Premium snacks, light meal options and single-serve wine and beer are available for purchase at the 24/7 Eat. & Sip. market. Experience a positive stay at Tru by Hilton by booking at trubyhilton.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 Tru by Hilton at stories.hilton.com/trubyhilton, and follow the brand on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.