Spark By Hilton: New “Premium Economy” Hotel Brand With Bagels

Spark By Hilton: New “Premium Economy” Hotel Brand With Bagels

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Hilton Honors has today unveiled the details of its newest hotel brand, Spark by Hilton.

What is the new Spark by Hilton brand?

As Hilton describes it, Spark by Hilton is a new premium economy lodging option intended to meet the needs of even more guests and owners seeking value, quality, and consistency. The brand is intended to offer a simple, reliable, and comfortable stay, at an accessible price. Hilton already has over 100 Spark by Hilton deals in various stage of development across the United States, with the first property expected to open this year.

Spark by Hilton brand

Spark by Hilton is designed to create greater value for hotel owners. Specifically, this is intended to be a cost-effective conversion brand, providing an opportunity for existing properties in the economy segment to go a bit upmarket.

Here’s how Hilton describes some of the signature elements of the Spark by Hilton brand (I’m just copying and pasting, because I can’t really paraphrase some of this fluff):

  • Thoughtful Simplicity: Spark by Hilton will offer simple, inspired design with splashes of color and cheer that bring the outdoors in. Each hotel will provide a welcoming sense of arrival with colorful exterior statement walls and energizing artwork. The public space will feature multi-functional seating from communal tables to rocking chairs, offering plenty of options for guests to enjoy breakfast, socialize or work throughout the day. Guest rooms will be comfortable and relaxing so travelers can unwind and recharge for whatever comes next. Focusing on practical amenities, the simple, streamlined furniture will include an open closet, in-room refrigerator, multi-purpose work surface and bright bathroom. 
  • Reliable Service: As part of the Hilton family of brands, ​guests will feel welcome and confident in their stay from the moment they walk through the door. Warm and inviting hotel team members with attention to detail will provide happy and helpful service. And, guests will be empowered with the tools needed to make the most of their stay, such as 24-hour digital check-in and Digital Key.  ​  
  • Unexpected Touches: Spark by Hilton will help add value to the guest experience by offering a simple, complimentary breakfast, featuring premium coffee, juice and a signature bagel bar with spreads, so guests can fuel up before hitting the road. The brand will also offer a 24-hour retail market for on-the-go travelers.  
  • Consistent Quality: To ensure the goal of a consistent, quality guest experience, each hotel will be required to complete a full renovation, encompassing all guest-facing areas of the hotel, prior to joining Spark by Hilton and the Hilton family. 

Where does the Spark by Hilton name come from? Hilton claims it “signifies the start of something great, a moment of ignition as we add energy and moment into the category and deliver the most reliable and friendly stays.”

Below you can a marketing video introducing the Spark by Hilton brand.

Then below are some renderings of the Spark by Hilton concept.

Spark by Hilton exterior
Spark by Hilton lobby
Spark by Hilton guest room
Spark by Hilton guest room
Spark by Hilton guest room
Spark by Hilton guest room
Spark by Hilton guest room
Spark by Hilton lobby seating
Spark by Hilton lobby seating
Spark by Hilton complimentary coffee
Spark by Hilton complimentary bagel bar
Spark by Hilton public spaces

Why hotel groups create new hotel brands

Before I share my thoughts on the new Spark by Hilton brand, I think it makes sense to talk about why hotel groups start new hotel brands. It’s not necessarily to be able to sell to consumers, but rather to be able to sell to hotel owners.

For the most part, the global hotel chains don’t own most of their hotels, but rather they have management or franchise contracts for them. The reason they create so many new brands is so they have something to pitch to investors.

They try to make each brand seem unique, in hopes of getting an owner to choose their brand over a competitor. That’s why there’s also such little innovation when it comes to new hotel brands. Instead I feel like we just see each of the major hotel brands introduce similar concepts over and over.

My take on the new Spark by Hilton brand

It’s kind of amazing to me the extent to which hotel brand concepts run together. A few thoughts:

  • I love how Hilton is highlighting how this brand will feature reliable service and consistent quality — are there any Hilton brands that the company wouldn’t describe in this way?
  • I think “thoughtful simplicity” would describe any limited service hotel brand, no?
  • The only unique feature I see here is that there will be a complimentary breakfast consisting of a bagel bar, coffee, and juice
  • As much as I love a fresh New York bagel (or something of the sort), having the focus of breakfast being (presumably) frozen bagels seems a bit odd to me
  • Cleary the primary intent of this new brand is to allow hotel owners to invest to go a bit upmarket, from lower end limited service brands
  • Renderings are usually unrealistically nice, though these renderings just don’t look that great to me; to me the hotels look really cheap, and like they’re lacking any sort of interesting design

Bottom line

Spark by Hilton is the newest hotel brand. This will be a “premium economy” brand, with the only real unique element being a breakfast bagel bar. Hilton clearly sees this primarily as a brand designed for existing properties to convert to, based on the limited upgrade costs.

Ultimately these new brands are designed for hotel owners, and we’re just the product. I still can’t help but find all of the communications around these new brands to be disingenuous, like highlighting that reliable service and consistent quality are main features, as if that’s not something Hilton thinks of all of its brands.

What do you make of the Spark by Hilton brand?

Conversations (57)
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  1. s.a. Guest

    Have you stayed at a Red Roof Inn or Super 8 lately? For budget travelers a safe, clean hotel that offers a little bit of breakfast sounds like an appealing option. I stay exclusively at Hilton brands and I have heard horror stories about other hotels. Once I was checking in at one and a couple came in frantic because while checking in at a nearby Clarion a guest walked up to the front desk...

    Have you stayed at a Red Roof Inn or Super 8 lately? For budget travelers a safe, clean hotel that offers a little bit of breakfast sounds like an appealing option. I stay exclusively at Hilton brands and I have heard horror stories about other hotels. Once I was checking in at one and a couple came in frantic because while checking in at a nearby Clarion a guest walked up to the front desk with two crack pipes in her hand. I don't know about you, but I would take a bagel over a crack pipe any day.

  2. E.C. from D.C. Guest

    Really? A mini fridge without a microwave in the room?
    can you/we request one in our rooms. I feel maybe irrationally annoyed but give me both or neither. I don't want to be "forced" to have to run to the lobby anytime I wanted to heat/reheat anything and then it looks like it's just ONE that the ENTIRE hotel has to share?! o__O

  3. Frank Guest

    Oh hey, Four Points! Looks like you change your name to Spark?

  4. Randy Guest

    mini refrig but no in room microwaves??? no thank you

    1. E.C. from D.C. Guest

      ***sighs*** give me both or neither. It's really annoying having a mini-fridge but being "forced" to have to go to the lobby to reheat/heat anything. --_--

  5. Steven E Guest

    Looks a little “Ibis” like

  6. Alissa Davison Guest

    It looks just like Tru...and personally I feel like affordable hotel stays are what Best Western and Choice hotels are for and when I want a little more, Hilton, Sheraton, and Marriott hotels are where I'll go! But I recently stayed at a Hilton hotel and was utterly grossed out by the state of the rooms cleanliness and smells in the halls, and actually wrote to Hilton, accompanied with pictures that would shock most Motel 6 guests,etc alone Hilton!!!

  7. Gray Guest

    Wow, exactly what we needed! A new, vaguely indistinguishable hotel brand from a major chain!

  8. Jim Guest

    An uninspiring shelf stable breakfast bar, boring featureless lobby, hideously faux modern room with no comfortable place to relax except for the bed and a sterile looking bathroom with no discernible features. Just was guests want.

    Whoever wrote these ads must have just graduated with a marketing degree. They should be reassigned to the mailroom where they can do no harm.

  9. BRMM Guest

    Even the photo looks like an old Hampton Inn that's repainted. I guess that's a logical strategy--allows Hamptons who can't keep up with the brand standards to stay in the Hilton family. I just don't like the Wyndham-is feel of integrating economy brands into the portfolio.

  10. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

    So a Hilton version of Comfort Inn? I note there was no mention of a gym. It also implied the front desk will not be staffed 24/7.

  11. iamhere Guest

    Looks similar to a Courtyard in the US or a Fairfield.

  12. PaulS Guest

    Lower priced brands typically start out very nice. The cost difference is the savings in ongoing maintenance. It's the worn towels, frayed linens, bald carpets and scuffs and scratches that remain unfixed that differentiate between a higher level brand and the lower priced ones. We have all seen it and have read reviews about how a hotel was so nice when we first stayed there but it's showing us age.

  13. JT Guest

    They should have done away with bath tubs and gone with showers.
    Other than that, an OK property for business travel or those who aren’t looking for fluff.

  14. doc Guest

    Not Hampden Inns, TRU hotels die...

  15. SK Ho Guest

    Honestly, I don't see anything new - just rehashed over and over again. I agree with you having a bagel bar is not particularly appealing - especially in markets who may not even know what a bagel is.

    1. Grant Guest

      This isn’t 1973 anymore. McDonalds has had bagel sandwiches for what now, 30 years? Where are these places again?

      And fwiw, there’s no nEw yOrK BaGeL that can hold a candle to a Montreal style bagel. But you probably don’t know that because anything from New York has to be the best, right?

  16. Fsuga Guest

    This will end up being a Doubletree for existing Hampton's and HGI's when it's time to downgrade them.

  17. JamesW Guest

    I still prefer Home2 Suites. Expansive rooms, full kitchens, and just enough color to be fun but not overdone. And all at a reasonable price.

  18. David H Guest

    This will most likely be a conversion brand, with limited new builds. And in lots of locations that people just need a place for the night, small towns, and close to an interstate. Converting existing Choice hotels, Country Inn, Best Westerns etc. This gives the owner access to major brand recognition, marketing, central reservations, HH etc. There is definitely a place in the market for these hotels. They're not meant to be anything special, or...

    This will most likely be a conversion brand, with limited new builds. And in lots of locations that people just need a place for the night, small towns, and close to an interstate. Converting existing Choice hotels, Country Inn, Best Westerns etc. This gives the owner access to major brand recognition, marketing, central reservations, HH etc. There is definitely a place in the market for these hotels. They're not meant to be anything special, or look special. Just a clean hotel for one maybe 2 nights.

  19. SamB Gold

    The open wardrobe next to the window is in a terrible spot. It's depressing that it's right in your line of sight when you enter the room. It's far away from the bathroom/mirror. It's also kind of gross to have to roll suitcases on the carpet around the bed.

  20. Monique Guest

    It seems similar to the Tru Hilton. The only different would be the breakfast. Tru serves pancakes, fruit, bagels and toast, juice, coffee and tea.

  21. Andrew Diamond

    Looks like Cricket Wireless branded a hotel. Hot.

  22. reddargon Diamond

    Just to pile on here, this looks decidedly shitty, for lack of a better word. The Hampton Inn I used to semi-regularly stay in seems much nicer than the renderings here. And I'm probably too picky when it comes to bagels, but I would be shocked if these aren't incredibly disappointing.

    Surprised everyone's favorite commenter hasn't shown up yet to tell us why we're all wrong.

  23. IrishAlan Member

    Sounds like Sleep Inn or LaQuinta moving to the Hilton portfolio in essence.

    I wish we could get a true affordable and safe economy hotel chain in the US! I think of some of the very nice Premier Inns I’ve stayed at in the UK and gotten rooms for their £29 entry saver rate. Similarly had various Accor properties across Europe for less than €60 a night.

    In the US you’ll almost never find...

    Sounds like Sleep Inn or LaQuinta moving to the Hilton portfolio in essence.

    I wish we could get a true affordable and safe economy hotel chain in the US! I think of some of the very nice Premier Inns I’ve stayed at in the UK and gotten rooms for their £29 entry saver rate. Similarly had various Accor properties across Europe for less than €60 a night.

    In the US you’ll almost never find a safe and clean hotel for below $100 a night with some rare exceptions off peak in flyover states.

  24. FMLAX Guest

    It looks.... bad. Obviously cheap furniture, drab, corporate-stylized colors, the same, sad coffee urns and machine-made, pre-fabbed bagels. Honestly, might be good for a highway rest stop for the night or a cheap airport hotel... and that's it.

  25. danny Guest

    how is this different from Tru by Hilton??? Tru has pancakes and Spark has bagels?

    1. B Gordon Guest

      Good place to sleep while traveling. Definitely not a destination.
      Grab bars in the shower would be helpful for a tired or elderly traveler.

    2. BT Guest

      That was my thought as well. I’ve stayed at several Tru by Hilton and I honestly don’t think they were that bad. Furniture all looked like IKEA stuff, with lots of bright colors, but they were newer and clean, and the price was right for a one or two night stay. Not sure how they would differentiate between Tru and this.

  26. NK3 Member

    Do the proposed drawings look exciting? No. But if it was a well positioned hotel at the right price, I would absolutely stay at one of these.

    Sometimes I love staying at a Waldorf, Park Hyatt, Andaz, etc. But there are a lot of times I just need a functional, clean room. A recently built or renovated limited service hotel is likely going to be better bet than a Hilton or Doubletree that is past...

    Do the proposed drawings look exciting? No. But if it was a well positioned hotel at the right price, I would absolutely stay at one of these.

    Sometimes I love staying at a Waldorf, Park Hyatt, Andaz, etc. But there are a lot of times I just need a functional, clean room. A recently built or renovated limited service hotel is likely going to be better bet than a Hilton or Doubletree that is past its prime IMO. If all of these have to be brought up to the brand standard, at least for the next 5 years or so, they could be a good option. They seem to be competing with Hilton's Hampton brand, which I find to be too inconsistent to use.

    I find the bagel thing a weird thing to emphasize, but I am ok with it. I love the big buffets at luxury properties (especially abroad). But with breakfasts at Hampton/Hyatt Place/Residence Inn, etc, or even a domestic Marriott/Hyatt Regency/Hilton, usually I just eat it because its there and included, not because I actually like it. If its just a stale bagel, I am more likely to skip it to eat something local or healthier.

  27. Peter Guest

    A lot of commenters clearly don’t stay in budget hotels. This isn’t a substitute for a Hilton, it’s an alternative to Days Inn or “Quality.” Days has no consistency, most are awful, and the only brand-required breakfast is a packaged muffin and coffee. So yes, if they actually can make this work it is an excellent idea, especially if it helps them hold on to the original Hampton Inns as they age out of the system.

  28. Stvr Guest

    If they really have 100 deals already then clearly they are on to something. If that is an exaggeration then clearly they are not

    1. FMLAX Guest

      They *think* they're on to something, likely based on a good bit of corporate research and iffy decisions. Time will tell if this actually pans out; there are plenty of examples of hotel brands rising and quickly falling.

    2. Ray Guest

      I have had conversation with an Hilton corporate insider and he said they really do have many-many deals in work. Over the years Hilton has basically let go the revenue it could have generated from keeping the ageing Hamptons in the system. Spark will offer that choice to stay within Hilton system for ageing properties as well as pick up some properties in the segment from Choice hotels, Wyndham, BW etc.

    3. FMLAX Guest

      Thanks for sharing - interesting! It does make more sense in that regard.

    4. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      As a publicly traded company, it would be illegal for them to say they have 100 and not to have 100.

  29. Noa Guest

    Why are the cheaper hotels like the Hamptons etc called "limited service" when they offer free breakfast, free parking, gym, pool, coffee in room or in lobby, often free airport shuttles etc. While the so-called "full service" hotels barely have any expected services included for free (unless you have status)

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      You're confused as to what "limited service" means.

      Limited service hotel = no full service restaurant.

      It can mean the lack of other services too, like conference rooms, etc, but not necessarily.

  30. tom Guest

    I guess Blackstone can now fold Motel 6 into the hilton brand - renderings look a lot like those for new hotels on Motel 6 site

  31. Grey Diamond

    Would you not agree that perhaps these renderings look cheap to you because you are more accustomed to hotels which would cost about 20x what these would be expected to cost?
    While I do not do a huge amount of travel to the US these days, I spent some time there in 2022, and compared to some Sheratons and Marriotts and Fairfield Inns and SpringHill Suites that I stayed in, I would say that...

    Would you not agree that perhaps these renderings look cheap to you because you are more accustomed to hotels which would cost about 20x what these would be expected to cost?
    While I do not do a huge amount of travel to the US these days, I spent some time there in 2022, and compared to some Sheratons and Marriotts and Fairfield Inns and SpringHill Suites that I stayed in, I would say that these rooms look like a massive improvement.
    When you prefer hotel rooms that are 100 USD or less per night, a modern room like this is surely satisfactory.

    But yes, once are accustomed to 2000 USD per night types of places, it is hardly a surprise that this does not meet your standards...

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      Are you confusing "hotel age" with "brand"?

      I find that in the mid/low range, the age of the hotel/renovation is a huge determinant in what I perceive as "good".

      By that standard, I'd expect idealized renderings of a new hotel to look better than most hotels in the same price range.

  32. Jerry Diamond

    This seems right in line with 2023 Hilton. Their competition is IHG, not Marriott/Hyatt, and this concept is a competitor to AVID. There's nothing wrong with this concept, and it might actually send some Choice/IHG people to Hilton properties. I'd say it's a good move, but also indicative of why I, and many others, choose not to stay with Hilton anymore.

    1. Levi Diamond

      Of the post-2010 brand intros from Hilton, it's this, Tru, and Home2 (and maybe Motto) at the low end and Tapestry, Curio, Canopy, Signia, and LXR at the higher end (with LXR accelerating).

      I'd daresay that's a more premium tilt in terms of new brands than Marriott or Hyatt (to be fair, largely because Hilton was way behind Marriott and Hyatt at the higher end a dozen years ago).

    2. Levi Diamond

      And I guess Tempo ("HGI but for Zillennials") might be borderline.

  33. frrp Gold

    Oh yay, yet another 'new' hotel brand thats already covered by at least two existing ones.

    Look on the positive side tho, that bagel and coffee are more than youd be able to get with your 'daily credit' at other US hiltons! Clearly going for that Ibis budget market.

  34. SparkedWithConfusion Guest

    After seeing this, I guess this makes Hampton and Garden Inn look nice? Where is this supposed to fit within the Hilton portfolio of brands? At the bottom? To be fair though, a new lower-end hotel can sadly sometimes be nicer than even say a dated DoubleTree.

  35. Chris Guest

    Looks like a Hampton Inn for Hipsters.

    1. frrp Gold

      Spark, for when Hampton is too high class :)

  36. 305 Guest

    Yikes these look….not great…

    Ignoring the poor major renovation/interior design decisions, they even seemingly screwed up their one major “innovation”. That bagel bar/juice/coffee area is a joke and looks like any other current economy hotel does. If that’s going to be their pitch for this brand being unique, at least spice up that area a bit! Using the same dated OJ pitchers and coffee towers doesn’t sell me on this concept being any different at...

    Yikes these look….not great…

    Ignoring the poor major renovation/interior design decisions, they even seemingly screwed up their one major “innovation”. That bagel bar/juice/coffee area is a joke and looks like any other current economy hotel does. If that’s going to be their pitch for this brand being unique, at least spice up that area a bit! Using the same dated OJ pitchers and coffee towers doesn’t sell me on this concept being any different at all, let alone more “premium”

  37. Brian G. Member

    Completely agree new brands are just to market to hotel investors. Last week I was chatting with the GM of a new Hyatt Place and is it also an executive at the local hotel management company. His frustration is none of the major brands come out with unique brands for their market. In their case, they wish they love a brand of basically mini full-service properties for small cities. Think Hyatt Centric but new built-in...

    Completely agree new brands are just to market to hotel investors. Last week I was chatting with the GM of a new Hyatt Place and is it also an executive at the local hotel management company. His frustration is none of the major brands come out with unique brands for their market. In their case, they wish they love a brand of basically mini full-service properties for small cities. Think Hyatt Centric but new built-in <100,000 popluation "flyover" cities with <120 rooms. No brands fit their market so they are stuck with opening high-end HPs.

    1. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      Marriott’s Delta and IHG’s Holiday Inn fit that description. Holiday Inn has gotten better in the last 10 years after a bad stretch in the 1990s and 2000s due to all the old 1960s, 1970s and 1980s properties with exterior room entrances , holidomes, etc. IHG, to their credit, kicked out a tremendous number of Holiday Inn properties. More than Marriott and before that Starwood did with Sheraton. The problem is at the end of...

      Marriott’s Delta and IHG’s Holiday Inn fit that description. Holiday Inn has gotten better in the last 10 years after a bad stretch in the 1990s and 2000s due to all the old 1960s, 1970s and 1980s properties with exterior room entrances , holidomes, etc. IHG, to their credit, kicked out a tremendous number of Holiday Inn properties. More than Marriott and before that Starwood did with Sheraton. The problem is at the end of the day a good Holiday Inn is still a Holiday Inn. What business traveler wants to take a client to the bar or restaurant at a Holiday Inn — even in Flyover small-town USA?

  38. Endre Guest

    so, the concept is similar to Accor’s Ibis Style?

  39. hbilbao Guest

    It's painful to see breakfast being re-defined as a stale bagel :( I guess the next step is to "improve" elite breakfast vouchers taking them from $10 to $1, as that will be enough to cover for "breakfast" at their properties.

  40. Global Traveler Guest

    Same as Hampton Inns in Europe and Turkey, I am wondering if they will be rebranded to Spark in the future?

  41. John T Guest

    Looks very cheap. At least Moxy has some personality.

    Hopefully the prices will be as cheap as the renderings.

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NK3 Member

Do the proposed drawings look exciting? No. But if it was a well positioned hotel at the right price, I would absolutely stay at one of these. Sometimes I love staying at a Waldorf, Park Hyatt, Andaz, etc. But there are a lot of times I just need a functional, clean room. A recently built or renovated limited service hotel is likely going to be better bet than a Hilton or Doubletree that is past its prime IMO. If all of these have to be brought up to the brand standard, at least for the next 5 years or so, they could be a good option. They seem to be competing with Hilton's Hampton brand, which I find to be too inconsistent to use. I find the bagel thing a weird thing to emphasize, but I am ok with it. I love the big buffets at luxury properties (especially abroad). But with breakfasts at Hampton/Hyatt Place/Residence Inn, etc, or even a domestic Marriott/Hyatt Regency/Hilton, usually I just eat it because its there and included, not because I actually like it. If its just a stale bagel, I am more likely to skip it to eat something local or healthier.

5
David H Guest

This will most likely be a conversion brand, with limited new builds. And in lots of locations that people just need a place for the night, small towns, and close to an interstate. Converting existing Choice hotels, Country Inn, Best Westerns etc. This gives the owner access to major brand recognition, marketing, central reservations, HH etc. There is definitely a place in the market for these hotels. They're not meant to be anything special, or look special. Just a clean hotel for one maybe 2 nights.

4
Bob Guest

Spark: Where Hamptons go to die

4
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