Meet Signia, Hilton’s Newest Hotel Brand

Filed Under: Hilton, Hotels

Hilton has just announced the details of their latest hotel brand, called Signia Hilton. This is the second brand they’ve launched in the past few months, as in October 2018 Hilton announced the details of Motto by Hilton, which they described as an affordable urban lifestyle brand.

Why hotel groups create new hotel brands

Before we talk specifically about Signia Hilton, 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 investment companies.

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

They try to make each brand seem super-unique, in hopes of luring a company to build a city’s first Aloft rather than a third Sheraton, for example.

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.

The basics of Signia Hilton

Signia Hilton is Hilton’s “dynamic, new meetings-and-events focused brand.” Alrighty, as an individual consumer that doesn’t sound terribly appealing to me on the surface.

As Hilton goes on to explain, “the portfolio of hotels is setting out to transform the industry for meeting professionals and sophisticated business travelers by infusing state-of-the-art technology and design into every aspect of the guest experience.”

Each Signia Hilton property will have at least 500 rooms, and at least 75 square feet of meeting space per guest room.

Here’s a short video from Hilton about the new brand:

While the meetings-and-events focus doesn’t resonate with me, I have to say that their renderings look absolutely gorgeous.

Here’s what HIlton says sets Signia apart:

  • Impressive arrivals: Signia Hilton will offer a true sense of arrival with modern architecture, manicured landscaping and welcoming team members who will invite travelers to enjoy the grandeur and energy of the hotel.
  • Unmatched lobby experiences: Thoughtful design connected to the local culture will foster an impressive and comfortable space that doubles as a lobby and social destination for guests throughout their stay.
  • Modern guest rooms: From the premium design and quality finishes that take inspiration from each hotel’s unique destination, to the innovative technology that matters most to guests, like Digital Key, the rooms will serve as a haven for comfort and convenience.
  • A destination bar: Each hotel will feature a bar that ties back to the exciting city or resort destination where it resides. With its premier location in the hotel, the bar will serve as the heart of the hotel, emanating a dynamic energy throughout the entire space.
  • A signature restaurant: The signature restaurants at each Signia Hilton will be based on a chef-driven concept, designed to offer both locals and guests elevated presentations and experiences that they will want to share with friends and business partners.
  • Premium wellness experiences: From infinity pools to state-of-the art spas, fitness classes and facilities, each Signia Hilton will offer an upgraded experience, all in a space designed to make guests feel their best.
  • The Signia meeting experience: The meetings and events spaces will be the signature showpiece of each Signia Hilton. Large ballrooms and pre-function areas will feature smart design paired with the newest technologies to elevate today’s meetings. As the modern meeting attendee is looking for spaces that inspire innovative thinking, the small to mid-size meeting rooms will feature unique design and technology that spark new ideas and optimize work and collaboration.

So far Signia locations in Orlando Bonnet Creek, Atlanta, and Indianapolis have been announced, with many more to come.

My take on Signia Hilton

As someone who goes out of my way to avoid conferences, I’m probably not their target audience. Not only do I avoid conferences, but I also avoid hotels that are hosting big conferences whenever possible, since it usually means the hotels are terribly crowded. People attending conferences spend almost all of their time in the hotel (given how busy they are), and that means at times there’s a long wait for just about anything.

That being said, visually I find the Signia Hilton renderings to be beautiful.

The guest rooms look luxurious…

The public areas and restaurants look chic…

Even the meeting space looks impressive…

Of course these are all renderings, though we’ll have to see what the hotels look like when they’re actually built.

Like most new brands, though, I’m not sure I actually get what’s unique here. It seems the only actual commitment is to having huge hotels with a lot of meeting space. But everything else that’s described seems identical to the direction that virtually all major, cookie cutter hotel chains are going for. Sure, the rendering of the restaurant looks nice, but I’m sure there are also some beautiful restaurants at some mainstream Hiltons.

Just about every hotel would like to think they have modern guest rooms, a destination bar, and a signature restaurant. So I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

What do you make of the Signia Hilton concept? Would you consider staying at one of these hotels if not at a conference?

  1. Adding brands is a way to get around no-compete zones built into franchise contracts. Can’t build another Hilton next to the existing Hilton, but sure can do a Curio or Signia next door.

  2. Got it. So this is the Grand Hyatt / JW Marriott (or Marriott Marquis) equivalent on the Hilton side — convention oriented, focused on large group gatherings, but upscale enough to attract the sort of lucrative conferences that the chains seek, and, like GH and JWM/MM, the mainline brand name is incorporated as part of it.

    Signia, though, what a stupid name.

  3. I’m all for this concept. I do spend a lot of time at conferences held at hotels and there usually isn’t time to leave. I love the idea of a hotel thinking through the guest experience for conference attendees. Barely anyone does it well.

  4. Sounds like more salespeople doublespeak. The smoking balcony near the top is pretty sweet though if you’re not afraid of heights, and if the room displayed is a standard room, it seems quite nice.

  5. The graphics and artists renderings look impressive. Aside from no-compete clauses (@Ed) mentioned, new brands probably give major chains a “clean-sheet” chance to trial new concepts (and possibly franchise/operator terms) that would create confusion if done with an existing brand.

    Funny about Signia (@Dylan) being a hearing aid company. Perhaps that’s why the hotel’s visuals are so striking… to appeal to the hearing impaired. LOL

  6. I’m intrigued by the “75 square feet of meeting space per room”, I don’t see that in the room renderings, but one of the things I struggle with when traveling with colleagues is finding a space that isn’t the club or lobby to meet (3-4 people).

  7. After looking though the Signia photo gallery, the technology advances in this hotel seem to mimic those made with the Boeing 787 (for commercial airliners). Signia rooms’ HDTV-in-mirror and what appear to be adjustable-frosting (clear vs. opaque) “smart glass” for conference rooms are clearly steps forward for a mainline hotel brand. The new tech and emphasis on lifestyle/wellness should be a good combination to highlight for any hotel.

  8. I realize most hotel diffusion brand lines have a lot more to do with non-compete management contracts than with actual branding, but as a consumer all these different “flavors” of hotel gets quite confusing.

    Does anyone else feel that with the addition of all the new brands and lines under the bigger corporate umbrella/loyalty program that the core brand has become completely lackluster? Exactly what does a hotel branded just “Hilton” or “Marriott” offer that would cause me to book over its other brands (or any competitor)? More often than not, these core hotels seem to be the most middle market hotel (that is typically older) with design elements and amenities that match.

    Again I realize that contracts dictate which hotel can be called what, but doesn’t it do a disservice to all these new branding efforts if the flagship brand is the least desirable?

  9. The Signia in Indianapolis will be in an incredible location. It will connect to the convention center, which is a huge draw, and is across the street from Circle Centre Mall and is close to both Lucas Oil Stadium and Bankers Life Fieldhouse. You couldn’t find a more centrally located area if you tried. This will be great for convention goers and the many businesses based in Indianapolis.

  10. I love the renderings. I’ve stayed at a few hotels during conferences and conventions. You do spend a lot of time in the hotel. I like the concept.

  11. @Matt

    I interpret that as referring to the general meeting space available to book in the hotel, not something inside individual guest rooms. For example, a 500 room Signia hotel would have at least 37,500 square feet of meeting and ballrooms.

  12. Does anyone recognise the other existing hotels featured in the video? I can see the lobby of the Millennium Hilton Bangkok at the beginning…

  13. I like it. I’d rather be lost in the sea of 500 rooms in a full service Hilton than at the end of a hallway on the 4th floor in a Hampton off of exit 137.

  14. My parents are opening a new Hilton next year under the “Tapestry Collection.” It’s called the Fort Sutter Hotel in Downtown Sacramento, maybe review it if you ever travel through haha.

  15. @ Erica T +1

    For my work I need nice hotels in interesting cities (with great international hub airports), that have good quality meeting space for 10-30 people. They’re surprisingly rare.

    Most hotels just shove meeting rooms into left-over spaces in the basement. Guess what? I don’t want to spend 3 days sitting in an airless, windowless prison cell, no matter how nice the leather chairs.

    Hilton’s other problem for my market is their gradual abandonment of room service. I’ve just spent a week working in the massive NY Midtown Hilton on 6th Ave. An overcrowded takeaway on the ground floor with *massive* lines is no substitute for being able to order traditional room service.

    If I’m in NY for pleasure of course I want to eat out. But if I’m there for a packed schedule of meetings, I need to be able to get some quiet alone time to unwind in my room, preferably eating a decent dinner before bed. Especially in a world of that most evil of inventions, the “breakfast meeting”.

    So brands which focus on the meetings market are very welcome. It feels to me as if there’s a good niche here.

  16. The rendering is the plan for Indianapolis and it would transform the skyline and also one up the Conrad and JW we have. Can’t wait.

  17. Top comment is @Erica T’s because it succinctly expressed the rationale for growing a brand like Hilton clearly envisions here, and I can fully relate to as one whose ‘business’ consists almost exclusively of attending both domestic and international scientific conferences.

    Also, it is not true the Hilton is just copying what existing chains already offer. Hilton clearly intends to leverage its early, heavy and industry-leading investment in digital technology (Connected Room, anyone?) to offer something that is truly unique to conference attendees.

    Lastly, this a clear example of growing brands ‘organically’, which Hilton’s CEO favors, as to opposed to going out and buying a brand when one wants to grow. “Organic” growth clearly offers a great more flexibility: it is an empty canvas on which to express one’s imagination.

    G’day from San Diego International Airport!

  18. @The nice Paul

    I book 15-20 person meetings many times per year and I’ve found the Aloft brand to be a nice sweet spot for that group size and they get great reviews from my attendees.

  19. Smart move. The thing with conferences is the attendees will usually book at the conference hotel, so the success depends on the conference organizer selecting that hotel. If it offers good conference perks, that will win over the organizers and they’ll do well.

    At some conferences I attend, non-local attendees are _required_ to book at the official hotels or face a penalty. It’s to make the numbers work – the conference has guaranteed the hotel a certain number of room nights booked in return for kickbacks like free meeting space or hotel rooms for the organizers.

  20. I love all the “Haters On HIlton” insinuating this is a copy of Hyatt strategy. The difference will be that there will actually be a footprint out there, not like the three Hyatt puts up and moves back into their hole.

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