Hilton has launched Signia Hilton, an upper-upscale hotel brand targeting meetings and events.
Signia’s ballrooms, restaurants, bars, lobbies and guestrooms will be designed “so groups of any size can optimize work time and collaboration time and spark their most innovative thinking,” Hilton said. The brand will focus on urban and resort markets worldwide.
At an event unveiling the brand, Hilton senior vice president and global head of full-service brands Dave Marr said Signia was created in response to owners and developers identifying a gap in the meetings and events sector.
“[Owners] told us loud and clear that Hilton had an opportunity to create a brand that was above their flagship brand, but not quite in the luxury space,” said Marr, adding that Signia will be positioned a step above Hilton, but just below the Conrad, LXR and Waldorf Astoria flags. “We immediately started conversations with our meetings customers and Hilton Honors members, and they wanted more flexibility, more daylight. They also said technology was a big piece, [as well as] a focus on the culinary experience.”
Each Signia property will have a minimum of 500 guest rooms, with around 75 square feet of meeting and event space per room. The concept showcases impressive lobby areas, creating an “arrival moment” with art or water or light features, and relatively large guestrooms, along with digitally-connected spaces, allowing guests and planners to control temperature and other features in their rooms and meeting areas via mobile app.
Other signature elements are a locally influenced destination bar, typically integrating outdoor space, and a chef-driven restaurant. The Signia brand will also include a premium wellness platform, comprising spa offerings and fitness classes.
Signia’s inaugural opening will be in Orlando, following a conversion of the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek. Subsequent new hotels are slated for Atlanta and Indianapolis, with the former to feature 900 to 1,000 rooms and the latter 815 rooms. Most Signia Hiltons will be entirely newbuilds.
Signia Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek will have over 100,000 square feet of meeting space, along with a championship golf course, spa, and over 10 dining options, with a scheduled opening of 2020.
According to Hilton CEO Chris Nassetta, Signia’s launch comes at a time when meeting and event demand continues to surge, and the supply of new, unique meeting spaces remains limited.
“Short-term trends are phenomenal for meetings and events, and the long-term trends are fantastic not just in the U.S., but around the world,” said Nassetta. “And the largest hospitality markets in the U.S. and in Europe, in a sense, missed a generation of the construction of big hotels that have meeting space. With the Great Recession, the economics haven’t supported the construction of these types of hotels. So when meeting planners say to us that they want something new and different, part of that is because they’re dealing with spaces that are one, two or three generations old.”
Signia is the 17th brand in Hilton’s portfolio.