IHG launches Atwell Suites extended stay brand

US: IHG has unveiled Atwell Suites, its third extended stay brand, during its Americas Investors & Leadership Conference currently underway in Las Vegas.

Atwell Suites will be a new-build brand with a price point below that of IHG's Staybridge Suites. It will be geared toward stays of four to six nights. Studios will feature a kitchenette with a counter-height fridge, a microwave, a coffee maker and sink, but not a full kitchen.

Studios also will have a work area with a high-top desk/table, a pullout sofa and a closet that can be accessed from both the guest room and the bathroom.

Presenting the concept, Heather Balsley, SVP/global marketing-mainstream category, said: "We see an $18-billion opportunity with a segment of guests who really are not being served well in the industry today. This brand will rightsize the amenities that guests need because right now they're falling between the full amenities that an extended-stay brand offers and the more limited amenities that a select-service brand offers."

IHG expects to release its franchise disclosure document in September, with construction set to begin on the first hotel in 2020, and the first Atwell Suites opening in 2021. Initial development will be focused in the United States. While the brand is expected to carry a five per cent royalty fee, the first 100 signed license agreements will be eligible for a two per cent fee discount in the first year and a one per cent fee discount in the second.

The current prototype does not include one-bedroom options but will offer either a 321-square-foot studio with a single king bed or a 409-square-foot studio with two queen beds. The cost to build would be between $105,000 and $115,000 per key. The hotels were designed with an "efficient staffing model" that includes limited housekeeping - "more consistent with other longer-stay brands, as well as a focused food-and-beverage option".

Following the model of other extended-stay brands, the hotels will serve complimentary breakfast with two to three hot items along with cold grab-and-go options. Balsley expects costs similar to Holiday Inn Express and Staybridge Suites, which also offer a complimentary breakfast. At the end of the day, the lobby will become a bar with small food bites available. A meeting space also is integrated into the lobby for small functions.

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