Navigating the populous world of hotels gets ever-more challenging, with new brands sprouting like dandelions. This past month alone has been a busy one for new announcements.
Days after six New York City properties banded together to form Triumph Hotels, Minneapolis-based Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, which already has five brands, said it plans to launch two new more this year -- Radisson Red and the Quorvus Collection. Meanwhile, Orient-Express Hotels announced that as of March 10 this year, its portfolio of 45 luxury properties would be recast as Belmond. And that's on top of the slew of new brands announced last year, the first entries of which will open this year.
Here's a look at some new flags getting ready to be unfurled.
The first property under Stockholm, Sweden-based Scandic Hotels' new HTL Hotels umbrella is scheduled to open this May. The 274-room HTL Kungsgatan, in the heart of Stockholm, promises to deliver on the brand's premise of "less is more." Expect rooms to be on the small side -- about 134 square feet -- and Nordic-chic in design, but big on mobile technology. The in-room LED TV screens, for instance, will connect to smartphones, so guests can create their own music or movie playlist. No surprise there -- earlier this year, technology-driven Scandic walked away with the "digital winner" award at Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International's European Awards for its online checkout system.
In Italy, newcomer VOI Hotels has big plans to become that country's leading hotel group. The brand, whose name is an Italian acronym for "real Italian hospitality" in English, operates as a marketing consortium and is building its collection through management takeovers of existing independent properties. Individual hotels that join the VOI family have the option of not rebranding. There currently are 14 properties in the VOI group, and after establishing a strong foothold in Italy, the company plans to consider other European markets.
For its part, the Thailand-based hospitality firm Dusit International has announced the launch of a new luxury group, Dusit Devarana, which will be positioned in the urban resort market. Dusit, which currently has two brands -- Dusit Thani and dusitD2 -- said the key components to Devarana will be one-of-a-kind resorts that provide a "highly localized and service-driven experience." First to plant a flag was the 50-room Dusit Devarana New Delhi, India, now in the midst of a soft opening. Other locations being considered include Hainan in China and Jaipur, India.
Don't count out U.S. hotel companies on adding flags. In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, Christopher Nassetta, chief executive officer of Hilton Worldwide, said the chain is looking to compete with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide's W Hotels brand and Marriott International's Edition hotels in the boutique arena. Nassetta said Hilton expects to unveil a new boutique brand this year that will be aimed at young, affluent travelers.