Hotel Check-in Exclusive: Embassy Suites Positions Itself To Attract More Business Travelers

Friday, May 08, 2009

Ever driven past an Embassy Suites hotel because its two-room suites were too spacious for you and your laptop? Embassy Suites execs think it's time to fix that. They're rolling out a one-room version of the chain's standard, two-room suite for travelers who don't need - or want - the extra space. It's the first major room change since the chain was founded in 1984 aimed squarely at road warriors.

"For years, customers have told us, 'We love Embassy Suites with family. But for business? Not sure I quite need that'," said Jim Holthouser, who oversees the brand for Hilton.

So will rates for the smaller room shrink, too? "I'm hoping not," Holthouser said. The goal is to keep rates roughly the same as what the bigger suites cost, and charge "a few dollars more" for the two-bedroom suites.

While room rates vary by market, Embassy Suites hotels generally fetch about $160 a night midweek and about $135 on weekends.

Read on to see where you'll be able to find the first one-room Embassy suite.

Readers: Will you consider staying in an Embassy Suites if you can book a one-room suite for your business trip? The new, smaller suite is also expected to appeal to developers who want to squeeze more rooms on less land, he said in a recent interview. The new suite is about 20% smaller than Embassy Suites' traditional, two-room guestroom, he said.

Developers would be allowed to include up to 20% of the rooms as one-room suites, which would be ideal for hotels going up near office parks, he said.

"This room is really a play for a the business traveler," he said.

In devising a smaller room option, Embassy Suites' experts faced a design challenge: How to shrink the room while still preserving a spacious feel? The trick was to eliminate one wall and one television, Holthouser said.

"When you walk into a room, it's just like any of other suites," he said. "You see a parlor with a wet bar and work area, and when you get deeper in the room you see the bed." The chain recently opened its 200th hotel. It has another 60 in the pipeline slated to open in the next four years.

Travelers will be able to check out the new suites in about a month, when a new Embassy Suites opens in downtown Buffalo, N.Y., in a converted federal office building. Others are going up in downtowns in Louisville and St. Louis, he said. The smaller room type will also help developers building Embassy Suites hotels in outmoded downtown buildings that can't easily be divided up into all two-room suites, Holthouser said.

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Embassy Suites Hotels
7930 Jones Branch Dr., #1100
McLean, VA

Phone: (310)278-4321
Toll Free: (800)286-0645
Fax: (310)205-7655

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