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With a kitchen in every guestroom and complimentary hot breakfast daily, Residence Inn already has a solid foothold in many U.S. cities, but now the brand is adding properties in domestic leisure destinations — including Hawaii, Miami and Colorado — as well as expanding globally into Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
“Our global footprint is really taking off,” said Diane Mayer, vice president and global brand manager for Residence Inn. “We have 10 global properties open now and almost 50 in the pipeline.”
The brand’s first two European locations were Munich and London. Germany and the U.K. continue to be their two biggest development markets in Europe, with five properties open in the U.K., one property open in Munich and five properties in development in Germany. Residence Inn also has plans for eight properties in Saudi Arabia and four in Dubai. Plus, Mayer notes, a new Residence Inn opened last year in Rio de Janeiro near Barra Olympic Park.
With the increase in demand, the hope is that expansion into some of these markets will not only provide properties for international business travelers, but also make these destinations more approachable to leisure travelers and families.
While global expansion is exciting, the brand has been expanding in U.S. leisure destinations as well.
“It’s exciting to see the brand growing internationally because we know there’s a lot of opportunity,” Mayer said. “But we are also seeing more Residence Inns in premium leisure destinations because there is demand for something that is less expensive compared to resorts.”
With that in mind, the brand opened a spectacular property on Maui last year and has two additional Hawaiian properties in development on Oahu — one in Waikiki and the other on the west side of Oahu in Ko Olina. Residence Inn has properties at hot U.S. leisure destinations such as Orlando, Fla.; Anaheim, Calif.; and Miami. A Residence Inn opened in Breckinridge, Colo., earlier this year and another property is in development for Vail, Colo.
With a large number of guests at these particular destinations being leisure travelers and families, the brand is designing these properties with outdoor spaces. There’s a rooftop pool and bar in Breckinridge, for example, and family-friendly amenities including beach chairs, games and toys for Miami guests who want to spend time at the nearby shore.
But global and leisure expansion is not all that’s new for Residence Inn. The brand’s popular social program called Residence Inn Mix is getting a makeover as well.
“Our [Residence Inn Mix] program is designed to offer guests something local such as food trucks or restaurant tastings in a social and relaxed atmosphere that helps them connect with other guests,” Mayer said.
Currently offered at 95 percent of Residence Inn properties, Residence Inn Mix was launched in April 2015 and offers complimentary craft beers and wine paired with local bites. While it has continued to be very successful, Mayer said it was time to elevate the beer-and-wine program.
“We have expanded our premium and regional beer offerings from cool destinations such as Breckinridge Brewery in Colorado and Kona Brewery in Hawaii,” she said. “We also developed a curated wine program to make sure that wine selections for Residence Inn are consistent and high-quality.”
In addition, she notes, properties located in wine-producing regions will offer local wine and occasionally even invite nearby wineries to participate.
With new properties worldwide and upgrades to the already popular Residence Inn Mix program, Residence Inn is heading into 2018 with the goal of introducing the brand to new business, leisure and international travelers.