HB ON THE SCENE: Red Roof Launches First Soft Brand

NEW ORLEANS—Following comprehensive consumer research, Red Roof has launched The Red Collection, the first soft brand in the company’s 44-year history.

The Red Collection is a portfolio of upscale economy to midscale distinctive hotels that are hyper-local, drawing inspiration from the local vibe and culture of the city centers in which they are located.

“Across the industry, we’re seeing a lot of new brand announcements, especially with the major players. We’ve never been interested in expanding into new brands just for the sake of doing it, but we do need to stay in step with the emerging market segments,” said Andrew Alexander, president, Red Roof, at the company’s brand conference held here this week. “We began to hear from a significant consumer base that has a different set of wants and needs. We need to deliver what they’re asking for. We dominate the upscale economy segment, but we discovered we have an opportunity to elevate and diversify the brand by introducing a center city soft brand: a brand focused on targeted demographics in key locations and key markets.”

Red Roof’s research found that today’s upscale economy travelers are not looking for hotels that are identified as trendy or hip—which they equate with expensive and fleeting. Instead travelers are looking for modern, accessible and affordable properties with enhanced amenities in the hearts of cities they love, prime locations near the things they love to do, according to the brand.

The research also found that the majority of guests in the upscale economy segment are willing to pay between $10 and $50 more per stay for enhanced amenities and loyalty incentives. The top three drivers of hotel consideration were affordable rates, proximity to local activities and attractions, and free WiFi.

“They want a taste of that city, a unique travel experience. The brand expansion we’re planning will allow us to offer those guests an enhanced Red Roof experience at a higher—but still affordable—price point,” Alexander said.

The St. Clair Hotel in downtown Chicago, scheduled to open in 2018, will mark the brand’s debut.”The St. Clair Hotel will be the first Red Collection hotel. It will be designed to reflect the unique aspects that make the Windy City so special,” Alexander said.

Other cities under consideration for The Red Collection include New York; Las Vegas; Charlotte, NC; and Austin, TX.

Alexander noted that the soft brand will be positive for Red Roof Inn  and Red Roof Plus properties as well. “Maybe this traveler is looking for a Red Collection experience when traveling alone for business in the city, but they’re looking for a different experience when traveling with their family or on business outside the city,” he said. “We think each brand will strengthen each other. That’s one reason why quality across both brands is so important.”