NATIONAL REPORT—As the leaves turn from green to earthy hues of red, yellow and brown, it signals a return to fall. Bucolic college towns offer charm and youthful appeal as students and families return for classes or to attend the big game.
Hotel Indigo is catering to this particular demographic with offerings—at the brand’s properties in Athens, GA; Tuscaloosa, AL; and Waco, TX—that are tailor-made for parents, alumni and football fans alike.
“True to the brand’s core positioning, each Hotel Indigo hotel is truly reflective of the neighborhood in which they are located,” said Carol Hoeller, head of global brand experience & design, Hotel Indigo, an IHG Hotel. “For our college town properties, the neighborhood story of each hotel was thoughtfully curated to include not only the culture of the surrounding community, but the rituals, traditions and grit that come with college spirit. For example, Hotel Indigo Athens not only pays homage to the history of agriculture that played an integral part of the community through a modern industrial farmhouse exterior, but also serves Bulldog-themed treats in every room in the spirit of the University of Georgia’s mascot.”
These guests aren’t your typical travelers as they have different needs and desires. They help to create and reinforce the story of the hotel, which is especially true with the brand’s college town properties.
“Monumental moments like moving a child into college, attending a first football game or studying for a huge test all take place on property with us, and we want to ensure that no matter what, guests feel at home when staying,” said Hoeller.
Making a college-friendly hotel isn’t just about decor and locally inspired F&B; there’s a significant focus on building an experience you won’t find anywhere else.
“Our college town hotels have many packages to help guests experience the town they’re in. Hotel Indigo Athens has a welcome reception with a local musician the night before each home game, a ‘Gameday Menu’ and dog-walking services to give University of Georgia fans the full ‘Bulldog Experience,’” she said. “Similarly, Hotel Indigo Tuscaloosa near the University of Alabama offers a Bloody Mary Bar the morning of each game as the Tide rolls in. With a nod to the signature Baylor University Dr. Pepper Hour, Hotel Indigo Waco offers Dr. Pepper Floats and Baylor Iced Tea as signature drinks at the bar to show its Baylor Bear pride year-round.”
The brand’s recipe for success in these college towns is its ability to tap into the local team spirit and provide creatively curated offerings that celebrate the nearby colleges. “By offering personalized experiences truly reflective of the local neighborhood, guests fall in love not just with our properties, but with the locations they embody,” she concluded.