Hotel Brands Become World Travelers

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In today’s world, there’s a large swath of travelers that—no matter which country they call home—owns iPhones, drinks Starbucks coffee, and furnishes their homes with the help of IKEA. It’s a safe bet they’re also attracted to the same kinds of hotels.

That’s a bet that many hotel companies have been taking in recent years, as American brands like Courtyard and Hampton Inn are expanding well beyond U.S. cities and highway stops. Foreign brands have also been invading the U.S. Here’s a list of overseas brands with plans to open hotels (or already have done so) on American soil:

AC Hotels: The AC Hotels brand is owned by a U.S.-based company (Marriott), but thus far the Madrid-based hotel chain known for stylish accommodations and young, tech-savvy jetsetter clientele has limited its locations to France, Italy, Portugal, and Spain. “You import wine and you import cars,” Brian King, global brand officer for Marriott Endorsed Brands, explained to USA Today. “We’re going to import a hotel brand.”

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COMO Hotels: The luxury hotel group based in Singapore offers upscale accommodations in London, Bangkok, Bali, and the Maldives, and in December, a 74-room COMO hotel opens in Miami—the company’s first outpost in the U.S.

Generator: The Wall Street Journal recently highlighted Generator as an example of one of several upscale hostel brands that are popular overseas and have announced plans to spread to the U.S. Patron Capital Partners, the firm that owns Generator, has raised roughly $200 million for an American expansion.

TRYP: A mid-price family-friendly brand that’s part of the Wyndham company and is well known in Europe, TRYP opened its first property in the U.S. last year with a Times Square South location (near Madison Square Garden) in New York City. The company’s plans to introduce the brand—which features guest rooms with optional elliptical machines and bunk beds for families—further throughout the Americas include two TRYP hotels in Panama.

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Virgin Hotels: Though there are no Virgin Hotels in existence yet, the Virgin brand is best known in the U.K., home to company founder Richard Branson. Locations for the new hotel chain are likely in the near future in New York City, Chicago, Miami, and Dallas, among other U.S. cities.

At the same time foreign brands are popping up at more hotels in the U.S., American brand hotels are increasingly appearing overseas. The New York Times reported that while high-end brands like Hilton and Ritz-Carlton have been established in major foreign cities for decades, in recent years mid-level American brands like Hampton Inn, DoubleTree, Holiday Inn Express, and Courtyard are rapidly expanding in Asia, Latin America, and Europe—and not just in major destinations but second-tier cities. Hyatt Hotels announced in June that it planned to develop and own nine Hyatt Place-brand hotels in Brazil. For several years now, Marriott has said that its business will increasingly focus on emerging destinations in countries such as Ghana, Rwanda, and Vietnam.

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What we’re seeing is that hotel brands are pushing to be recognized on a broader, truly global scale. They want to be known (and ideally, beloved) not merely as American brands or European brands but as international brands. In most cases, hotel brands are also simply following in the footsteps of travelers—who are more likely to go off the beaten path for business and pleasure alike, yet who prefer the security and value of a brand they know and trust when doing so.

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