What do millennials want from a hotel? Trendy locations, minimalist design and curated small plates, according to Marriott.
On Monday, Marriott announced the opening of AC Hotel New Orleans Bourbon, the first U.S. location of a line of hotels aimed at millennial travelers. The chain already has 75 locations throughout Spain, Italy, Portugal and France, with plans to open more than 50 hotels in the U.S. and Latin America in the next three years.
"With the continued rise of the millennial traveler we saw an opportunity to import this highly successful European brand from overseas with the hope of introducing a more experiential and design led, upper moderate tier lifestyle brand to the U.S.," Marriott International CEO Arne Sorenson said in a statement.
What makes the hotel and other AC Hotels appealing for the millennial set? Design seems to be a major piece of the puzzle, with a minimalist, European set up. Rooms all have complimentary Wi-Fi and flat screen TVs that can be connected to guest's own devices. All AC Hotels offer a more social take on the traditional business centers, with AC Lounges that serve cocktails, wines on tap, craft beers and a "curated menu of small bites."
In keeping with the millennial vibe, the hotel's opening celebration seems reminiscent of a startup launch. Food-tech start up Dinner Lab and New Orleans chef Octavio Ycaza were responsible for the menu. Music was provided by Jon Batiste, Rebirth Brass Band and DJ Myles Hendrik.
Marriott is not the first hotel company to try to ensnare millennials with a new brand. Hilton launched Canopy, a "more accessible" brand with increased included value, in October. The same month, Best Western launched Vib, a high-tech and stylish hotel concept intended to attract uber-connected travelers.
AC Hotel New Orleans Bourbon has 220 rooms, and is located in a National Historic Landmark: a former cotton exchange building opened in 1871. NewcrestImage, a Texas-based hotel development, construction and management company, is operating the hotel as franchisee.