For over 100 years Hilton Worldwide has held its position as one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing hospitality companies. Known for household brands such as Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Embassy Suites and Doubletree Hotels, Hilton identified an untapped opportunity to grow its portfolio beyond its tried-and-true hotel chains. They yearned to build a lifestyle brand aimed at both leisure and business travelers that capitalized on the ease of select-service hotels (free breakfast, “free standard Wi-Fi”) with luxury-level customer services and unique offerings.
Following our success with the Waldorf Astoria rebrand, Hilton brought HZ on board from the very beginning to define the new lifestyle hotel concept and develop the brand to bring it to life. Collaborating with our client and an independent research firm, we began our brand-building journey by focusing on four high-potential guest types, centering on customer mindsets to drive concept themes and hotel-feature sets. We tested the four strongest concepts until we found the key to a new kind of hotel—one with a clearly defined offering and sustainable business model designed to garner high interest and justify a premium to our target consumers, as well as appeal to potential hotel owners and operators.
At every step of developing our concept and brand, we tested our work with select target groups and refined the concept until Canopy by Hilton was born. Leaning into our identified purpose: “So you simply feel better going forward,” we established Canopy’s fundamental promise: a positive stay defined by simplified service, authentic local style and an energizing environment. These elements formed the “fresh-forward” essence of Canopy, summed up in the tagline, “Positively yours.”
Canopy was unveiled at Hilton Worldwide’s Global Partnership Conference in October 2014. Industry response was and remains overwhelmingly positive. The first Canopy by Hilton opened in late 2015, in Reykjavík, Iceland. More than 30 Canopy hotels are now up and running in hot neighborhoods in cities around the world—with dozens more in development.