Quasi-Service Hotels Carving Out a New Niche
By Robert Habeeb President & Chief Executive Officer, First Hospitality Group, Inc. | April 16, 2017
There are growing numbers of quasi-service hotels that are carving out a new niche between select-service and full-service properties. Select-service hotels have been a hot hotel industry segment for several years now. From new concepts to new developments, it has established itself as a clear front-runner in the hotel category horse race. That being said, a recent uptick in full service hotel development clearly shows that segment remains vibrant, as well.
But, what's interesting is that the lines have become increasingly blurred between what we as an industry see as the various types of hotels all together as more and more hoteliers look to be focusing on an approach that falls somewhere in between select- and full-service hotels. These properties occupy a category that has not yet been formally named, but they are select service by brand nature, while also featuring full-service components.
This hybrid concept, which some are calling quasi-service, often relies on a standout restaurant or dining feature to deliver some of the experiential punch and luxurious elements typically associated with full-service properties, and to help establish a memorable and defining sense of place. Whether it is a rooftop bar, an outstanding lounge area or a creative and dynamic drinking or dining space, the result is a hospitality experience that may not be full service, but instantly stands out above its select-service competitors.
A New Generation
The Hilton Garden Inn Louisville Downtown Hotel is a classic example of this type of unique dining feature in action. The hotel is home to the 8UP Elevated Drinkery and Kitchen (8UP), an indoor-outdoor all-glass venue that offers progressive American cuisine and outstanding views of downtown Louisville. 8UP is a 90-seat facility with an open kitchen and distinctive dark wood paneling that conveys a sense of opulence and comfort while giving diners a peek at the energy and activity taking place "backstage."
Perhaps unsurprisingly, 8UP has become a regional destination that appeals to area residents as well as hotel guests: a venue that captures the culinary spirit and sense of fun that is such integral part of Louisville's identity. It is a testament to the impact that 8UP has had on the local dining and hospitality market that the restaurant was recently recognized in OpenTable's 100 Hottest Restaurants in America 2016 compilation, achieving an overall rating of 4.4 out of 5.