In recent years, the lodging industry has experienced a sudden groundswell of new brands and truly fresh ideas. One of the leaders in this new trend is John Russell, CEO of NYLO Hotels. Russell has held senior-executive positions at Cendant Corp, Days Inn of America, Carlson Companies and some of the nation's premier hotels and resorts around the country.
Hospitality Technology: How did NYLO get started?
John Russell: Mike Mueller, former Starwood Capital executive and former executive of Starwood Hotels and Resorts who helped launch the W brand internationally, had a vision to fill a niche un-served both in product and price between a Marriott Courtyard and Hilton Garden Inn and a full service Marriott, Sheraton or Hilton. Mike, along with three other partners including Chris Jones, formerly of Jones Lang LaSalle, Stephane Dupoux, internationally re-nowned designer of clubs and restaurants, and myself, former Chairman and CEO of Cendant's Hotel Division and past Chairman of the American Hotel and Lodging Association, have developed an upscale, select-service hotel product which takes advantage of the loft lifestyle residential trend spreading across the country.
HT: Why did you feel it was necessary to start a new hotel brand?
JR: We identified a gap that was an unfulfilled segment in the market at a price point of $115 to $130 with a unique, all new construction loft accommodation brand that consumer research indicated would be widely accepted and appreciated. Consumers are looking for something different; both in product style, design and service culture.
HT: What type of guests does NYLO hope to attract?
JR: Primarily business travelers aged 22 to 60 that appreciate a unique style product with state of the art technologies. The product is very female executive friendly with a 24-hour restaurant/lounge/library/ game room called "The Loft."
HT: What are your growth plans?
JR: We will own and operate the first seven hotels located in secondary and tertiary markets, and will begin to franchise the brand, NYLO Hotels, in the fall of this year. We plan to have 50 hotels open by the end of 2010.
HT: How important will technology be to NYLO?
JR: It will be extremely important as a point of difference, but also essential to address the needs of the mobile business person.
HT: Which technologies specifically?
JR: The rooms will have state of the art technology components with the TV, phone, alarm, free high-speed Internet access, etc., but so will the lobby and board rooms. The lobby will have self- service check-in capability similar to the airlines and, of course, the human touch points as well.
John Russell is CEO of NYLO Hotels