The battle of budget hotel brands is now a war that extends across the Atlantic Ocean.
On Wednesday, Marriott International launched another midscale brand, Four Points Express by Sheraton, aimed at courting travelers craving a more affordable hotel stay experience. Four Points Express by Sheraton will fall in the midscale tier while Four Points falls in the upscale category, according to a brand overview document from hotel data provider STR. Admittedly, it can get a little confusing.
While Four Points is a brand known in the U.S., the Four Points Express offshoot is expected to focus largely on Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The first hotel — the 201-room Four Points Express by Sheraton London Euston — is slated to open next year. Two additional hotel deals have already been signed for Turkey.
“There’s a lot of initial interest from owners,” Marriott CEO Anthony Capuano said Wednesday morning during the kickoff of the company’s security analyst meeting in Miami.
He added there are additional signed letters of intent for more Four Points Express hotels across the United Kingdom, as well as Belgium and Poland.
Four Points Express enters a crowded field
The Four Points brand expansion comes after Marriott made two recent plays for the more affordable end of the hotel market. The company acquired Mexico-based City Express earlier this year and launched StudioRes, an extended-stay brand initially planned to grow in the U.S. and Canada.
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While City Express currently operates in Latin America and the Caribbean, company executives previously indicated it’s not out of the question to eventually see the brand expand worldwide — akin to how it expanded AC Hotels beyond Spain.
Four Points Express appears ready to grow in a manner similar to other recently launched brands like IHG’s Garner and Hilton’s Spark: by converting existing hotels into the new brand’s likeness. Marriott points to data that shows there are 1.2 million midscale hotel rooms in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), and 68% of those rooms are unbranded, according to the company release.
“This new brand has been thoughtfully researched, designed and localized to deliver midscale travelers the fundamentals of a stay that meets every trip purpose at the right price point,” Satya Anand, Marriott’s president of EMEA, said in a statement.
The new brand also arrives amid significant expansion in the midscale and economy travel sector by some of the world’s largest hotel companies. Along with Spark and Garner, other new affordable hotel chains are in the works, such as Hilton’s Project H3 and Hyatt Studios.
The Four Points Express experience
Specific rate information for Four Points Express wasn’t provided, but the new brand will be part of the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program. The company also emphasized the reliability and consistency of the new brand over any luxurious bells and whistles.
The new brand will offer “clean, comfortable” guest rooms, free breakfast and complimentary Wi-Fi.
Marriott plans to use the brand to offer more outlets for customers to earn and redeem their Bonvoy points. The Four Points Express announcement came the same day the company also outlined plans to add as many as 270,000 guest rooms around the world over the next three years. It’s aiming to get to 1.8 million rooms by the end of 2025.