The big news in 2016 in the world of hotels was the merger of Marriott and Starwood to create a company with 30-plus hotel brands. Although there were many reasons for the merger, streamlining the number of hotel brands wasn’t one of them. Sheraton and Marriott, Four Points by Sheraton and Courtyard by Marriott, Luxury Collection with Autograph Collection all continue as before, with no amalgamation.
Roll on to 2018, and the number of brands increases weekly. It’s fair to say that no business traveler wakes up in the morning and says to themselves, “I really wish someone would invent a new hotel brand.” However, the hotel chains keep on creating them apace.
At a recent Global CEO panel where the bosses of Wyndham Hotels Group, Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG), Accorhotels, Hilton and Choice Hotels were represented, they alone had more than 90 hotel brands between them, and no one disagreed with the assertion that the number would probably grow to something like 100 between them within the next year.
Sébastien Bazin, the forthright chairman and CEO of Accorhotels, said that he had been “dead wrong” in believing brands would become less important. In fact, he thought they were “more important than ever.”
The reason? “Brands are like a group of friends. For every occasion you can count on them for a different purpose, and that’s what people want. It’s a shortcut in a very crowd