For independent hotel owners and developers, the question of whether or not to join a major hotel brand is an important one. While Luxury Hotel Advisors specializes in working with independent properties, we recognize that there are times when there can be many benefits to aligning with a major brand. In this article, we’ll explore some of the key factors owners should weigh when considering branding for their hotel.

The Major Advantages of a Brand

One major advantage of joining a hotel brand is increased visibility and access to their marketing channels and loyalty program. By tapping into the brand’s existing customer base and promotions, a hotel can expand its reach quickly and attract guests who are drawn by the reputation and benefits of that brand name. This can be especially beneficial for smaller hotels or properties in secondary locations looking to grow their business.

Consider All the Requirements

Owners should carefully consider aspects like brand standards, fees, and contract terms before signing on. Brands often have requirements about quality standards, design aesthetics, amenities, and more that hotels must adhere to. There are also usually upfront fees and ongoing fees associated with using the brand name and services. The contract terms can also impact everything from technology systems to revenue management to distribution channels and the commitment is usually for 25 or 30 years.

It’s essential for owners to closely evaluate if the costs and constraints of joining a brand will pay off in increased occupancy, rates, and profits and in some cases, a name that can assist in the sale of residences that will become part of the hotel. For some hotels, the freedom and flexibility of remaining independent outweighs the potential benefits of branding. This is especially true for more distinctive, lifestyle hotels with existing clientele.

The Brand Should Be a Good Fit for Your Hotel

When selecting a brand, owners should look for one that is a strong fit for both their hotel’s concept and target market. A lifestyle brand that appeals to younger guests may not be the right match for a classic luxury property, while an established luxury name may not suit a trendy boutique hotel. The brand’s existing locations, standards and operating procedures should align with the owner’s vision and business goals for the property.

Just as owners evaluate brands, the brands also carefully assess independent hotels before allowing them to join their portfolio. They analyze the location, physical product, guest profile, quality standards, and long-term investment potential. The brand must determine if the hotel, in its current state or with planned renovations, will meet and uphold their standards. They want to avoid diluting their offerings or reputation.

Help from the Pros in Selecting a Brand

This is where the advisory services of companies like Luxury Hotel Advisors can prove invaluable. We have deep expertise in the branding process, including identifying the right brand fit, negotiating contracts, and helping guide renovations to meet brand standards. Our goal is to ensure our clients maximize the benefits of branding while minimizing the risks and challenges.

As specialists in independent luxury hotels, Luxury Hotel Advisors recognizes and values the importance of thoughtful brand selection. We invite owners and developers to contact us to explore branding strategies tailored to your unique property and business goals. With our support, you can make the branding decision that helps drive growth and success for your hotel now and into the future.

LHA Advisory Services

As part of our advisory services, LHA welcomes the opportunity to assist owners and developers in selecting a brand that is the best fit for their hotel or resort. To learn more about our advisory services, please reach out to Teresa Holden at [email protected].

For more articles about hotel and resort acquisitions, positioning, disposition and asset management, visit the LHA Library.

About the Author

Teresa has over 20 years of experience as a sales and marketing executive in luxury hospitality and has been affiliated with the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, W Hotels, Ian Schrager Hotels and St. Regis Hotels. Teresa was a member of the advisory team that participated in the development and launch of the W Hotel brand. This included the development of brand vernacular, guest touch points and sales presentations that resulted in an extremely high brand recognition.

She directed the marketing effort to maximize the value of Cap Juluca prior to disposition and has developed marketing strategies for the prestigious Paws Up Resort in Montana, Sea Island Resorts off the coast of Georgia, Kona Village on the Big Island of Hawaii and the Sunset Marquis Hotel in West Hollywood.