Finding the Best Franchise Deal Means First Finding the Best Assistance
By Steven Belmonte CEO, Vimana Franchise Systems LLC | October 28, 2008
Actually, sometimes it is just a prospective hotel owner, but whatever the case, it is always someone who has found frustration and confusion. The source of their problems is the contracts already entered into (or about to be entered) between them and the hotel franchise company. Whether I am in my office or attending a hotel-industry event, the conversation invariably is about problems that crop up between a hotel franchise company and a hotel owner.
Inference should not be drawn here that the problem in these matters has anything at all to do with devious franchise companies. While all of them are in the business of making money, none would survive for very long if they engaged in practices that are dishonest, unfair or morally bankrupt. So, it is clear that the problem is not that franchise companies are out to cheat potential and current franchisees. Precisely, the problem is that the franchise agreement is an intricate document designed to deal with as many situations as possible in favor of the side that draws up the contract-namely, the franchise company.
Besides, the franchisors and the executives they have hired are in possession of decades of experience, not only in the franchising arena, but also the hotel industry or other areas of hospitality. They have an ingrown advantage in dealings with hotel owners and that is something that will never change for as long as business is done.
The obvious solution is for the hotel owner to come as close as possible to simulating for himself the vast wealth of experience working in the favor of the franchise company. Knowledge must be drawn on wherever it is available, but it must be knowledge gathered with a critical eye and the realization that it is seldom the case that any two hotels' circumstances are exactly alike. Thus, what the potential hotel franchisee learns from a current franchisee must be taken with a grain of salt. No two businesspeople do business in exactly the same way, and no two hotels' properties can be run in an identical manner.
Hotel franchisors are already aware of this truth, and will go to great pains to prepare franchise contracts that are specific to the nature of the property involved. These companies have expertise in information gathering, historical data and travel-and-tourism patterns (to name a few items), and they know how to put all that data to very good use.
All of this is also pertinent to those hotel owners who are already in franchise agreements, and who now seek to be relieved of those agreements. There is an axiom about it being far more difficult to get out of a business contract than it is to enter one, and it seems that in all fairness the opposite should be true. But facts are facts, and whether entering a franchise agreement or seeking exit from one, the hotel owner must be as prepared and informed as is the franchise company.