Evolution of Multi-Branded Hotels

By Lawrence Adams Principal, ForrestPerkins | November 04, 2018

Not long ago I coauthored a book published in 2012 titled Hotel Design Planning and Development, Second Edition with Richard Penner and Stephani Robson in which I wrote a chapter on Multi-branded hotels. In that chapter I described one of the newest trends in hotel development, a unique new product, that has since evolved into a significant hotel type with unique characteristics, advantages and challenges. In this article we will look at this relatively new product, how it is being developed today and what the prospects are for future development.

Hotel developers are realizing financial, marketing and operational advantages of building more than one brand on a single site and in many cases sharing a single building. Multi-branded hotel developments usually share back-of-house operations, administration, staff, recreational facilities and meeting rooms, but in order to maintain brand recognition and foster brand loyalty, they most often have separate entrances, separate lobbies and individual architecture and decor corresponding to each one's particular brand standards.

Often driven by high land values and limited availability of suitable sites, multi-branded hotel projects obtain efficiencies in construction through shared facilities resulting in a lower cost per room saving as much as 30 percent on development costs. Operational costs are also reduced through centralized management, staff and services. Cross selling is another advantage for hotel companies as guests staying in one brand get meaningful exposure to an unfamiliar new brand. But there are challenges that must be overcome to realize these advantages as we will review in this article.

AccorHotels is credited with pioneering the first dual-branded hotel in 1984 in Paris with the Ibis/Novotel hotels in the La Defense business district by repositioning an underperforming 600-room hotel in order to target separate price points with two brand names. Marriott first introduced the concept in the United States with the 988-room Orlando JW Marriott collocated with a 584-room Ritz Carlton in 2003. It wasn't until 2007 that Hilton joined the fray with the Homewood Suites and Hilton Garden Inn hotels in Baltimore. Then Marriott followed AccorHotels' lead in Europe in 2011 with the Courtyard/Residence Inn in Munich.

Types of Multi-Branded Hotels

Multi-branded hotels come in a variety of configurations. Early examples of multi-branding involved two distinct buildings that were in close proximity or on the same lot, but were essentially two distinct hotel buildings that may have shared administration, staff facilities and some back of house functions. But by not being conjoined did not achieve the efficiencies afforded by ones physically connected.

The dual-branded Homewood Suites and Hilton Garden Inn hotels in Bossier City, Louisiana
Shown at the far right, as part of The Wharf in Washington DC, The Canopy Hotel by Hilton and the Hyatt House Hotel
Marriott Place in Indianapolis is a multi-branded property containing four hotels in one block and connected via sky-bridge to a fifth Marriott hotel
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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.