July 24, 2018
If you have attended any hotel sector related conference this year, or kept up to date with industry press, you will have been unable to ignore the dialogue taking place around brands and the argument posited by some that we are reaching a point of brand oversaturation in the market. Are the lines of differentiation between brands, often within the same company, becoming blurrier; is the brand proposition to the consumer and to the hotel owner being diluted; is too much choice overwhelming? The big chains of course counter that they have to compete with the OTAs; their earnings are nowadays based on management fee growth rather than real estate appreciation; and the value of their loyalty programme drives the need to provide greater consumer choice. This scenario gives independent hotels an opportunity to be differentiators, to stand out from the crowd and to offer something more unique that captures the consumer not looking to follow the crowd. The reality nonetheless is that, commercially, independent properties are having to compete against an increasing number of 800lb gorillas who are getting bigger by the day.