Hotel Brand Overload: The Coming Shakeout — Photo by Created by HN with DALL·E

The rise of brands has been the dominant trend in the global hotel industry over the past four decades. During this time, many hotel owners sought brand representation, while most brands themselves exited the business of owning or operating hotels. Starting with some three hundred brands at five price points, the hotel chains have repeatedly created brands that subdivided those price points. With brands now numbering over a thousand, hotel owners and guests face a “sea of sameness” among many of the brands in today’s markets. In some cases, one brand is only marginally distinguishable from another, and the challenge is to discern the differences. One outcome of this growth is greater bargaining power for independent operators who can use social media to attract guests. Another outcome is a search for additional brand concepts, including lifestyle brands. To continue growing, brands will increasingly have to use technology and also apply research and development to assess their brand concepts. In sum, brands must find a way to differentiate themselves and develop “tribes” of customers who identify with particular brands.

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