The hotel industry kicked off this week with a major announcement: Marriott International purchased Starwood Hotels in a $12.2 billion dollar deal. At first glance, this may be viewed as another case of the rich getting richer, as well as a competitive setback for small, independent hotels. However, although two large hotel companies are combining to create one massive hotel firm, this is actually great news for independent hotels.
As we’ve discussed in previous blog posts, “Why major brands are jealous of independent hotels” and “Why chain hotels cannot duplicate the independent hotel experience,” various hotel chains have been trying to buy their way into appearing as independent-style, neighborhood-centric properties so they can appeal to the growing segment of consumers who seek unique travel experiences. However, with this latest acquisition squeezing thirty hotel brands under one umbrella, either acting small is no longer a priority or there’s hope that travelers will suddenly crave the “big box” hotel experience. Either way, independent hotels are still in a great position to continue delivering the distinct lodging experiences that many travelers crave.
Unlike brands housed under Titanic-sized firms, independent hotels will continue to have the operational flexibility and autonomy to evolve with the surrounding community and adapt to the needs to discerning guests. Instead of altering operations to position against the consolidating chain hotel segment, independent hotels should work to further solidify their position as properties that deliver a style of hospitality that cannot be duplicated by chains driven by producing shareholder returns. As the hotel industry continues to shift, independent hoteliers should remember what it took to get to where they are today and know that staying on-track will lead to continued success.
If you’re an hotelier who thinks your branded property would better serve your guests and community as an independent hotel, download and read our latest whitepaper, “5 Tips for Successful De-flagging.” And if innRoad can help by powering your newly independent hotel with our fully integrated, cloud-based hotel property management system, contact a member of our sales team today.