In the battle for guests, branding has traditionally been a powerful weapon. Customers – whether travelling for leisure or business – sought familiar names that offered a consistent experience, especially in new parts of the world. Innovative loyalty programmes encouraged them to return to the same hotel groups again and again.
Yet in recent years the power of hotel group brands has waned. Online travel agents and metasearch platforms have grown in popularity, frequently making price or location the key differentiator. Digital brands, which judge the industry from outside, are becoming the go-to resource for travellers. In 2015, as in 2014, not a single hotel group appeared in Forbes’ ranking of the world’s 100 most powerful brands.
So what does this identity crisis mean for hoteliers?