Loyalty Traveler surveys world’s Top 20 Hotel Brands for loyalty program affiliation and hotel benefits.
The hotel industry generally ranks the world’s biggest hotel brands by different criteria than Loyalty Traveler. The hotel industry ranks hotel brands by the total number of rooms worldwide. That is the hotelier’s viewpoint since more rooms creates the potential for more money.
My viewpoint as a traveler is whether I will be able to find a hotel in a particular hotel brand in the location I am visiting. I generally only need one or two rooms for my hotel stay. As a traveler I care less about whether a hotel has 100 rooms or 1,000 rooms and more about the number of hotels in my preferred brand for geographic coverage.
Therefore, Loyalty Traveler ranks hotel brand size by the number of hotels rather than the number of rooms. This results in a different hotel brand ranking order than will be found for most hotel chain size surveys.
When it comes to the number of hotels in a hotel brand you can forget about your upscale Hyatt’s and Hilton’s and Marriott’s being the leaders. There are no upscale market segment brands in the top 20 global hotel brands when ranked by number of hotels.
Marriott Hotels (550 hotels) and Hilton Hotels (540 hotels) just miss the Top 20 cut coming in at #21 and #22 respectively with the distinction of being the highest ranking upscale brands worldwide.
The Benefits of Economy and Mid-scale Hotels
Free internet and complimentary breakfast are the two most desired benefits for upscale hotel travelers. In recent years there has been a move among loyalty programs to add these benefits for elite members of Marriott Rewards, Hilton HHonors, Starwood Preferred Guest and Hyatt Gold Passport.
Travel in the economy hotel market segment pretty much guarantees you will have access to free internet and most of the top brands also offer a free breakfast as a benefit for all hotel guests. Downsizing your hotel brand may upsize your savings in more ways than room rate.
Family-Friendly Hotel Brands
One of the biggest value benefits of the major economy/mid-scale hotel brands is a policy at six of the Top 20 Hotel Brands to let kids stay free in the room with an adult family member. This policy is extended to a high age limit of 19 years old for Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express which offers some interesting possibilities for taking Mom, Dad or Uncle Bob on spring break.
Children Stay Free Policies can be big savings for big families. Bring the sleeping bags.
Holiday Inn/Holiday Inn Express = Children 19 and under stay free in same room with adult guest.
La Quinta Inn = Children 18 and under stay free in same room with adult guest.
Super 8 = Children 17 and under stay free in same room with adult guest.
Motel 6 = Children 17 and under stay free in same room with adult guest.
Premier Inn (U.K.) = Children 15 and under stay free.
“Honey, I Just Fed the Kids!”
Some hotel brands even offer free restaurant meals to kids when an adult orders off the regular menu. The age limit is a bit lower than 19 for this benefit.
Holiday Inn (U.S. and Canada only) – ‘Kids Eat Free’ policy allows up to four children age 12 and under to eat free from kids menu any time of day when adult guest pays for meal from regular menu.
Premier Inn (U.K.) – free breakfast for up to two children (15 or under).
Loyalty traveler note on hotel numbers and Choice International hotel brands count:
The source of hotel numbers is primarily hotel brand website checks February 8-10, 2011 and data from the most recent financial reports. Choice Privileges only reported domestic properties in its Sep 30, 2010 financial statement. There were 1,140 international Choice Hotels Sep 30, 2010. This is the only detail on international franchised Choice Hotels properties I located without making a hand count by country.
My website checks indicate these 1,140 international hotels are primarily Comfort Inn & Suites and Quality Inn & Suites properties with about 150 Clarion and a handful of EconoLodge and Sleep Inn properties. Australia and New Zealand have more than 200 Choice Hotels.
Choice Hotels total hotel numbers for Days Inn and Quality Inn are from TopHotelChains.com Sep 2010. Hotel numbers for U.S. properties are taken from Choice International financial statements for Sep 30, 2010.
Loyalty Traveler Survey of the Top 20 Hotel Brands in the World
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Please add a comment if there are other noteworthy features and benefits for these 20 brands; particularly some first-hand knowledge of Mercure and Ibis would be appreciated for these non-U.S. hotel brands.