Accor Hotels, the French-based hotel group that has the largest proportion of branded hotel rooms in Europe, has sold the US based Motel 6 chain for US$1.9B to Blackstone, a U.S. private equity group that also owns Hilton and La Quinta hotel chains.
After all the high finance maneuvers Accor will be left with about 330M EUR to invest in emerging Asia-Pacific and Latin America markets where most new hotel development globally is happening.
Motel 6 and Studio 6, an extended stay brand, is the largest budget hotel chain in the U.S. and Canada with 1,102 hotels and 107,000 rooms.
These ownership changes might have a limited impact on the operations of the Motel 6 chain when the deal is completed around October 2012.
Blackstone is like the WalMart of the hotel industry.
Will Blackstone attempt a loyalty program marketing strategy to re-image Motel 6 for the American traveler?
In the back of my Loyalty Traveler mind I am wondering if the new owners will try and implement a hotel loyalty program for the Motel 6 brand now that this ubiquitous Cinderella of the American budget traveler is out of the step-sister role it played with Accor.
The budget chains of Accor Hotels are not participants in Le Club Accor loyalty program. Motel 6 comprises almost 25% of Accor’s global properties and there is no points earning system in place for Motel 6 stays. Only a couple of promotional opportunities allowing summer month redemption of Accor cash certificates (2,000 Accor points = US$60) for Motel 6 stays were offered in the past few years.
Blackstone may just bring Motel 6 to the hotel ball. And even if Motel 6 does not dress up too pretty, obviously Blackstone sees something of value behind those doors.
A Motel 6 loyalty program is just my speculation, but that would be interesting news for the budget traveler. I’ll be watching Motel 6 in 2013 for changes.
News Sources: Bloomberg Financial – Accor to Sell Motel 6 to Blackstone for $1.9 Billion (May 22, 2012)
Financial Times – Accor sells US budget chain to Blackstone(May 22, 2012)
Hotel News Now – Blackstone buys Motel 6, Studio 6 for $1.9b (May 22, 2012)