For many of us travelers our lives are predominantly lived in the upscale hotel segment with the likes of Marriott and Renaissance, Hilton and Doubletree, Crowne Plaza, Westin and Sheraton, Hyatts and Radissons. This is the upscale to upper-upscale segment of hotels.
JD Power’s Guest Satisfaction Survey does not differentiate between upscale and upper-upscale hotel market segment brands; a distinction made in many hotel data reports.
Omni Hotels (Omni Select Guest) takes number #1 as the only upscale segment brand to receive the highest five circle ranking, but with only 45 locations this brand has limited geography. The Omni Hotels I have been to in San Francisco and Colorado have been high hotel quality and could fit suitably in the luxury category. Omni Select Guest ran a promotion in May 2010 giving loyalty program members a complimentary BOGO certificate for free weekend night (Loyalty traveler May 6, 2010) .
The number of properties in a hotel chain is a primary consideration when choosing a hotel loyalty program and aiming for elite status with all the additional benefits received with hotel stays like upgrades, bonus points, and welcome gifts. Omni Hotels may rank five circles in the JD Power consumer ranking, however, 45 locations may not cover your annual hotel stay needs. When you travel around you need a hotel loyalty program that earns in lots of places!
Upscale Hotel Brands by Number of Hotels in North America
Hilton Hotels (Hilton HHonors) = 330 hotels is a rough estimate due to the difficulty of finding a simple listing of hotels as with other hotel websites. This Hilton link requires a search by each country or state. Hilton Hotel locations.
Sheraton (Starwood Preferred Guest) = 212 hotels in North America; 440 hotels worldwide. Sheraton Hotel locations.
Embassy Suites (Hilton HHonors) has 200+ hotels, nearly all in North America. Embassy Suites hotel locations.
Doubletree (Hilton HHonors) = about 200 hotels, nearly all hotels in brand are in North America. Doubletree Hotel locations.
Crowne Plaza (IHG Priority Club) = about 200 hotels in North America. Crowne Plaza locations.
Radisson (Carlson Goldpoints Plus) = about 170 in North America; 430 hotels globally. Radisson Hotel locations.
Westin Hotels (Starwood Preferred Guest) = 132 hotels in North America; 200+ hotels globally. Westin Hotel locations.
Hyatt Hotels (Hyatt Gold Passport) = about 140 hotels in North America. Hyatt locations.
Renaissance Hotels (Marriott Rewards) = about 90 hotels in North America. Renaissance Hotel locations.
Delta Hotels = 45 hotels in Canada. Delta Hotel locations.
Aloft Hotels (Starwood Preferred Guest) = 40 hotels in North America and five international locations. Aloft Hotel locations.
Hotel Indigo (Priority Club) = 39 hotels North America and 9 international. Hotel Indigo locations.
Wyndham Hotels (Wyndham Rewards) = 29 hotels in North America. Wyndham Hotel locations.
Loyalty traveler Commentary on upscale hotel brands:
Hilton HHonors members may not have much action on the luxury front with limited locations for Conrad and Waldorf-Astoria Collection hotels in North America (around 20), but HHonors members have plenty of choice with access to the most properties in the upscale segment for over 700 hotels in North America with Embassy Suites, Hilton and Doubletree.
Embassy Suites ranks as the #2 hotel brand in the upscale segment. In my opinion the allure of a guaranteed suite and free breakfast makes these hotels too family friendly for my taste. Pools are kid zones and breakfast buffet requires paying attention to the little-hand food contaminators pawing the selections. The breakfast zone at an Embassy Suites makes me feel like I am at home fending for my seafood dinner with three cats pacing around me.
Marriott Rewards members have a good selection of upscale hotels in North America with Marriott and Renaissance brands reaching 450 hotels.
Starwood Hotels ranks with three brands in Aloft, Westin and Sheraton with about 400 hotels in North America.
Interesting to see the high guest satisfaction with Starwood’s Aloft. The Aloft cookie-cutter room design is great for a solo business traveler needing a place to sleep and get some work in, but the hotel is not the kind of place I would wish to spend a vacation. The design is visually appealing with vibrant colors but lacks a geographical hotel character. If you have been to one Aloft, then you have seen them all and the only guest surprise in a new location comes in the form of your room window view of Portland Airport or Denver Airport or ….
IHG Priority Club has Hotel Indigo and Crowne Plaza with around 250 hotels which leaves a gap in the competition with Hilton, Marriott and Starwood for the upscale market segment. IHG has a particularly strong presence in the midscale (3,000+ hotels with Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express) and Luxury markets (InterContinental Hotels is largest global chain brand). I have not been to a Hotel Indigo yet. “Press Trip” is resounding in my head.
Hyatt has around 130 hotels in Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Regency, Hyatt Resorts and Hyatt Vacation Clubs in North America. Hyatt Hotels ranked below the JD Power average for the upscale hotel brand segment. I can’t really rationalize this result except to say that many of the Hyatt properties are older and were designed as large conference style hotels and perhaps this is a detractor to many travelers. I generally find Hyatt to be a solid upscale brand.
Radisson has around 170 hotels in USA and the company has embarked on a major upgrade campaign for the North America brand and image. The loyalty program keeps improving and has a good value proposition in benefits.
Delta Hotels ranks poorly in the 2010 JD Power index in 15th and the bottom of the ranked upscale hotel brands. Fortunately these 45 or so hotels are in Canada or unfortunately depending on which side of the border you are a frequent guest. I know nothing about this brand personally. I’ll need to do some homework on the brand and check their hotels out the next time I am in Canada.
Crowne Plaza, Doubletree and Sheraton take the JD Power Guest satisfaction short straws. Granted there are some poor quality locations but that is to be expected considering the size of these three brands. Each brand has around 200 hotels in the US and together these three brands have twice the number of domestic hotels as the 15 major luxury brands discussed in the luxury segment Loyalty Traveler post. I have stayed at some very nice hotel properties with each of these hotel brands.
Wyndham Hotels & Resorts ranked above the average and earned three circles for the upscale market segment. The consumer guest ratings are comparable to Hilton, Hotel Indigo and Hyatt.
Related Loyalty Traveler posts on JD Power 2010 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index and hotel market segments: