The Americas Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS) is the opportunity for hotel brand representatives, property management companies, hotel owners and financiers to get together, discuss the state of the industry and make deals. The 2013 conference was held Jan 22-24 at JW Marriott L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles.
What many hotel guests do not realize is the fact that the brand name whether Westin, Residence Inn, Hampton Inn, or whatever is primarily for marketing and sales. The hotel has an owner who may own other hotels in different brands. I have met several hotel owners who have multiple hotels in the same area under different competing brands. And the hotel may even be managed by a different company than the franchise. For example a Westin Hotel branded as a Starwood, might be managed by a third party hotel management company and owned by some other individual or investment group.
This was my first time attending ALIS. I was not sure how relevant the conference would be for Loyalty Traveler. There was good data content and some insights into 2013 trends during presentations. I will pass along some of the data trends like where the rates are rising fastest in Europe and why the USA is now once again everybody’s darling with data from STR, PKF, PwC and other 3-letter acronym hotel industry sources.
As someone only peripherally connected to the hotel industry I found the hotel brand trade booths interesting and I photographed them. This post shares the hotel brands exhibit hall portion of the conference for the major hotel chains present at ALIS with brand booths. Hotel trade show booths are certainly not the most novel thing for a reader who has been to a travel or hotel industry trade show, but if you have never seen hotel trade show booths before, then here is your chance.
Best Western promotes their three tier branding with Best Western, Best Western Plus and Best Western Premier. The chain’s trademark “The World’s Biggest Hotel Family” is based on all 4,100+ hotels being called Best Western. The three hotel chains with more hotels: Choice, IHG and Wyndham operate numerous brands. IHG’s Holiday Inn (1,300+ hotels) and Holiday Inn Express (2,000+ hotels) together are the second largest global brand by number of hotels.
Best Western Rewards has 13 million members.
Best Western Premier Hotels (Top Tier)
By the Numbers (12/31/2011)
- Best Western Premier Hotels in North America = 30.
- Average room per hotel = 116.
- Average Daily Rate = $124.56
- Best Western Premier Hotels worldwide = >160.
Features of Best Western Premier Hotels
- stylish design.
- on site dining and cocktail bar.
- premium linens and towels
- LCD or plasma TV with HD channels.
- in-room microwave, refrigerator, safe, premium clock with MP3 connection.
- Fitness center
- Business Center
- Meeting room spaces
Best Western Plus (mid-tier brand)
By the Numbers (12/31/2011)
- Best Western Premier Hotels in North America = 840.
- Average room per hotel = 91.
- Average Daily Rate = $94.22
Features of Best Western Premier Hotels
- complimentary breakfast
- complimentary internet
- in-room refrigerator
- Fitness center
- Business Center
- on site guest laundry (at many locations)
Carlson Rezidor Hotels Group
Hotel Missoni is listed on the Carlson Rezidor Hotels Group booth as one of their brands. Currently there are properties in Edinburgh and Kuwait. I knew Hotel Missoni was part of the hotel chain, yet this is the first time I have seen it prominently displayed. Looks like the Missoni brand will be Carlson Rezidor’s luxury brand to replace Regent Hotels, the brand Carlson sold a few years ago. Hotel Missoni does not participate in Club Carlson at this time.
Choice Hotels International.
The Choice Hotels booth focused on their two higher end brands the company is growing: Ascend Collection and Cambria Suites.
Dolce Hotels and Resorts
Dolce Hotels & Resorts are properties geared for small business conferences. I learned of Dolce a few years ago when I was taking my wife for regular cancer treatments in San Jose. I first visited The City Estate: Dolce Hayes Mansion, San Jose during one of her hours long chemotherapy sessions and that was the first time I heard of Dolce Hotels who mange this historic estate property for the City of San Jose. This hotel is a steal some nights for a room inside the mansion house.
Ravella Resort at Lake Las Vegas is a Dolce Hotels & Resorts managed property in the former Ritz-Carlton Lake Las Vegas that was foreclosed three years ago. This hotel about 20 miles east of the Las Vegas Strip is an absolute bargain with rates frequently around $100 per night when there is not a conference happening. Loyalty Traveler article May 2011 Ravella at Lake Las Vegas Summer Sale for Cheap Luxury.
Hilton Worldwide is owned since 2007 by Blackstone Group who are big players in the hotel industry. Blackstone bought Extended Stay America Hotels in 2004 for $3 billion after the stock had tumbled following 9/11 and sold the hotel chain in 2007 for $8 billion. In 2010 Blackstone bought back Extended Stay in bankruptcy auction for $4.2 billion. That is the world of high finance for you. Blackstone also owns La Quinta Inns and purchased Motel 6 from Accor Hotels in 2012 for $1.9 billion in the biggest hotel deal of the year. The Motel 6 deal was honored with an ALIS Awards 2012 Merger & Acquisition of the Year award.
One of the Hilton executives on a panel said San Francisco is one spot where they are looking to open a Waldorf-Astoria and/or Conrad.
I was recognized and greeted at ALIS by one of Hyatt’s corporate managers at the end of a panel presentation. And I try so hard to stay behind the scenes, but remaining anonymous is difficult when I show up at conferences with the hotel folks.
The news I picked up from Hyatt is there are hotel projects in development that will combine Hyatt House and Hyatt Place in the same property. This is common for Marriott where Residence Inn and Courtyard are found side by side in many locations.
InterContinental Hotels Group
I don’t think I attended any sessions with IHG executives. Nothing new to report on the brands. But I did stay at the Crowne Plaza Beverly Hills for the conference. That was my 5,000 points + $70 nightly rate during the award rates glitch early last week. The hotel should have been 35,000 points per night. Rates were $250 after tax.
The 8.0 mile drive down Olympic Blvd from Beverly Hills to JW Marriott at LA Live took 30 minutes each time I made the trip. That is Los Angeles for you. Staff at Crowne Plaza Beverly Hills were very nice. The hotel room was comfortable and decently furnished, but in general, the physical building needs a remodel.
One of the sessions had a Marriott executive on a panel. There was discussion on the growth of Autograph Collection. Interesting to hear that hotel brands like Courtyard and Fairfield Inn get regular lists of property improvements and changes required as a franchise hotel. The idea is to keep the brand uniform and consistent across the chain. It was mentioned that money-cost changes can sometimes be delayed for hotels with high guest satisfaction, like in the top 25% of hotels for the brand. But there is far less negotiation room for hotels that perform low in guest satisfaction (bottom 25%).
Apparently hotel members in Autograph Collection have much more freedom to be individual and non-uniform as the boutique brand of Marriott in the upper upscale market segment.
Red Lion Inn
Red Lion is a small, primarily Pacific Northwest hotel chain. They are going to place me on their promotions direct mailing list after I mentioned that I never heard about them giving away a few Alaska Airlines million mile frequent flyer prizes this year to random guests. I checked a couple of summer 2012 issues of InsideFlyer magazine and didn’t see it listed there either.
Red Lion was reported to be seeking a buyer last year, but I guess that plan was shelved. They announced the launch of a new Leo Hotel brand at ALIS.
No big insights into Starwood, although I did hear a panel discussion on loyalty programs with Hyatt and Carlson executives implying the programs are stagnant and need to move beyond points. The Starwood executive stated SPG members are very good for their chain.
Not breaking news, but I just learned that W Silicon Valley in Newark (East Bay San Francisco/Oakland) closed and reopens next month as an Aloft Hotel. The Newark property definitely brought down the average daily rate for the W Hotels brand. I stayed there at least 20 nights for under $80 per night over the past decade.
Starwood Hotels by the Numbers
- Sheraton = 424 hotels
- Westin = 189 hotels
- Four Points = 170 hotels
- Le Meridien = 97 hotels
- Luxury Collection 83 hotels
- Aloft = 62 hotels
- W = 43 hotels
- St. Regis = 29 hotels
- Element = 10 hotels
- Vacation Ownership = 13 properties.
Starwood Hotels Geographic Distribution
- North America = 577 hotels
- Europe, Africa, Middle East = 245 hotels
- Latin America = 70 hotels
- Asia Pacific = 236 hotels
Wyndham Hotel Group
7,100+ hotels – 66 countries – 15 brands – 6 continents
The booth seemed to be pushing the Dream and Night hotel brands with their display. I asked about Planet Hollywood development. Panama City, Panama; Doha, Qatar and Boao, China are coming, but that news is almost two years old.
Wyndham by the Numbers
The company brochure says “World’s Largest Hotel Company”. As of Sep 30, 2012 the hotel chain had 7,257 hotels.
Wyndham Rewards = more than 7 million members.
- Baymont Inn & Suites = 257 hotels
- Days Inn = 1,832 hotels
- Dream Hotels = 5 hotels
- Hawthorn Suites = 94 hotels
- Howard Johnson = 445 hotels
- Knights Inn = 358 hotels
- Microtel Inns & Suites = 309 hotels
- Night Hotels = 2 hotels
- Planet Hollywood = 1 hotel
- Ramada = 843 hotels
- Super 8 = 2,312 hotels
- Travelodge = 438 hotels
- Tryp = 90 hotels
- Wingate = 163 hotels
- Wyndham Hotels & Resorts = 109 hotels
Geographic distribution of Wyndham Hotels
- USA = 5,752 hotels
- Canada = 489 hotels
- Caribbean, Mexico, Central & South America = 105 hotels
- Europe = 288 hotels
- Asia/Pacific = 585 hotels
Ric Garrido, writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler, shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. You can follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.