Oct272015

BTN 2015 Hotel Brand Survey

Business Travel News published hotel brand survey results based on corporate travel buyer ratings. This is an interesting survey with comments about dozens of hotel brands in articles looking at different chain scale market segments like Luxury, Upper Upscale, Upscale, Upper Midscale and Midscale.

Some of the main takeaway points beyond the brand rankings are the hotel trends for the USA. Hotel design has been geared the last few years on making the hotel a place for both leisure and work, given that Millennials seem to always be doing both at the same time to keep their job performance ratings up. Hotel chain mobile apps are one of the primary developments in the hotel industry. One of the biggest changes in hotel rooms is the conversion of bathtubs to walk-in showers. Hotel lobbies are styled to accommodate Millennials. I think that means you can expect to find plugs for electronics, seating for hanging out, and a bar nearby. As an aside, I read data recently showing that the biggest change in alcohol consumption over the past 20 years driven by Millennials’ habits is a shift from beer and wine to distilled spirits.

One of the most interesting comments to me is a quote from Bjorn Hanson, one of the leading academics on the hotel industry, who I often see quoted for industry trends:

“Brand consistency used to mean every hotel looked the same,” Hanson said. “Now, brand consistency means the experience is more the same. In general, whether it’s Westin or Hyatt Place or Springhill Suites, those create a very uniform experience, and … I don’t mean the color of the wallpaper in the lobby. It’s just kind of the feel and attitude of the property.”

BTN 2015 Hotel Brand Survey

The survey result winners are spread out across the hotel chains with only Carlson Rezidor and Choice Hotels not having a top ranked brand in any of the market segments, although Radisson ranked highest in meetings-focused ratings among the survey respondents.

Rising Hotel Rates

My stays at US hotels over the past few years has seen a drop in hotel market segment. This is also a trend seen with corporate buyers who are moving down in hotel market segment as average room rates continue to climb in the USA. The average room rate at upper-upscale hotel brands like Westin, Hyatt Regency, Marriott and Hilton is $175 per night.

Upscale market segment hotels with average room rates around $134 per night include brands like Hyatt Place, Starwood’s Aloft, Hilton Garden inn, DoubleTree by Hilton, Courtyard by Marriott, Radisson and Crowne Plaza. This is definitely my most common market segment for paid stays in the past two years, at least when I don’t opt for the even more affordable upper-midscale hotel segment, where rates are closer to $100 per night. That is a room rate I am comfortable with for my travels.

One comment that stuck with me regarding high room rates was when a hotel industry CEO I was meeting with in Monterey several years ago said, “$400 is a lot of money to spend on a hotel room night. You can buy a new computer for that price.”

In 2009 to 2012 I took advantage of the steep drop in luxury hotel rates to see what I had been missing all these years. Those were fun times when I could book a luxury hotel for $120 per night. These days finding a Hampton Inn or Courtyard for $120 per night can be a challenge.

My main takeaway from the luxury hotel stays experience is I realized I truly do not prefer luxury hotels over upper-upscale hotels. Being pampered is not my style. The main difference I find in luxury hotels compared to lower market segments is the setting and facilities. Many of these attributes of luxury hotels can be accessed for free or for the price of a drink at the bar as a visitor without paying the $400+ per night room rates to spend the night.

Andaz far above

Andaz San Diego

BTN 2015 Travel Survey

Some of the comments made in the articles are interesting to me. I have included links to several BTN articles published online for the different market segments.

Check out the entire report, including charts of the survey results, here, or read about each hotel tier and its winners:

Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton Lead Luxury Tier

Westin Tops Upper-Upscale Segment, Hyatt Place Leads Upscale

Best Western Plus Leads Upper-Midprice, Wingate Tops Midprice

Homewood Suites, Candlewood Suites Finish Atop Extended-Stay Tiers

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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