Room With a View
by Larry Mundy
July 2006


 A Chain, a System, a Franchise, a Collection, a Group, a Brand...
 
A bunch of similar things

Every hotel brand has a quandary describing the bunch of hotels that fly its flag.  The lodging press often refers to a “chain” of branded hotels, but you’ll notice the brands themselves shy away from this appellation.

I think that’s because “chain” has a few negative connotations, at least to those who’ve watched old prison movies.  The word implies that you are shackled or constricted, which some unhappy franchisees will tell you is an entirely appropriate connotation.  It also gives the impression of utter and absolute uniformity – when is the last time you saw an actual chain constructed of links in a variety of sizes and colors?  The only time you will hear a hotel-brand representative use the word “chain” is when the quality-assurance inspector is delivering the “weakest link” speech.

In your franchise agreement, you may see the word “system” used to describe the totality of the brand attributes – the trademarks, the reservations service, the hotels themselves dotting the landscape.  But brands rarely speak of their “system” of hotels, because that sounds so impersonal and mechanistic, like an assemblage of stereo components or a high-tech assembly line.  Not the impression we want to give the public.

A bunch of upscale or boutique hotels is frequently called a “collection,” as if they were plucked selectively during a leisurely stroll down the beach, to be displayed in a glass case in the drawing-room.  My impression is that a “collection” imports a significant variety in property sizes, types, and personalities – glued together, perhaps, by a uniformity in service levels or flavors of pillow-mints.  The word doesn’t seem as appropriate to a bunch of properties which are brand-standardized into similarity.

“Group” is a popular nomenclature for European brands.  Here in the U.S., “group” simply sounds too random, more appropriate to a rock band or motley assortment of people at a bus stop.  “Franchises” is out, because we don’t want the public to be reminded that brand uniformity really isn’t dictated by a single beneficent, grandfatherly type that owns them all.  “Variety,” “hodgepodge” and “mixed bag” are out for similar reasons.  

So we are left with the same designation, “brand,” common to facial tissues and faucets.  A branded property is not “the” SoftPillow Suites, it’s “a” SoftPillow Suites, remarkably similar to every other SoftPillow Suites on the planet.  That way the guest knows what to expect, at every freeway exit.



Larry Mundy works for a hotel company in Dallas.  His views are his own, and may differ considerably from those of a sane person."
 
Contact:

Larry Mundy
LJM2804@yahoo.com

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Also See: The Forensic Hotel Housekeeper / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / July 2006
The Exercise Room in Your Hotel - Sweating the Details / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / June 2006
Remembering the old-time Hotel Engineering Department / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / June 2006
Curse of the Hotel Lobby-Dwellers / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / June 2006
What Do You Do With an Old Hotel? / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / June 2006
Hotel Smokers: A Dying Breed / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / May  2006
The New Food & Beverage – Food “Just Like Home”  / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / May 2006
Guest Privacy – It’s Not Just a Door Tag Anymore / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / May 2006
The Future of Hotel Reservations / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / May 2006
Soon Every Town in America Will Have an Unused Convention Center / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / May 2006
Hotel Pool Safety 101 / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / May 2006
Where Not To Build a Hotel / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / May 2006
“Exterior Corridors” – Disappearing, Because They Never Existed / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy
My Top Ten Worst Hotel Inventions / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / April 2006
Bed Tech / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / April 2006
A Sense of Arrival / Room With a View - a Column by Larry Mundy / April 2006



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