Hotel Online  Special Report
---
The Global Hospitality Advisor

.
Point Of View:
>
Brands And Brand Management
In The Hotel Industry 

 

.

By Tom Engel, December 2007

Years back, a former Proctor & Gamble brand manager became the old Holiday Inns’ president. He recruited me to create and launch the “Suite Brand” (aka Embassy Suites).  

When we spoke, people in the industry looked at the two of us like we had three eyes.   

In retrospect, I now understand why. We spoke in a strange tongue. He and I used expressions like “brand positioning” and “consumer end benefit,” “brand character,” “sustainable brand point of difference” and the like.  

Those were the pioneer days of hotel industry brand segmentation. Those early pioneers were educated within  “pure-play” schools of brand management—the leading consumer packaged goods companies that taught their brand managers how to create, manage and lead a brand.  

The hotel industry’s brand pioneers got it pretty right judging by the staying power of the hotel brands they created: Courtyard by Marriott, Embassy Suites, Hampton Inns, Residence Inn, Ramada Renaissance, and Crowne Plaza Hotels and Resorts. All these brands were pretty much launched within 24 months of each other in the early 1980s.

Today, brand management vocabulary is commonplace, used by most hotel industry marketing types, and now used pretty much by hotel executives up and down the management spectrum. Equity analysts following the lodging industry even lace their reports about what “this Brand is doing or not doing.”

The problem is that most hotel execs using “brand management” language throw it around without a clue as to the meaning and power, for example, of the words Brand Positioning. Positioning is a sacred expression within the walls of Procter, Coca Cola and Unilever.  

Nor do many in the hotel industry know what a brand’s “sustainable point of difference” means, let alone how to create it. But that doesn't stop them. They say their brand stands for something. But do consumers agree?  

Who out there can articulate today’s Holiday Inn brand positioning? How about Radisson? Don't feel dumb if you can’t. (I'm not picking on those two, the list is endless).

I think one brand sponsor gets it better than the others: Starwood’s chief, Steve Heyer, a transplanted Coca Cola brand manager. When he arrived at Starwood he had Starwood's execs step way back and reflect on the foolish way most of their (and the other) hotel brands were marketed. Heyer then set his team on a path of retooling Starwood’s brands. And I believe the results are showing.  

For example, though Westin’s currently-mandated brand initiatives are not proprietary—the botanical additions (lobby flowers in glass vases), the scent machines, new music, mood lighting and candles, and so on—these “brand positioning” initiatives were consumer-research driven and appear to be creating the favorable “brand pull” sought from end-benefit initiatives. 

Looking ahead as a continued stakeholder in the lodging industry, I remain skeptical, but hopeful, that others also get it and will truly make their brands stand for something.  

If the brand sponsors do get smarter and become more authentic “brand managers” more powerful brands will emerge. And that will be for the better as most of us today are increasingly brand-oriented and brand-dependent in the hotels and resorts we own and manage.

Tom Engel is founder and President of the Boston-based T.R. ENGEL Group, LLC (TRE), an international hotel real estate asset management and advisory group. Prior to creating TRE, Engel spent seven (7) years as Executive Vice President, Equitable Real Estate Investment Management, where he created and managed its Lodging and Leisure Group. He is also credited with creating/co-creating three (3) lodging brands—Embassy Suites, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts and Hawthorn Suites hotels. Engel entered the lodging business following an earlier career in brand management with Unilever and Revlon, Inc., New York City. Engel earned an under-graduate degree from the University of St. Thomas and graduate degree from Northwestern University.



Copyright © 2006 Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Marmaro LLP (JMBM). All rights reserved. Global Hospitality Advisor® and Ask the Hotel Lawyer™ are trademarks/service marks of JMBM. The Global Hospitality Advisor® is published four times a year for the clients and friends of JMBM.
.


For more information:
Jeffer Mangels Butler & Marmaro LLP
1900 Avenue of the Stars, 7th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90067-4308
Attn: Jim Butler
310.201.3526 • 310.203.0567 fax
jbutler@jmbm.com
http://www.jmbm.com

The premier hospitality practice
in a full-service law firm
 --
Also See: Industry Outlook: Looking Back on 2006, Looking Forward to 2007/ Global Hospitality Advisor / December 2006
What Makes a Successful Condo-Hotel Project? Part Two / Excerpts from a Panel Discussion at JMBM's The Hotel Developers Conference™ / Global Hospitality Advisor / September 2006
Planning for a Hotel Brand Transition / Robert Braun, JMBM / September 2006
Regulating Condo Hotels; Bad Condo Hotel Municipal Ordinances Will Discourage Good Projects / Catherine DeBono Holmes / Global Hospitality Advisor / June 2006
Union Withdraws Complaint Against Hotel; NLRB Concludes Owners Do Not Have to Re-hire Workforce / Marta Fernandez / Global Hospitality Advisor / June 2006
American Indian Gaming Fuels Opportunities for Hospitality Industry / Global Hospitality Advisor / June 2006
Jim Butler on Condo Hotels / The Evolution of Rental Revenue Splits and Expense Allocations / March 2006
The Labor Pains of Hotel Closings; Optimal Strategies for Full or Partial Hotel Closings / Marta Fernandez - JMBM / March 2006
A Developers Nightmare: How Municipal Ordinances Can Make Condo Hotels “Securities” / JMBM / February 2006
Condo Hotels and the Americans with Disabilities Act: A Case of Mistaken Identity? Is your condo hotel a “residence” or a “place of public accommodation”? / JMBM / February 2006
Outlook 2006: GHA Hospitality Roundtable / JMBM / December 2005
The Condo Hotel Boom - What Does it Mean for the Hotel Industry / JMBM / December 2005
Ask the Hotel Lawyer™ / New Business Uncertainty: Jury Trial Waivers Struck / December 2005
Five Keys to Successful Condo Hotel Regimes / “Ask the Hotel Lawyer”  / October 2005
Americans With Disabilities Act Update: the Hospitality Industry, A Consistent Target of Abusive ADA Litigation, May Get Some Relief from Abusive Lawsuits / Marty Orlick / October 2005
Labor Wars: A Hotel Survival Guide - Watch Out For Neutrality Agreements / Marta M. Fernandez / September 2005
How to Make a Condo Hotel Deal - Part II / Jim Butler and Guy Maisnik / June 2005
Avoiding The Pitfalls of Condo Hotel Structuring; Steps To SEC Compliance / Peter Connolly / June 2005
The 2005 Lodging Industry Investment Council Top Ten; LIIC's List of Major Hotel Investment Opportunities and Challenges / May 2005
Copyright Laws Applicable to Hotels / Jim Abrams / March 2005
Condo Hotels - How to Make Them Work / Jim Butler and Guy Maisnik / February 2005
The Condo Part of Condo Hotels; A Primer on How to Create a Common Interest Development / David Waite, JMBM / The Global Hospitality Advisor / February 2005
Catching the Buzz on Condo Hotels, A Roundtable Discussion / The Global Hospitality Advisor / JMBM / December 2004 
Outlook 2005: Hotel Industry Fundamentals, Where have we been? Where are we going? / The Global Hospitality Advisor / JMBM / December 2004
How to Master Your Next Disaster Protect your guests, educate your employees, and limit your liability / Julia L. Rider / JMBM / October 2004
Wage & Hour Class Action Lawsuits: Hospitality Employers Caught in the Cross Hairs / Marta Fernandez / JMBM / September 2004
Adopting Pet And Service Animal Policies To Avoid Lawsuits from Disabled Hotel Guests / Marty Orlick / JMBM / September 2004
Politics Over, New ‘Overtime’ Law Takes Effect; The Significant Changes / JMBM / September 2004
Hotel Franchise Agreements: Opportunities And Pitfalls / JMBM / September 2004
ADA Lawsuit Alert: Beware the Internet Surf-by; A new twist on the ADA drive-by lawsuit / JMBM / September 2004
Hotel Unions Challenging Work Rules Found in Hotel Employer / The Global Hospitality Advisor Handbooks; Claim Interference with Employees’ Rights to Organize / JMBM / October 2003
Wage and Hour Lawsuits and Audits Continue to Sweep the Hospitality Industry / The Global Hospitality Advisor / JMBM / October 2003
Prepare NOW for an ADA Attack; Myths and Tips on How to Minimize Exposure / The Global Hospitality Advisor / JMBM / October 2003
Sarbanes-Oxley Update / The Global Hospitality Advisor / JMBM / Arpil 2003
Equal Public Access or Access to Deep Pockets? The Hospitality Industry Remains a Target of Lawsuits by Disability Rights Groups Under the Americans with Disabilities Act / The Global Hospitality Advisor / JMBM / March 2003
Outlook 2003: A Roundtable Discussion / The Global Hospitality Advisor / JMBM / Dec 2002 
Time Bomb Waiting to Explode: Wage & hour Claims Over Exempt Employees / The Global Hospitality Advisor / JMBM / Oct 2002
I'm Mad as Hell, and I'm Not Going to Take it Anymore! / The Global Hospitality Advisor / JMBM / Oct 2002
Settlement Procedure Available to California Hotels Plagued by Prop 65 Cases - The Global Hospitality Advisor / April  2002 
Top Ten Investment Challenges Facing the Lodging Industry / Lodging Industry Investment Council / April 2002 
Decertifying a Union? The Employer’s Bill of Rights / The Global Hospitality Advisor / JMBM / April 2002 
Outlook 2002: A Roundtable Discussion /  Bruce Baltin, Bjorn Hanson, Randy Smith, Jack Westergom - The Global Hospitality Advisor / January 2002 
New Rules for Hotel Workouts: REMICs for Dummies / The Global Hospitality Advisor / JMBM / December 2001 
Living in the Wake: Predictions & Practical Implications / The Global Hospitality Advisor / JMBM / December 2001 
Avoiding Liability for Lay-Offs / The Global Hospitality Advisor / December 2001
The Worker Adustment and Retraining Notification Act: Impact on the Hotel Industry / JMBM 
When is an Apartment a Hotel ... and Who Cares? / The Global Hospitality Advisor / JMBM / September 2001 
The 'Perfect Storm' / The Global Hospitality Advisor / JMBM / September 2001 
Richard Kessler's Grand Theme Hotels - Interview with GHG Chairman  Jim Butler / March 2001
Stephen Rushmore's  Industry Trends / Top Markets, Predictions & Opportunities  / Jan 2001
Outlook 2001: A Roundtable Discussion The Global Hospitality Advisor / Jan 2001
Perspectives on Hotel Financing in 2001; Jim Butler, JMBM's Global Hospitality Group Chairman, Interviews Two Active Players in Hotel Finance / Jan 2001 
Robert J. Morse: Millennium’s New President / Interview with GHG Chairman Jim Butler / Nov 2000 


To search Hotel Online data base of News and Trends Go to Hotel.Online Search
Back to Hotel.Online Press Releases
Home | Welcome! | Hospitality News | Classifieds | Catalogs & Pricing | Viewpoint Forum | Ideas/Trends
Please contact Hotel.Online with your comments and suggestions.