Hotel Online  Special Report


Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 49
Slave Trading at the Saint Charles Hotel in Washington DC,  
Why Are Some Hotel Franchise Companies Defranchising
Exterior Corridor Hotels?
By Stanley Turkel, MHS, ISHC
February  2009

1.  Slave Trading in Washington-   three blocks from where President Barack Obama took the oath, there once stood the Saint Charles Hotel which housed slave traders.  It advertised that below its restaurant, guests could temporarily hold slaves in its six 30-foot-long arched slave cells complete with wall rings and shackles.  The hotel advertised: “In case of escape, full value for the Negro will be paid”.  Nearby was the three-story Yellow House slave market where slave traders sold their cargo of slaves.  The National Mall sits on the former site of the city’s most bustling slave market.  This information and much more, is contained in the book “Black Men Built the Capitol” by Washington reporter for the Associated Press, Jesse J. Holland.  The book reports that enslaved black men built the Capitol, White House and other important Washington buildings and that Philip Reid, a thirty-nine-year-old slave from South Carolina cast the model of the Statute of Freedom that sits atop the Capitol Dome.  The grounds of the Arlington Cemetery were, from 1863 to 1888, a self-sustaining village for former slaves called the Freedman’s Village.

2.  Impertinent Questions in Search of Pertinent Answers-  

  • Why do the advertisements of the largest hotel franchise companies never mention subjects of greatest interest to franchisees: areas of protection, encroachment and impact, termination and liquidated damages, arbitration vs. litigation, choice of law venues, etc?
  • How do the following large franchise companies measure up to AAHOAs 12 Points of Fair Franchising: Marriott, InterContinental, Starwood, Hilton, Hyatt? Why not give us your own self-evaluation?
  • Why are some hotel franchise companies defranchising exterior corridor hotels?  The most expressed reason is that guests prefer interior corridor hotels because they are safer.  However, there is no published evidence to support this conclusion.
There are an estimated 500,000 brand-affiliated, exterior-corridor hotel rooms now operating in the United States.  If you add independent properties, there are probably one million rooms, or 30 percent of all domestic hotel rooms.  At a 50 percent occupancy and $30 average daily rate, these hotels generate nearly $5 billion in annual room revenues and pay $150 million in royalty fees (using a conservative three-percent franchise fee).

Unfortunately, there is a dearth of reliable data regarding many of the questions involved in this controversy:

  • How many exterior-corridor properties are in operation in the U.S.?
  • What do travelers think about exterior-corridor properties?
  • Are these properties considered outdated and undesirable?
  • How many guests still would rather park close to their rooms so they can:
    •  see their automobiles and their possessions
    •  have a short walk with their luggage
    •  have the convenience of avoiding hotel lobbies, elevators and long interior corridors
  • Do women guests believe that exterior corridor hotels are safer?
The hotel industry badly needs primary research on consumer preferences for exterior corridor hotels.  Franchisors and franchisees should sponsor such research under the aegis of one or more of the following: the American Hotel & Lodging Association, The Asian American Hotel Owners Association, The Cornell Center for Hospitality Research, the NYU Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management and/or other hotel schools at major universities.

3.  Americas First Franchising System-  No, it was not A&W Root Beer or Termimex Pest Control or Howard Johnson restaurants.  It was Martha Matilda Harper (1857-1950) who developed a network of franchised beauty salons in 1891.  Each salon was owned and operated by a woman trained in the “Harper Method”.  Harper inspected the franchised salons, provided training, group insurance, worldwide advertising and beauty products.  Harper developed her own organic shampoos and tonic to be used in the Harper Method encompassing hygiene, nutrition and exercise.

At the height of their success, there were more than 500 Harper salons along with a chain of training schools.  Ultimately, Harper opened a laboratory in Rochester, NY and added new products to her line including other hair preparations, creams, makeup, permanent wave and hair coloring products.

The franchised Harper shops changed the lives of hundreds of women who became owners through Harper’s flexible financing.  Harper shops were customer-focused with reclining shampoo chairs, scalp massages and other stress reduction relaxation techniques.  They also provided childcare and evening hours.  Harper introduced flextime, profit sharing and paid personal time off.  She created the first widespread franchising system and a model that included training, centralized management, quality control standards, independent ownerships and wider opportunities for women.

4.  Steve Rushmore’s Louisiana Roadfood Festival- Is there a more appealing event than this HVS-sponsored festival featuring Louisiana’s legendary roadside eats in the heart of New Orleans?  In conjunction with the Louisiana Office of Tourism and the Tabasco Company, is bringing sixteen of the state’s best restaurant cooks to the French Quarter to prepare the world’s longest po-boy, bayou boudin sausage, Cane River meat pies, catfish and hushpuppies, gateau sirop and bourbon bread pudding, jambalaya, crawfish pie, file gumbo and much more.  There will be strolling brass bands and soloists, panel discussions and ad hoc debates about outstanding Roadfood.  Admission is free; proceeds from food and beverage go to participating restaurants, including New Orlean’s own Café Reconcile which provides at-risk kids the opportunity to learn the food service business.  For more information about the festival:

5.  Quote of the Month-  

“All saints can perform miracles, but only a few can manage a hotel”
                                                        Mark Twain

Stanley Turkel, MHS, ISHC operates his hotel consulting office as a sole practitioner specializing in franchising issues, asset management and litigation support services.  Turkel’s clients are hotel owners and franchisees, investors and lending institutions.  Turkel serves on the Board of Advisors and lectures at the NYU Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management.  He is a member of the prestigious International Society of Hospitality Consultants.  His provocative articles on various hotels subjects have been published in the Cornell Quarterly, Lodging Hospitality, Hotel Interactive, Hotel-Online, AAHOA Lodging Business, etc.  Don’t hesitate to call 917-628-8549 or email

Stanley Turkel, MHS, ISHC

Also See: Nobody Asked Me, But No. 48 / New President of Wyndham Ignores the Real Issues; Hotel Franchises Compared to Auto Dealer Franchises / Stanley Turkel / January 2009
Nobody Asked Me, But No. 47 / New CEO of Choice Misses an Opportunity; Lost and Forgotten Hotels; Little Known Hotel Facilities in New York / Stanley Turkel / December 2008
Nobody Asked Me, But No. 45/ Remembering John Curry; Hotel Owners Have The Power / Stanley Turkel / October 2008
Nobody Asked Me, But No. 44 / Hotel Franchise Companies Performance Appraisal Report, a Down-to-earth Assessment of the Hotel Capital Markets / Stanley Turkel / September 2008
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 43  / Hotel Franchisor Companies Ignoring Critical Franchising Issues,  Marriott Leads the Way with Aggressive Environmental Strategies / Stanley Turkel / August 2008
Nobody Asked Me, But No. 42 / Remembering Jack Craver; World Record-Setting Hotels; At Last: A Major Gaming Facility in the Catskills / Stanley Turkel / July 2008
Nobody Asked Me, But No. 41 / Landmark Belleview Biltmore Resort Saved; Hotel Developers Take Note - the Borough of Bronx in NYC Has 1.5 million Residents and Just One Hotel in the AAA Guide; Boutique Hotel Bandwagon / Stanley Turkel / June 2008
Nobody Asked Me, But No. 39 / Say Goodbye To The UFOC; Dunfey Brothers To Be Honored; The Plaza Hotel Reopens After a $400 Million Renovation / Stanley Turkel / April 2008
Nobody Asked Me, But No. 38 / Super 8 Owners Form an Independent Franchise Association; Why Is There a Bible in Every Hotel Room? / Stanley Turkel / March 2008
Nobody Asked Me, But No. 37 / Remember the Savoy Plaza Hotel?; Is Economic Disaster Imminent; Cuba at the Crossroads / Stanley Turkel / February 2008
Nobody Asked Me, But No. 36 / What the Advertisements for the Largest Hotel Franchise Companies Never Mention - Also Measuring Hotel Brand Value / Stanley Turkel / January 2008
Nobody Asked Me, But No. 35 / Casino Expansion Has Transformed America, Exercise Awareness / Stanley Turkel / December 2007
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 34 / IHG’s Great Idea, Sound-Proofing Hotels, Best Western Enters the Upper Midscale Segment, How to Convert Confusion Into Order,  Sign at a Tarrytown, NY Inn, 1798 / November 2007
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 33 / 1957 Murder at the Park Sheraton Hotel; How Much Does A Franchise Really Cost?A Marriage Made in Heaven?; A Good Night’s Sleep at the Benjamin Hotel / Stanley Turkel / October 2007
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 31 - Rhode Island Improves Franchise Rules, What’s Up With Canada? Conversion of a Jail Into a Hotel, The Richest (and Poorest) Places in the U.S. / Stanley Turkel / September 2007
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 31 - Blackstone's Acquisition of Hilton, The Art of Groveling, The Origin of Franchising / Stanley Turkel / August 2007
Nobody Asked Me, But…. No. 30 / Impertinent Questions In Search of Pertinent Answers: Carbon monoxide detectors, exterior-corridor properties / Stanley Turkel / July 2007
How American-Owned Can You Get?, ISHC's CapEx 2007 Report, The Bowery Hotel / Stanley Turkel / June 2007
Hotel Franchising and State Laws, Is Immigration Important? Save the Biltmore, The Good Old Days, Quote of the Month / Stanley Turkel / May 2007
Nobody Asked Me, But - No. 27 / Hotel Franchise Agreements: Mediation, Arbitration or Litigation? / Stanley Turkel / April 2007
Nobody Asked Me, But - No. 26 / Energy Usage and Potential Savings; Great Art in Hotels; Lifestyle Hotels; The Minimum Wage Issue; Quote of the Month / Stanley Turkel / March 2007
Nobody Asked Me, But - No. 25 / Guestroom Design & Amenities, Get a Human, Best Luxury Hotels in the U.S., Turnpike, The Pineapple as Symbol of Hospitality, Fair Franchising / Stanley Turkel / February 2007
Nobody Asked Me, But - No. 24 / Loose Cannon, Fair Franchising, Manhattan Hotel Profits, Hotels of the Future, Interesting Miscellany, Quote of the Month / Stanley Turkel / January 2007
Nobody Asked Me, But - No. 23 / Biting The Hand That Feeds You?, By The Numbers, Shortage of Hotel Rooms, There is No Free Lunch, Iron Laws of Business Travel, Happy New Year / Stanley Turkel / January 2007
Nobody Asked Me, But - No. 22 / Smart Elevators, Tony Marshall’s Memorial, Women in the Hospitality Industry / Stanley Turkel / December 2006
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 21 / The Drake Hotel in New York, Fair Franchising is Not an Oxymoron, By the Numbers, Another Secret Underground Shelter, Passing of Anthony G. Marshall / Stanley Turkel / December 2006
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 20 / Turnabout Is Fairplay, Secret Underground Shelter, By the Numbers, Genuine Fair Franchising/ Stanley Turkel / November 2006
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 19 / International Society of Hospitality Consultants, Great Miami Hotels, Reduce Carbon Monoxide Emissions, Turn Gray Into Gold / Stanley Turkel / November 2006
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 18 / John Q. Hammons, Save the Belleview Biltmore, Chinese Tourism, CFLs, Ernie Byfield, Guestroom Entertainment in 1905 / Stanley Turkel / October 2006
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 17 - AAHOA's 12 Points of Fair Franchising, Protected Territories, / Stanley Turkel / September 2006
The Newest Independent (and Oldest Partially Independent) Franchise Association in the Hotel Industry / Stanley Turkel / September 2006
In Hotel Franchising, Reality Trumps Wishful Thinking / Stanley Turkel / August 2006
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 14; Impact Studies, Stretching Segments, Short-Stay Rentals, Smoke-free Marriotts, Franchising in China, Save the Belleview Biltmore Hotel / August 2006
The U.S. Population Age 65 and Over is Expected to Double in the Next 25 Years; What Does this Mean for the Hotel Industry? / Stanley Turkel / July 2006
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 12; Portman, Women Homeowners, Minimum Wage, Tipping, Brooklyn Bridge, Chinese Tourism, Impact Studies / Stanley Turkel / July 2006
Do Hotel Franchisees Need Independent Franchise Associations? / Stanley Turkel / June 2006
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 10 / Chinese Tourists, Gasoline Prices and Alternatives, GLBT Segment, Travel Agents, FAC's, Manhattan's Record Breaking Year, Impertinent Questions / Stanley Turkel / June 2006
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 9 / Blang, Bathtubs, Best Green, Arbitration, Best Western, AAHOA, State Franchising Laws, VFR / Stanley Turkel / May 2006
Nobody Asked Me, But… No. 8; Bathtubs, Smokefree Hotels, Maps, Saving Water, Nevada Revenues, H.P. Rama, Ritz-Carlton, Statler Service Code, Mother’s Day / Stanley Turkel / April 2006
Nobody Asked Me, But….No. 7 / Stanley Turkel, MHS, ISHC / March 2006
Nobody Asked Me, But…. / Stanley Turkel / February 2006
Nobody Asked Me, But…. / Stanley Turkel / January 2006
Nobody Asked Me, But…. / Stanley Turkel / December 2005
Nobody Asked Me, But…. / Stanley Turkel / November 2005
Nobody Asked Me, But…. / Stanley Turkel / October 2005
Nobody Asked Me, But…. / Stanley Turkel / September 2005

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