The largest hotel chains are reinventing themselves to resenate with todays travelers who like the loyalty programs and perks of the larger chains but who don’t want to stay at the same old traditional cookie-cutter hotel associated with the chains. They are moving with the times by creating collections of independent hotels, buying out the smaller boutique brands and developing their own version of the new lifestyle brands. Hilton has started the Curio and collection. InterContinental Hotels Group acquired the Kimpton boutique brand. Hyatt did Centric and Starwood introduced Tribute Portfolio, a collection of four-star hotels. Mariott in addition to starting the EDITION lifestyle boutique hotels brand, has MOXY and AC Hotels from Spain.
The EDITION New York City’s debut on May 12 is the latest example of Marriott shedding its reputation as a creature of habit. In recent years, the Bethesda, Md.-based hotel company has introduced new brands that appeal to travelers looking for a more unique hotel experience.
“It’s a company that’s out there doing a lot of things and a lot of initiatives, and not resting on its laurels,” Schrager says.
These new Boutique Lifestyle Hotels “are brands that I think can be quite disruptive in their space because they are appealing to these young and young-at-heart travelers today who are looking for something quite fresh,” says Tina Edmundson, Marriott’s global officer for luxury and lifestyle brands.
Marriott has long been a support of the independent hotel and keenly aware of the trends that favour more independent travel, creating the Autograph Collection in 2010, with more than 81 properties. They have been an innovator als0 in catering to the new millennials and the rapidly growing demand for unpretentious and unique comfort and value.
Event the OTAs are getting into the act. Booking.com has acquired the Boutique Brand Buuteeq and has rolled out BookingSuit.com. Its a service not a hotel, but the critical point is that the marketplace, from hotels to distribution is waking up the the reality that small, unique and personal is in. We will say more about BookingSuit later as it says something important on the changing role of distribution and the growing potential of the hotel brand.