Blurred segment offerings affect development

David Sangree offered his thoughts in a recent Hotel News Now report about the difficulty defining the differences between select-service and full-service hotels. Brand executives and developers are reaching consensus on when it makes sense to go beyond established brand standards. 


REPORT FROM THE U.S.—As lines blur between the definitions of select-service and full-service hotels, some developers are stretching beyond traditional brand standards, a trend that’s acceptable to many chain executives—to a point.
“Our guests have told us consistency is very important to them, but if we just made that a blanket statement, then we would go back to where we were 10 years ago when every single Hilton Garden Inn looked exactly the same regardless of location or market,” said Adrian Kurre, global head of Hilton Garden Inn brand management for Hilton Worldwide Holdings. “What we’ve found is we need to pick the lines in the sand where the guest wants to see consistency but allow owners some leeway in areas of not as much concern to guests.” 
Kurre and other sources said several factors—location, consumer expectations, competitiveness and others—drive developers to tinker with brand definitions.
“Guests have told us they want a hotel with a local flair, so the lobby in a Hilton Garden Inn in Idaho will probably look different than one in New York City,” Kurre said. “That said, guests still want consistent delivery of the important services and amenities so they know exactly what they can expect when they come in.”
Each hotel must maintain its brand essence in order to resonate with consumers, said Janis Milham, senior VP for select-service brands at Marriott International.
“The DNA of the brand must be present,” she said. “And by DNA I don’t just mean facilities, because that’s only one part. It’s the service, the experience, the relationship with the consumer. Those are equally as important as the facilities.”
It’s difficult to accurately define what is select service, said David Sangree, president of Hotel & Leisure Advisors and a Hotel News Now contributor.
“Is it (a hotel with) free breakfast or one that has a paid breakfast?” he said. “We probably consider Hilton Garden Inn to be in the select-service model and Hilton in the full-service model, but both hotels charge for breakfast. Hyatt Place, which is select service, has a free breakfast.”
Other items of differentiation between select and full, according to Sangree, include a concierge, 24-hour roomservice (although many full-service hotels don’t offer this amenity), size of the hotel and the amount of meeting space.
“Ultimately, though, there is no clear-cut definition of what select service means,” he said. To read the entire article, click here