Emblems Collection is a “captivating portfolio of unique luxury hotels”. With the creation of Emblems Collection, Accor is broadening its footprint in the collection brands space and will look to replicate the success it has achieved with another of the Group’s brands – MGallery Hotel Collection. I understand the need for an individual hotel to join a major chain’s sales, distribution and loyalty platform. But what does another brand mean to a customer?
I have written on the subject before. There is a plethora of brands, sub brands, and collections in the market. Even the Emblems Collection is already subdivided into three categories: Heritage, Retreat and Signature – while the very first hotel in the collection has yet to open. That may all be fine from a brand marketeer point of view, but really can the customer make a distinction between all those brands? And within sub categories? It almost feels like every single hotel is a brand itself. Which in essence is what each hotel is, but do you need a brand slapped on?
Accor targets independent and boutique hotel owners “seeking to upgrade their property’s luxury status and give their global profile a boost”. And “the hotel brand standards of the collection are flexible, light, and easy to attain, with opportunities to sign franchise agreements – the only Accor luxury brand to offer this option. The new brand will encourage its hotels to retain their unique identities, which is important to hoteliers who have invested in creating a certain style for their hotel and/or market”. So why then join a global player when you already have a unique identity?
An independent hotelier nowadays has pretty much the same options to optimize sales and distribution (which usually are limited to their own platform and the usual OTAs) with levels as good, maybe better and certainly more flexible than with the chain brands. Loyalty programs could give a hotelier more customers – but make sure you are able to have black out dates. Also, realize that a chain wide program (all brands included) could give you guests accustomed to other brand standards and are not looking for your individual offering.