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Hotel brands: Ultimate guide to the top hotel chains

  Posted in Resources  Last updated 16/04/2024

What are hotel brands?

Hotel brands are unique identities created by hotel chains or individual hotels to stand out in the market. The world’s leading brands include top hotel groups like Marriott, Hilton, IHG, Hyatt, Wyndham, Accor, Choice Hotels, and Best Western.

Top hotel brands represent a mix of services, designs, and experiences tailored to different types of guests, such as luxury seekers or budget travellers. These brands help hotels attract loyal customers, showcase what makes them special, grow their revenue, and compete effectively in the busy hospitality sector.

However, not all hotel brands carry the same level of recognition, value, or distinctiveness. Some brands have become household names, renowned for their exceptional service, iconic design, and consistent quality across locations. These hotel brands often command higher prices and a loyal following. In contrast, lesser-known or emerging brands may struggle to make their mark, competing on price or niche offerings to attract guests

The value and distinctiveness of a hotel brand can significantly influence its market position and the perceptions of potential guests, making brand development and management a critical aspect of hotel operations.

Table of contents

How can luxury hotel chains inspire your hotel brand?

In the hospitality industry, taking inspiration from the best, even those who may be competitors, is a strategy for success. There’s an old adage that good authors borrow but great authors steal; the idea being that you shouldn’t be afraid to be inspired by the excellence around you, or even outright copying what you know works. By observing and integrating the high standards, innovative amenities, and unique experiences offered by luxury hotel chains, your hotel can elevate its offerings. 

However, wholesale imitation is hardly the foundation for a unique and powerful hotel brand. The key lies in not just mimicking these elements but reinterpreting them in a way that aligns with your brand’s unique identity and values. This approach allows you to blend the best practices from top-tier hotels with your distinctive flair, setting your property apart and creating an unparalleled guest experience.

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Top hotel brands: Biggest hotel chains in the world

Now you know what makes a hotel great, but what businesses epitomise greatness? Below, you’ll find the top largest and most successful hotel chains from which to take inspiration.

Marriott Hotel Brands

Marriott International boasts a vast network of over 3,700 properties worldwide, catering to a broad spectrum of travellers from luxury to budget-conscious. The company’s commitment to quality, innovation, and guest satisfaction has solidified its standing in the hospitality industry, making it a go-to choice for both leisure and business travel.

Who owns the Marriott?

Marriott International, Inc. is the parent company behind the Marriott Hotel Brands, a leading global lodging company with a portfolio that includes a wide range of hotel brands catering to different market segments.

When was Marriott founded?

Marriott was founded by J. Willard and Alice Marriott in 1927. The company started as a root beer stand in Washington, D.C., and has grown into one of the largest hotel chains in the world.

Which hotel brands are part of Marriott?

Marriott International’s portfolio extends across a variety of brands, each tailored to different types of travellers. Key brands include:

  • Marriott Hotels & Resorts: The flagship brand of Marriott International, known for its service and innovation in the upscale segment.
  • The Ritz-Carlton: Part of Marriott, this luxury brand is renowned for its refined elegance and personalised service.
  • Residence Inn by Marriott: A brand that offers extended stay accommodations with spacious suites and home-like amenities.
  • Sheraton Hotels & Resorts: Acquired by Marriott International, Sheraton is a global hospitality icon with a presence in major cities and resort destinations.
  • Westin Hotels & Resorts: Also part of the Marriott family, Westin is known for its wellness initiatives, including its signature Heavenly Bed and fitness programs.

Frequently asked questions about the Marriott hotel brand

  • Is Hyatt part of Marriott? No, Hyatt is an independent hotel brand and not part of Marriott International.
  • Is Wyndham part of Marriott? No, Wyndham is an independent hotel brand and not part of Marriott International.
  • Is Hilton part of Marriott? No, Hilton is an independent hotel brand and not part of Marriott International.
  • Is Hampton Inn part of Marriott? No, Hampton Inn is a brand under the Hilton portfolio.
  • Is Omni part of Marriott? No, Omni Hotels & Resorts is a standalone hotel, separate from Marriott.
  • Is Four Seasons part of Marriott? No, The Four Seasons is not part of Marriott International.
  • Is Intercontinental part of Marriott? No, InterContinental Hotels Group is not part of Marriott, and is known for the InterContinental brand itself and Holiday Inn.
  • Is Waldorf Astoria part of Marriott? No, Waldorf Astoria is part of Hilton Worldwide, not Marriott International

Hotel brands under the Marriott Bonvoy hotel chain

hotel brands: marriot bonvoy
Hotel brands under the Marriott Bonvoy hotel chain

Hilton Hotel Brands

Hilton Worldwide encompasses over 4,800 properties across the globe, offering a wide range of options from luxury to more accessible accommodations. The company is renowned for its innovative approach to hospitality, guest services, and loyalty programs like Hilton Honors. Through its extensive brand portfolio, Hilton continues to be a prominent choice for travellers worldwide, offering memorable experiences and exceptional service.

Who owns the Hilton Hotels brand?

Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc., commonly known as Hilton, is an American multinational hospitality company that owns and manages a broad portfolio of hotels and resorts.

When was the Hilton brand founded?

Hilton was founded by Conrad Hilton in 1919, with the purchase of his first hotel in Cisco, Texas. Since then, Hilton has grown into a leading global hospitality company.

Which hotel brands are part of Hilton Hotels?

Hilton’s portfolio includes a diverse range of brands catering to different segments of the market, such as:

  • Hilton Hotels & Resorts: The flagship brand, known for its commitment to hospitality and innovation.
  • Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts: A luxury brand offering unique experiences in iconic destinations.
  • Hampton by Hilton: Focused on providing quality, consistent accommodations and amenities.
  • Holiday Inn: Not part of Hilton, but a brand under the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG).
  • Sheraton Hotels & Resorts: This brand is part of the Marriott International portfolio, not Hilton.

Frequently asked questions about the Hilton hotel brand

  • Is Holiday Inn part of Hilton Hotels? No, Hyatt is not part of Hilton, but a brand under the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG).
  • Is Sheraton part of Hilton Hotels? No, this brand is part of the Marriott International portfolio, not Hilton.
  • Is Hyatt part of Hilton Hotels? No, Hyatt is an independent company, not affiliated with Hilton.
  • Is Staybridge Suites part of Hilton Hotels? No, Staybridge is part of the IHG family of brands, not associated with Hilton.
  • Are Hilton and Marriott the same? No, they are different and independent hotel brands.

Hotel brands under the Hilton hotel chain

Hotel brands under the Hilton hotel chain
Hotel brands under the Hilton hotel chain

IHG Hotel Brands

IHG boasts over 5,900 hotels worldwide, providing a wide range of options from luxurious InterContinental resorts to convenient Holiday Inn Express locations. The company is known for its commitment to quality, innovation, and guest satisfaction, making it a key player in the global hospitality market. 

Who owns the IHG Hotels brand?

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) is a global company headquartered in the United Kingdom, owning and operating a diverse portfolio of hotel brands around the world.

When was IHG Hotels founded?

IHG was officially formed in 2003, but its roots can be traced back to 1777 with the establishment of Bass Brewery, which later diversified into hospitality and acquired the InterContinental brand in 1988.

Which hotel brands are part of IHG?

IHG’s collection includes a variety of brands tailored to meet different guest needs and preferences, including:

  • InterContinental Hotels & Resorts: The luxury flagship brand known for its world-class services and prestigious locations.
  • Holiday Inn: One of the most recognized hotel brands globally, offering friendly, reliable accommodations for families and business travelers.
  • Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts: Catered towards business professionals and meetings, providing premium services in major urban centers.
  • Hotel Indigo: A chain of boutique hotels, offering unique designs that reflect the local culture and history.

Frequently asked questions about the IHG hotel brand

  • Is IHG the same as Hilton? No, IHG is an entirely separate entity from Hilton and operates its own unique portfolio of hotel brands.
  • What does IHG stand for? HG stands for InterContinental Hotels Group, reflecting its flagship brand and global presence in the hospitality industry.

Hyatt Hotel Brands

Hyatt is renowned for its innovative approach to hospitality, emphasising thoughtful and caring services. With over 1,000 properties in 68 countries, Hyatt continues to expand its presence, offering a diverse range of experiences from luxury resorts to convenient city hotels. The company’s dedication to guest satisfaction and loyalty is reflected in its World of Hyatt program, which rewards frequent travellers with exclusive benefits and experiences.

Who owns Hyatt Hotels?

Hyatt Hotels Corporation, an American multinational hospitality company, owns and manages the Hyatt portfolio of brands. The Pritzker family played a significant role in the company’s development, with Thomas Pritzker serving as executive chairman.

When was Hyatt Hotel founded?

Hyatt was founded in 1957 by Jay Pritzker when he purchased the Hyatt House motel near the Los Angeles International Airport. Since then, Hyatt has grown into a global hospitality brand known for its commitment to genuine service and guest care.

Which hotel brands are part of Hyatt Hotel?

Hyatt’s brand portfolio caters to various market segments, including:

  • Park Hyatt: Luxury brand offering sophisticated and elegant accommodations and personalised services.
  • Hyatt Regency: A major brand within the Hyatt portfolio, known for its exceptional service and amenities for business and leisure travellers.
  • Andaz: A collection of boutique-inspired luxury hotels, reflecting the unique culture and spirit of their surroundings.
  • Hyatt Place and Hyatt House: Brands designed for casual hospitality and extended stay needs, providing modern comforts and conveniences.

Frequently asked questions about the Hyatt hotel brand

  • Is Hyatt part of Hilton? No, Hyatt is independent and is not part of the Hilton Hotels group.
  • Is Hyatt part of Marriott? No, Hyatt is not part of Marriott and is, in fact, a competitor of Marriott.
  • Is Hyatt part of Bonvoy? Bonvoy is the loyalty program for Marriott International, and Hyatt has its own loyalty program, World of Hyatt, which is not affiliated with Bonvoy.

Hotel brands under the Hyatt hotel chain

Hotel brands under the Hyatt hotel chain
Hotel brands under the Hyatt hotel chain

Wyndham Hotel Brands

With over 9,000 hotels in more than 80 countries, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts boasts a vast and diverse portfolio designed to meet the needs of every type of traveller. From upscale accommodations to budget-friendly stays, Wyndham’s brands are united by a commitment to delivering exceptional service and value. The company’s focus on accessibility and customer satisfaction makes it a trusted name in hospitality, offering experiences that cater to a wide range of preferences and travel needs.

Who owns Wyndham Hotels?

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts is an American multinational hotel and resort chain headquartered in Parsippany, New Jersey. It is one of the largest hotel franchisors in the world and a leading hotel management company.

When was Wyndham Hotel founded?

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts was established in 1981 by Trammell Crow in Dallas, Texas. The company has since evolved into a global hospitality provider with a broad portfolio of hotel brands.

Which hotel brands are part of Wyndham Hotel?

Wyndham’s diverse portfolio caters to a wide range of travellers and budgets, including:

  • Wyndham Grand: An ensemble of distinguished hotels offering refined experiences in iconic destinations.
  • Ramada by Wyndham: A large multinational hotel brand known for its commitment to high-quality accommodations and a warm, welcoming atmosphere.
  • Days Inn by Wyndham: Offers affordable lodging options with a focus on value and convenience.
  • La Quinta by Wyndham: Known for providing bright, welcoming accommodations and friendly service at great value.
  • Super 8 by Wyndham: A budget hotel chain that offers basic amenities and comfortable lodging.

Frequently asked question about the Wyndham Hotels and Resorts brand

  • Is Wyndham part of Marriott? No, Wyndham operates independently and is not affiliated with Hilton or Marriott International.

Hotel brands under the Wyndham Hotels and Resorts chain

Brands under the Wyndham Hotels and Resorts chain
Hotel brands under the Wyndham Hotels and Resorts chain

Accor Hotel Brands

Accor’s global presence spans over 110 countries with more than 5,100 properties, making it a powerhouse in the hospitality industry. The company is committed to innovative hospitality, sustainability, and exceptional guest experiences, ensuring that every stay is memorable. From luxury resorts to budget-friendly hotels, Accor’s portfolio is designed to meet the needs of every traveller, making it a go-to choice for diverse travel experiences around the world.

Who owns Accor?

Accor is a French multinational hospitality company that owns, manages, and franchises hotels, resorts, and vacation properties. It is one of the world’s leading hotel operators and the largest in Europe.

When was Accor founded?

Accor was founded in 1967 by Paul Dubrule and Gérard Pélisson with the opening of their first Novotel hotel in Lille, France. The company has since grown to become a global leader in the hospitality industry.

Which hotel brands are part of Accor?

Accor’s extensive portfolio includes a wide range of brands catering to various segments from luxury to economy, such as:

  • Sofitel: Accor’s flagship brand of luxury hotels, known for its blend of French elegance and local culture.
  • Pullman: Targets the business traveller segment with upscale accommodations and meeting facilities.
  • Novotel: A midscale hotel brand that offers modern, easy living spaces for both business and leisure travellers.
  • Ibis: A well-known economy brand that provides comfortable and affordable accommodations with a consistent quality standard.
  • Raffles: Offers a thoughtful, luxurious experience with enchanting hotels that are the epitome of service and elegance.
  • Fairmont: Renowned for its grand and iconic hotels that offer guests unique experiences and timeless memories.

Hotel brands under the Accor hotel chain

Hotel brands under the Hyatt hotel chain
Hotel brands under the Accor hotel chain

Choice Hotel Brands

Choice Hotels International operates more than 7,000 hotels across 40 countries and territories. With a commitment to delivering value, quality, and exceptional service, Choice Hotels caters to a wide spectrum of travel needs, from economy to upscale. The company’s award-winning Choice Privileges loyalty program offers members benefits and rewards across its extensive network of properties, enhancing the guest experience and fostering loyalty among travellers.

Who owns Choice Hotel?

Choice Hotels International, Inc. is an American hospitality holding corporation which is the owner and franchisor of several hotel brands. It is one of the largest and most successful lodging companies in the world.

When was Choice Hotel founded?

Choice Hotels originated from a 1939 merger of seven motel owners to form Quality Courts United, which is considered the first hotel chain in the United States. The company was renamed Choice Hotels International in 1990.

Which hotel brands are part of Choice Hotel?

Choice Hotels boasts a diverse portfolio catering to a wide range of travellers, including:

  • Comfort Inn and Comfort Suites: Mid-range hotels known for their warm, inviting accommodations and value. Comfort Inn is part of the Choice Hotels family, directly owned and franchised by Choice Hotels International.
  • Quality Inn: Offers affordable accommodations with genuine service, appealing to both business and leisure travellers.
  • Sleep Inn: Designed to provide a pleasant stay with modern rooms and amenities at a great value.
  • Clarion: Targets travellers seeking full-service facilities, including meeting and banquet spaces, in a midscale hotel setting.
  • Econo Lodge: One of the best-known names in budget hotels, offering basic accommodations at an affordable price.
  • Cambria Hotels: Represents the upscale segment within Choice Hotels, offering contemporary, locally-inspired accommodations.

Hotel brands under the Choice Hotels chain

Hotel brands under the Hyatt hotel chain
Hotel brands under the Choice Hotels chain

Best Western Hotel Brands

Best Western Hotels & Resorts operates in over 100 countries and territories worldwide, with over 4,700 hotels under its brand umbrella. The company is known for its commitment to providing quality accommodations and excellent service at a great value. Best Western’s award-winning loyalty program, Best Western Rewards, offers members points that never expire and can be used for free nights, gift cards, and more. Through its diverse brand portfolio, Best Western continues to cater to a wide range of travel needs, from budget-friendly stays to upscale retreats, ensuring a consistent standard of hospitality and service across the globe.

Who owns Best Western?

Best Western Hotels & Resorts is a privately held hotel brand with a unique membership model, where each hotel is independently owned and operated by its respective owner. This structure allows for local flair and commitment while benefiting from the global presence and standards of the Best Western brand.

When was Best Western founded?

Best Western was founded in 1946 by M.K. Guertin as a referral system among the hotels in California. The brand has since expanded globally, becoming one of the largest hotel chains in the world.

Which hotel brands are part of Best Western?

Best Western’s portfolio has evolved to include a range of brands tailored to meet various market segments, including:

  • Best Western: The flagship brand, offering comfortable, quality accommodations for leisure and business travellers.
  • Best Western Plus: Provides an enhanced level of comfort and amenities for guests looking for a little extra during their stay.
  • Best Western Premier: Targets the upscale market with refined and stylish hotels and superior guest services.
  • Vib: A boutique urban hotel concept, focusing on convenience, technology, and social engagement.
  • GLŌ: A midscale boutique hotel brand, designed with a focus on modern, sleek design and a unique guest experience.
  • Executive Residency by Best Western: Offers extended stay accommodations with spacious rooms and kitchenettes, blending the convenience of hotel services with the comforts of home.

Hotel brands under the Best Western hotel chain

Hotel brands under the Hyatt hotel chain
Hotel brands under the Best Western hotel chain

Pet friendly hotel brands

The demand for pet-friendly accommodations is on the rise, with more and more hotel chains recognising the importance of welcoming four-legged family members. Understanding this trend, several leading hotels have stepped up their game, offering exceptional services and amenities tailored specifically for guests travelling with pets.

1. Kimpton Hotels

Kimpton Hotels welcomes not just dogs and cats but any pet regardless of size, weight, or breed, at no extra charge. Each hotel offers unique pet amenities such as pet beds, food, water bowls, and mats. Kimpton also hosts a nightly wine reception where pets are more than welcome to join the fun. Their approach is a testament to their belief that pets are integral members of the family, ensuring they receive the same level of hospitality as human guests.

2. Best Western

Best Western is another chain that rolls out the welcome mat for pets, with over 1,600 pet-friendly hotels across North America. They require a nominal fee for pet guests, which varies by hotel. Best Western hotels provide a comfortable stay for pets, with some locations offering dedicated pet areas, treats, and disposal supplies to ensure a convenient and enjoyable stay for both pets and their owners.

3. Loews Hotels

Loews Hotels offers a very accommodating pet policy through their Loews Loves Pets program. They provide amenities such as gourmet room service menus for cats and dogs, prepared by the hotel’s executive chef. Additionally, they offer pet beds, litter boxes, scratching posts, leashes, and collars. Pets are greeted with a welcome package that includes treats, bowls, and toys to make their stay as comfortable as possible.

Some other pet-friendly hotels include:

  • Radisson Hotels
  • Bonvoy
  • Hampton Inn
  • W Hotels
  • Crowne Plaza
  • Doubletree Hotels
  • Country Inn and Suites
  • Riu Hotels

What hotel chains allow pets for free?

While some hotels charge a pet insurance fee or similar, some hotels have differentiated themselves in the market by including a pet’s stay in the cost of their owner’s stay. Some examples are the aforementioned Kimpton Hotels, as well as Aloft Hotels (with dogs up to 40 pounds allowed to stay free) and Red Roof Inn (one pet per room staying for free).

What makes a hotel brand the best in the industry?

Every hotel is unique, but uniqueness is not enough to be counted among the best. It’s certainly a factor for a hotel brand to stand out, but no matter what your niche is, there are some consistent aspects that are key to mastering to be one of the best hotel brands in the industry.

1. Exceptional customer service

Exceptional customer service is the cornerstone of a leading hotel brand, turning ordinary stays into memorable experiences. The best hotels invest in training their staff to embody the brand’s ethos, ensuring that warmth, attentiveness, and personalisation are at the heart of every guest encounter. By making guests feel valued and understood, hotels can foster loyalty and positive word-of-mouth, setting themselves apart in a competitive industry.

2. Prime spot or locations

A prime location is a pivotal attribute of top hotel brands, enhancing accessibility and enriching the guest experience with convenience and charm. Being situated in the heart of a city, near major attractions, business districts, or breathtaking natural landscapes, means guests have the world at their doorstep. This strategic positioning not only caters to the practical needs of travellers, ensuring ease of movement and time efficiency, but also immerses them in the local culture, cuisine, and sights. 

The best hotels leverage their location to offer unique experiences, from stunning views to exclusive local partnerships, making each stay not just a visit, but a destination in itself.

3. Loyalty programmes

Loyalty programs are a defining feature of leading hotel brands, rewarding guests for their continued patronage with a range of benefits and exclusive experiences. These programs are designed to foster a sense of belonging and appreciation, offering perks such as room upgrades, late check-outs, and special member-only rates. 

Beyond the tangible rewards, the best loyalty schemes create a community, inviting guests to be part of a story that extends beyond their stay. They leverage personalisation, recognising individual preferences and celebrating milestones, to deepen the guest relationship. By investing in loyalty programs, hotels not only encourage repeat business but also turn satisfied guests into brand ambassadors, amplifying their reputation through positive, word-of-mouth endorsements.

4. Innovative technology

Innovative technology sets leading hotel brands apart, offering guests a seamless and modern experience from booking to check-out. These hotels integrate cutting-edge solutions, such as mobile check-in, digital room keys, and personalised in-room technology, to streamline operations and cater to the digital-savvy traveller. 

Beyond convenience, technology is used to enhance the guest experience with features like customisable room environments and AI-driven concierge services. The best hotels use technology not just for efficiency but to create memorable moments, whether through virtual reality tours of local attractions or apps that curate personalised city guides. By embracing innovation, these hotel brands not only meet the expectations of today’s guests but also anticipate the needs of tomorrow’s, securing an audience for the future.

5. Sustainable practices

Sustainable practices are increasingly becoming a hallmark of the best hotel brands, reflecting a commitment to environmental stewardship and social responsibility. These hotels adopt green initiatives such as energy-efficient lighting, water conservation systems, and waste reduction programs to minimise their ecological footprint. 

Beyond operational changes, they often incorporate local materials and cultures into their design and offerings, supporting local communities and preserving heritage. The leading brands communicate their sustainability efforts transparently, engaging guests in their mission by offering options like linen reuse programs and locally sourced dining. 

By integrating sustainability into the core of their operations, these hotels not only contribute to the well-being of the planet but also resonate with the growing number of travellers who prioritise eco-friendly and ethical choices in their accommodations.

6. Great reputation

A great reputation is a powerful asset for top hotel brands, built on a foundation of consistent quality, exceptional service, and memorable guest experiences. It’s the result of every positive review, recommendation, and return visit, woven into the fabric of the brand’s identity. Leading hotels invest in maintaining high standards across all touchpoints, from the attentiveness of staff to the cleanliness of rooms and the quality of dining. They actively manage their online presence, responding to feedback and engaging with guests long after their stay has ended. 

A stellar reputation not only attracts new guests but also fosters loyalty among existing ones, creating a virtuous cycle of positive experiences and endorsements. In the competitive hospitality industry, a great reputation sets a hotel apart, making it not just a choice but a destination in its own right.

7. High quality dining and entertainment

High-quality dining and entertainment are key elements that distinguish premier hotel brands, offering guests an immersive experience that extends beyond their room. These hotels feature gourmet restaurants helmed by renowned chefs, showcasing culinary excellence with innovative menus and locally sourced ingredients. Dining becomes an event, with settings that range from intimate and atmospheric to grand and theatrical. Entertainment options are equally diverse, ranging from live music and performances to exclusive events, ensuring guests have access to unique cultural experiences without ever leaving the hotel. 

By providing exceptional dining and entertainment, top hotel brands elevate the guest experience, turning a stay into a memorable journey of sensory discovery and indulgence.

By Dean Elphick

Dean is the Senior Content Marketing Specialist of SiteMinder, the leading technology provider delivering hoteliers unbeatable revenue results. Dean has made writing and creating content his passion for the entirety of his professional life, which includes more than six years at SiteMinder. Through content, Dean aims to provide education, inspiration, assistance and value for accommodation businesses looking to improve the way they run their operations achieve their goals.

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