Regardless of the industry, it’s always important to know what the best in the business are up to. When it comes to hotels, the biggest brands are always innovating and have some exciting news to share.
Even smaller and independent brands can learn from these larger chains, whether it be a marketing strategy, loyalty program, guest experience initiative, or technology investment.
You won’t always have the budget or resources to replicate everything, and you may not want to, but it never hurts to know what the big players in the industry doing right now.
Here are this month’s recent discoveries from some of the biggest hotel brands in the world. Get your fill of hotel chain news.
Hotel Chain Watch #1
What’s new with AccorHotels?
AccorHotels, across the UK and Ireland, has introduced a facility whereby guests can communicate with staff using WhatsApp.
The new service provides guests with a dedicated phone number along with their room key upon arrival. Staff can then monitor and immediately respond to requests such as room service, housekeeping, or reservations. Guests can make use of this even if they’re outside the property.
AccorHotels northern Europe chief operating officer, Thomas Dubaere, said: “The use of WhatsApp has increased exponentially over the past few years and is a platform most of our guests tell us they feel very comfortable using, so enabling them to use it is a logical step to ensuring they have the best possible experience.”
Hotel Chain Watch #2
What’s new with Choice Hotels?
A popular promotion through Choice’s award-winning Choice Privileges loyalty program has been resurrected. ‘Stay Twice, Earn a Free Night’ has been reintroduced across more than 1,000 Choice properties worldwide.
Through to 9th November 2018, members who book two separate qualifying stays will earn enough loyalty points to claim the reward. Excitingly, there is no limit to how many times program members can earn the bonus.
“The ‘Stay Twice, Earn a Free Night’ promotion gives our 37 million Choice Privileges members an even faster path to earning free nights – the benefit they want most,” said Jamie Russo, vice president, loyalty programs and customer engagement, Choice Hotels.
To participate, members must book their travel directly via the Choice Hotels website, app, or phone.
Hotel Chain Watch #3
What’s new with Marriott International?
Speaking on loyalty again, Marriott International has combined its three loyalty programs.
Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guests are now one. This means they all operate under one set of benefits and one currency across 29 brands and more than 6,700 participating hotels.
Members can now achieve Elite status faster, with new reward tiers also introduced. They can also combine their separate program accounts into one through the Marriott International or Starwood Preferred Guest websites, with no need to transfer points between programs.
Members can earn on average 20% more points per dollar spent and have their Elite status recognised at every Marriott-branded hotel.
Hotel Chain Watch #4
What’s new with Hilton Worldwide?
Hilton has announced a strategic alliance with Playa Hotels & Resorts in what shapes as a landmark expansion of its resort portfolio.
Hilton will soon share the company’s plans to welcome two new all-inclusive resorts, to be owned and managed by Playa Hotels & Resorts, to its portfolio in the Caribbean and Latin America by the end of 2018, with further talks to open eight additional properties together by 2025.
President and chief executive officer, Hilton, Christopher J. Nassetta said: “At Hilton, we are dedicated to offering our guests the type of world-class hospitality that matters most to them, in the destinations they want to visit. Together we are responding to our shared guests, who are seeking attractive resort offerings. And as our all-inclusive portfolio grows, so too does our commitment to world class hospitality in the Caribbean and Latin America.”
Hotel Chain Watch #5
What’s new with InterContinental?
Queensland, Australia, is the site for a new long-awaited luxury destination thanks to InterContinental.
Hayman Island by InterContinental is scheduled to open in July 2019, with experienced luxury operator Mark Eletr appointed as resort manager.
A native Queenslander, Mark said: “It is a privilege to introduce a brand-new luxury concept for local and international visitors alike. Myself, like many, share a special affinity with Hayman Island; its spectacular beauty and seclusion are rare encounters in today’s world.
“InterContinental is the globe’s most trusted leader in luxury hospitality and I am deeply excited to work with my team and deliver our shared vision to open Australia’s most iconic island resort.”
The 166-room hotel will be the only property on the 400-hectare island and rests in the spectacular, unspoiled surrounds of the Whitsunday Islands. InterContinental will offer guests a seamless expression of the InterContinental Life, enriched with meaningful experiences and local knowledge.