Chains are buying up local, one-of-a-kind (often family-run) hotels across the United States. While other U.S. industries (like accounting, media, entertainment) consolidated over the decades, the hotel industry is also veering toward increased consolidation (likely recession-exacerbated). Chain hotels now represent 70% of rooms (vs. 56% in 1988) with predictions showing chains growing to 80% in 10 years, based on lodging research reported in a recent Wall Street Journal article.
The WSJ’s take on chain vs. independent hotels: “The conversion of existing independently-owned and operated hotels flies under the radar because the properties being converted aren’t well known. At the same time, though, large chains are creating smaller hotel brands designed to feel like non-cookie-cutter hotels.”
How does this trend eat away at small and medium business diversity and wipe out local traditions? Case in point: Hyatt fires ducks that march through Peabody Hotel Orlando, a cherished tradition that guests (and waddling, feathered friends) enjoyed for years.
Want the real deal vs. cookie cutter? Local traditions and indie spirit still exist in America, including at local, boutique and independent hotels that are part of Stash Hotel Rewards, a U.S.-based, indie-hotel loyalty program where guests earn points to redeem for free nights.