MKG Hospitalitys annual ranking puts the spotlight on some interesting changes to the Top 10 hotel groups and the Top 20 brands. On 1 January 2011, four hotel groups broke the barrier of 600,000 rooms in operation throughout the world thanks to a developmental strategy focused on franchising.
Even if the winning brands Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express put Intercontinental Hotel Group in the top spot by a long shot, Hilton Worldwide has snuck up behind Wyndham Worldwide for second place by less than 250 rooms (or a single major hotel). Virginia-based Hilton has been working overtime to develop brands such as Hampton Inn and Garden Inn into successful franchises in order to snatch the number two spot from the New Jersey group who has seen development of its own brands such as Days Inn, Ramada, and even Super8 stagger. Marriott is securely placed in fourth place with its leading brands (notably Courtyard) contributing to its growth.
Despite a growth that is also supported by its brands, Accor Group (who happily broke the 500,000-room mark) remains some distance behind the first platoon and is now in fifth place ahead of Choice International who is still trying to “clean up” its franchise network.
With its range of luxury and lifestyle brands, Starwood Hotels & Resorts also go up a notch ahead of Best Western, downgraded to 8th place. Starwood Hotels is really counting on the development of Sheraton and Le Méridien, which got a head start, and W, which has rippled the waters of Europe and the Middle East. Carlson Hospitality is reaping the benefits of the growth of its subsidiary Rezidor in EMEA. The group is multiplying its openings of Radisson Blu and Park Inn. Hyatt Hotel Corporations is holding on, now more than ever, to its tenth place.
"The economic crisis has increased the value of branding. This is a major argument for hotel groups counting on franchising to widen their respective supply," explains Georges Panayotis, President & CEO of MKG Group. "One can expect, in the coming months and years, to see deeper changes at the top of the ranking through new partnerships, and/or acquisitions. American groups have initiated that strategic move, in the light of the marketing partnership between Wyndham Worldwide and Tryp Hoteles, and the one between Marriott International and AC Hotels. As for the Accor Group, it has not concealed that it expects to boost its organic development (30,000 new rooms each year) through acquisition of locally well established groups. It has the financial resources to do so".
Concerning global brands, the ranking remains unchallenged. With its unique marketing strategy, Best Western continues to strive, even if its hotel supply is crumbling. The same rings true for Holiday Inn, who is finishing its intensive worldwide re-launch programme. Four brands stand out because of their strong growth during 2010: Ibis and Mercure (Accor) followed by Crowne Plaza (IHG) and Hampton Inn (Hilton Worldwide). All of these brands are betting that continued franchising will strengthen their global ranking.
It is very difficult to obtain statistics from Chinese groups which temporarily prolong the inaccuracy of Jing Jiang’s results, the top ranking Chinese operator, which is expanding its partnerships.
As MKG Hospitality analysts explain, it is clear that the renovation process of hotel supply, through the implementation of new quality standards or the launch of new generation of hotel concepts, has penalized the largest networks of franchise hotels which are finalizing their programmes in mature markets, i.e. Northern America and Western Europe. After a short break during the economic crisis, development in emerging countries is again a priority, considering the “poor” hotel infrastructure in Brazil, Russia, India or China, where western hotel groups are battling to establish their positions.
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