brands seem to be announced every day (go here for a listing of the latest entrants). But
how aware of these newcomers are meeting planners? Not very,
revealed a recent survey by M&C Research. More than 60 percent
of the 200 planners who responded were familiar with just one in 10
new brands listed. Only Conrad, a luxury Hilton chain, was a bit
more familiar to the sample.
Is the market becoming saturated? Not to 60
percent of those surveyed, who do not feel there are too many hotel
brands from which to choose. Almost half (48 percent) believe new
brands keep the hospitality market fresh; 37 percent said they
create healthy competition. On the other side, 34 percent of the
sample find it hard to differentiate between all the brands, and 16
percent feel new brands add confusion to the marketplace.
Most planners indicated they like to
try out new brands now and again but won’t rush to be the first.
Only 17 percent would be very likely to place a meeting at a new
hotel brand; 66 percent prefer brands to be established a year or
two before they test the waters.
Of course, the opportunity to try out a new
chain can depend on the wishes of meeting attendees. About half of
the sample said their participants are ambivalent about whether the
brand is new, while 28 percent believe participants are skeptical
about trying new brands and prefer familiar hotels. Another 21
percent said their attendees get excited about trying out new
Respondents indicated they are flexible
when choosing hotels, as only 24 percent said they place more than
75 percent of their meetings in the same brand.