I saw this article the other day on how Marriott is “changing” to appeal to the younger generation. They’re embarking on an overhaul of design in some of their properties to change their image with this particular audience.
Well, you can’t just change your image this way, especially if you’re Marriott. And, perhaps more importantly, why would you? You’re (Marriott) clearly the “best” at providing a very consistent, upscale lodging experience. Yes, in most of your properties, you lack “hip”…and a story. But, even the younger generation has a slice of customers looking for clean, comfortable and full service that’s reliable and consistent. That’s what you’ve worked so hard to become. You are what you are as a result of hundreds of thousands (probably millions) of guest experiences over time. We all have an “image” in our mind about Marriott. I bet it’s similar…that’s called brand harmony and is precisely what Marriott and others so fiercely covet. Once you have it, that memory is hard to erase. And, I wouldn’t waste my time trying to change it. Rather keep making it better.
Here’s a suggestion. If you want to be successful at managing boutique hotels (which are inherently different than a Marriott), leave the Marriott affiliation off (You’re on the right track with your consent that your restaurants really won’t work in a new brand). Boutiques typically have healthy doses of design, story and care. Marriott’s got care, but arguably lacks the design and story elements. And, I don’t think anyone’s going to buy into a “transformed” Marriott brand. The folks that stay in independent, boutique properties do so because it’s not Marriott. Get it?