Unique Stay

Lifestyle hotels are answering the business traveler’s call for something different
The rise of independent hotels and soft brands reflect an increasing desire among travelers for lifestyle stays – properties that offer distinctive design and an “unscripted” approach to service. For travel managers these new options can offer greater cost savings. And for travelers, staying at an independent hotel or soft brand may offer a more unique, and local, experience.

During the past several years we have witnessed an upsurge of “soft brands” under the umbrella of large hotel groups. Soft brands are an associated collection of hotels that retain their unique signature but are positioned in a way that distances them (somewhat) from the chain’s national branding.

From a hotel owner’s point of view, soft brands have a perceived benefit because they are not bound by the often-strict rules and regulations of a “hard brand.” Yet, these hoteliers can still take advantage of the chain’s public standing, recognition, customer loyalty programs, sales and marketing, and networks.

“Soft brands have more of a buffet-style approach and tend to be more compliant within a managed travel program. There is a large focus on guest safety, especially regarding devices and connectivity/technology issues,” says David Mollov, managing director, hotel solutions for TRIPBAM. Soft brands make it possible for travelers to stay in reputable off-brand hotels, while travel buyers find value by working within the parameters of the major chains.

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