At the heart of every hotel brand is a set of standards and procedures carefully crafted by the brand’s parent company to help ensure consistency across hundreds and even thousands of individual hotels across any number of countries.
Photo: Holiday Inn Express Staten Island
For operators, standards define the brand’s personality, right down to the way the bed sheets are folded. For guests, standards provide the assurance of consistency. They know that when they check into a Holiday Inn Express in Staten Island, they’ll find the same services and features they enjoyed at a Holiday Inn Express hotel in Seattle.
Consistency is at the core of the “brand promise” and the value proposition. Yet individual hotels differ in age, location and type: suburban, highway, airport and city center, among others. So the major brands build in a degree of flexibility to account for these differences.
When a required room element doesn’t work or could actually be detrimental to the guest experience, the brand will consider a waiver. A hotel in New York with limited guest room space might, for example, waive a requirement for a desk and swivel chair in every room.
Photo: Comfort Inn Midtown West, New York, New York
Similarly, the brand will consider a waiver for other elements of its guest room furniture standard, should the size of the room present constraints. In the same spirit, brands require hotels to decorate the lobby and breakfast room seasonally but give each hotel considerable leeway as to what these decorations should be.
For the guest, the variations allow each hotel to be distinct to a degree, while still providing a reassuring consistency. Now that’s a balanced approach everyone can live with.