Hospitality and Leisure — franchising and industry innovation

In previous years, this publication has given an insight into the asset light strategies of global hotel operators, an overview of some of the trends in hotel franchising and a brief appreciation of the issues affecting hotel franchising. This year, DLA Piper has retained some of the ‘quick to view’ educational references and the focus on technology inter-operability issues within hotel franchising as well as looking at the current economic environment. 

Looking back at 2013, the by-word seems to have been ‘momentum’. In general terms, the momentum gained in 2013 has created a positive outlook and a favourable transaction climate for 2014 across the globe. There will always be regional variances; however, we are now seeing transactions coming to the market that in the recent past may not have been conceivable. Looking forwards, the challenge for hoteliers is still the need to build, manage and differentiate their brands across all market segments and territories and in doing so to understand what customers are looking for to gain the all-important brand loyalty.

The power of brands (and thus the draw of franchising) remains a key influence on the hotel sector and, while there are numerous challenges facing global hotel operators, these operators remain best placed to face those challenges. As we are all becoming increasingly aware, the volume and richness of data and information now available to consumers (and to the operators themselves) is huge. Traditional media (such as print) is no longer important, digital platforms such as Expedia and Google Hotel Finder are where the action is at. Add to this consumers’ requirement for mobile bookings and the rise and rise of social media platforms disseminating information (‘likes’; ‘dislikes’ and twiterrati followers), it is easy to come to the conclusion that innovation will be the focus for the hotel industry in the coming years…

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