Garner: IHG’s Cheap New Hotel Conversion Brand With Infused Water

Garner: IHG’s Cheap New Hotel Conversion Brand With Infused Water

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Lately we’ve seen the major hotel groups announce all kinds of new budget hotel brands, including Hyatt Studios, StudioRes by Marriott, and Project H3 by Hilton. Well, now it’s IHG’s turn to announce a new hotel brand.

What IHG’s new Garner brand means for guests

Garner is IHG’s newest hotel brand, and it’s going to be a midscale conversion brand. The first property is expected to open before the end of the year. IHG describes this as being “the leading choice for guests wanting great value stays at high-quality properties, and for owners seeking higher returns in the midscale segment.”

The brand’s promise is “easy going stays that get you on your way,” and Garner is designed for value-driven travelers of all ages who want a reliable and relaxed experience. Garner properties will offer an affordable price point, with a complimentary hot breakfast.

Garner is IHG’s newest hotel brand

So, what are the hallmark features that guests can expect? Let me just copy and paste what IHG claims, because these promises always crack me up:

  • Get comfortable for your stay: Guests can set the pace for their time at Garner hotels. Whether they want tips from a local or just want to get settled fast, the brand will deliver the elements for a great stay, including a friendly front desk team that’s available 24/7, lobbies that are designed to help guests unwind and IHG Digital Check-in for quick and efficient arrivals.
  • Good stuff to keep you going: From complimentary flavour-infused water on arrival and fresh coffee to satisfying snacks available all day in the Garner Shop, guests won’t ever be far from something tasty. An always free and delicious ‘Make It Yours’ hot breakfast includes a build-your-own protein-packed meal, with choices like sandwiches, egg bowls, yogurt parfait, fruit, and more.
  • Flexible conversions, consistent quality: Just like the people who work and stay at Garner hotels, no two hotels are exactly alike – they are made with character. But what is the same is a commitment to consistent, top-notch service that supports all of our guests’ journeys. You can find guest-influenced playlists, snacks and drinks; flexible lobby designs; pet-friendly touches such as welcome treats, loaner items and outdoor relief stations.

Look, I’ve never had a “traditional” job, so I don’t know what these board room discussions are actually like. But are you telling me that people sit in a room brainstorming, and this is what they come up with?

So they’re all sitting in a room, and someone says “hey, maybe as a hallmark feature we should say our hotel has a friendly front desk team.” And then what does everyone else say? “Oh, that’s amazing, good job, let’s go with that!” And what about with the infused water? How does that discussion go?

Here’s how Elie Maalouf, IHG’s CEO, describes this brand:

“Garner is another exciting step forward in the transformation of our brand portfolio, bringing to the midscale market a brand we know owners and guests want from IHG. Owners are attracted to the benefits of IHG’s global scale, strong enterprise, technology platforms and leading IHG One Rewards programme, supported by our proven success in developing, launching and growing brands. We have already received more than 100 definitive expressions of interest in Garner, which demonstrates the strong potential in the segment.”

Who needs DoubleTree cookies when you have infused water?!

What IHG’s new Garnder brand means for owners

The global hotel chains don’t typically own most of their hotels, but rather they have management or franchise agreements for them. The reason they create so many new brands is so they have something to pitch to investors.

They try to make each brand seem unique, in hopes of getting an owner to choose their brand over a competitor. That’s why there’s also such little innovation when it comes to new hotel brands. Instead I feel like we just see each of the major hotel brands introduce similar concepts over and over. Hotel groups are also getting more lax with their standards, since they want to appeal to as many potential hotel owners as possible.

I think IHG’s introduction of Garner perfectly sums that up. Garner is specifically a low cost conversion brand. IHG promises developers access to IHG’s global sales organization, low-cost distribution systems, and lower procurement costs.

IHG is offering a “flexible approach to conversions,” and IHG will “work with each owner and property site to evaluate the level of renovation required, while still providing Garner’s brand-defining hallmarks and experience.”

In other words, this brand is designed for owners looking to convert their brands without spend a lot of money. Perhaps a hotel no longer meets the brand standards for another hotel group, and is now looking for new branding. Well, that’s what Garner is for. You can expect that this will mean a really inconsistent experience.

Garner properties will offer complimentary breakfast

Bottom line

Garner is IHG’s newest hotel brand, and it’s a midscale “flexible conversion” brand. In other words, this brand is specifically designed for hotel owners who don’t want to invest a lot of money updating their properties.

From IHG’s perspective, I get the concept. The hotel group makes money by having as many hotels join IHG as possible, and the easiest pathway to that is to just let any hotel join, with minimal investment. Garner properties will have complimentary breakfast, though not much beyond that. When you’re advertising a friendly front desk and infused water at check-in, you know you’re really grasping at straws when it comes to guest experience.

What do you make of IHG’s new Garner brand?

Conversations (26)
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  1. W Ho Guest

    Love it! As a solo business and leisure traveler, small simple and clean rooms are all I need.
    Don’t need a gym or pool or fancy breakfast!

    Best concept ever!

  2. Gray Guest

    Given the market slot (i.e. not a boutique brand), I feel like this is the first time a company has tried to pitch inconsistency as a plus for customers. I agree that this feels like a brand that ChatGPT would generate.

    Not that the others are doing great, but this makes me feel particularly glad that I more-or-less shook off the dust from my shoes at IHG about six years ago. Still, this brand proliferation...

    Given the market slot (i.e. not a boutique brand), I feel like this is the first time a company has tried to pitch inconsistency as a plus for customers. I agree that this feels like a brand that ChatGPT would generate.

    Not that the others are doing great, but this makes me feel particularly glad that I more-or-less shook off the dust from my shoes at IHG about six years ago. Still, this brand proliferation has just gotten absurd...but clearly with Hyatt and Marriott floating around 30 brands, IHG felt compelled to catch up. *eyerolls*

  3. BRMM Guest

    A 24/7 front desk! What an amenity. How groundbreaking. I can't wait!

  4. Kair Member

    So this the brand for hotel opeators to "ptice match"?
    I don't undetstand how it can be cheaper to convert to a whole another brand, than to renovate with existing brand.

    1. RichM Diamond

      It can easily be cheaper. If the brand standard is pretty low, you don't need to do much other than change the signage, repaint the lobby, and maybe replace some cheap branded items in each room.

      Far cheaper than spending millions on an actual proper renovation.

    2. Kair Member

      But not doing any of that would be even cheaper.....

    3. RichM Diamond

      The point is that if you don't renovate at all, you probably will cease to meet the brand standard for your existing brand, and will eventually get kicked out ofb it.

    4. Kair Member

      Ok thanks. But my point is that, how can scope of work to convert a property to a new brand can be smaller than renovatiing under the current brand. Unless the new brand's theme is "outdated Courtyard" or "wornout Fairfield Inn"

    5. T. Magee Guest

      Often the requirements for keeping a Hampton or Fairfield, for example, are so high the return isn’t there. For example the exterior corridor Fairfield’s. There were a handful that converted, but most just downgraded and built a new property down the street.

      Garner and Spark seem to be requiring new decor packages and maybe furniture, but not exterior changes or layout reconfiguration.

  5. Joe Dan Draffen Guest

    The term “Garner” means to gather or collect through effort. He garnered the respect through his networking efforts.

  6. NedsKid Diamond

    ""But are you telling me that people sit in a room brainstorming, and this is what they come up with?""

    Or they pay a consulting group truckloads of money to dig up some presentation they did for another hotel and find/replace Hilton for IHG or whatever.

    Yes, welcome to corporate America. I got tired of being the operational person on a task force at an airline that came up with initiatives ("we need someone...

    ""But are you telling me that people sit in a room brainstorming, and this is what they come up with?""

    Or they pay a consulting group truckloads of money to dig up some presentation they did for another hotel and find/replace Hilton for IHG or whatever.

    Yes, welcome to corporate America. I got tired of being the operational person on a task force at an airline that came up with initiatives ("we need someone from operations to make sure this can work!"). Like let's start with our agents are friendly and check people in efficiently. You mean do their friggin job? Pay them a bonus for being spotted by management smiling! Wait, isn't that called a paycheck for... wait for it... doing your job? Let's use paddles with fun faces and sayings on them to motion "guests" forward! Yep, those will look great in a TikTok video when someone who has been in line for 4 hours after a cancelation takes it off the counter and tries to hit our agent with it. Let's put signs with the policy on the counter! Another object for our "dear guests" to turn into a projectile when angry.

  7. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

    This looks targeted at owners of older Courtyard and Fairfield properties in Marriott that are approaching the point at which major renovations are required.

    1. Mike Guest

      spot on. I am willing to bet that none of these will look/feel as pretty and fresh as the pics suggest.
      that being said - there is a lot of room in the market now for lower end hotels. I am planning my next trip and can't get over how ridiculous hotel pricing in the US has become. Not even going to go into what I am seeing in Singapore these days - glad work is picking the tab there...

  8. KingBob Guest

    Why would I want to stay in a hotel brand that is likely made up of rejects from other hotel chains? As a customer, minimal conversion costs to me = worn out carpet, worn out mattresses and seriously dated bathrooms. No thanks.

    1. Mg Guest

      I agree, but the average Joe will seek them for the $10 in nightly savings. Spirit (after add ons) anyone?

    2. Mike Guest

      Obviously you are not their target audience KingBob. They are not planning to sell this to you or any other royalty.
      I think there are *a lot* of people struggling to find anywhere to stay these days, with the cost of hotel rooms. People that go for a wedding or a short-term work contract or a medical procedure and just need somewhere to stay that won't break the bank. Many of them will be able to tolerate a worn out carpet if it saves them $50-100 a night.

  9. PointsBhai Guest

    Just for some perspective, Ben is spot on.
    My uncle runs a hotel that is currently under a lower-tier Marriott flag. It's aging and he is now looking for conversion options. The reason why brands like these are coming out is because of segmentation. Half of the hotel's rooms have kitchenettes, and half do not. Brands like Home2 won't allow conversion, even Tru or Spark by Hilton, as you can't have half and half.

    Just for some perspective, Ben is spot on.
    My uncle runs a hotel that is currently under a lower-tier Marriott flag. It's aging and he is now looking for conversion options. The reason why brands like these are coming out is because of segmentation. Half of the hotel's rooms have kitchenettes, and half do not. Brands like Home2 won't allow conversion, even Tru or Spark by Hilton, as you can't have half and half.
    This sort of flexibility is really helpful, and this seems like an interesting option to convert, all the while staying under a Top 4 brand flag.

    1. LEo Diamond

      Holiday inn Shin Osaka is the same as what you have described

  10. Evan Guest

    The number of brands these chains are coming out with is just plain idiotic. I really liked Marriott before the merger. They had Fairfield, Courtyard, Residence Inn, Marriott, JW Marriott and Vacation Club (maybe one or two more). Each one had a distinct market. Now, with the merger and the new brands, I can't really tell what market any hotel is in. Ugh!

    1. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      Marriott and others need more brands because some franchise or licensing agreements for legacy brands have exclusive geographic territory built into the contract that prohibits Marriott from opening a new property under the same brand within so many miles. In other cases, an owner wants a different brand instead of the third Courtyard or second Sheraton in any given market. The latter makes no sense to me because you don't see McDonald's or Burger King...

      Marriott and others need more brands because some franchise or licensing agreements for legacy brands have exclusive geographic territory built into the contract that prohibits Marriott from opening a new property under the same brand within so many miles. In other cases, an owner wants a different brand instead of the third Courtyard or second Sheraton in any given market. The latter makes no sense to me because you don't see McDonald's or Burger King having spin-off brands for owners who don't want the third McDonald's in Anytown, USA.

    2. LEo Diamond

      Also, it's risk protection as well, creating more brand allow spin-off more easily in case the parent corporation is struggling. Renaissance used to Ramada.

  11. Stvr Guest

    Will you do a trip report?

  12. derek Guest

    I do not like the proliferation of hotel brands but it makes sense to have a dumpster brand that allows lots of variability so that the remainder hotel's are consistent.

    As far as...
    "Look, I’ve never had a “traditional” job, so I don’t know what these board room discussions are actually like."...

    I have kept attract of a small town where a city government staff member on a political agenda (they are supposed...

    I do not like the proliferation of hotel brands but it makes sense to have a dumpster brand that allows lots of variability so that the remainder hotel's are consistent.

    As far as...
    "Look, I’ve never had a “traditional” job, so I don’t know what these board room discussions are actually like."...

    I have kept attract of a small town where a city government staff member on a political agenda (they are supposed to be neutral) pushes something to city council, which allows public comment for show but such comment period has no effect. As soon as public comment is mentioned, there is no discussion but they pass the ordinance. Not much different from Putin except it's in America.

    1. SK Guest

      So your 15-cent assignment has been to weave Putin into this, no matter how absurd? Well-done!

  13. TravelinWilly Diamond

    "But are you telling me that people sit in a room brainstorming, and this is what they come up with?"

    It's usually a combination of marketing and product development. They have an idea (e.g., this new brand), do market research (think surveys, focus groups - both owners and Hyatt guests, and the like) and then decide whether or not to move forward with the idea/brand.

    1. tom Guest

      I reckon an they asked ChatGPT to come up with blurb for a new brand. We have seen so much of this **** over the past few years the AI should have plenty of material to work from. After all, unlike some other uses of AI none of this needs to mean anything, it can be complete BS so long as it sounds nice

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

FNT Delta Diamond Guest

Marriott and others need more brands because some franchise or licensing agreements for legacy brands have exclusive geographic territory built into the contract that prohibits Marriott from opening a new property under the same brand within so many miles. In other cases, an owner wants a different brand instead of the third Courtyard or second Sheraton in any given market. The latter makes no sense to me because you don't see McDonald's or Burger King having spin-off brands for owners who don't want the third McDonald's in Anytown, USA.

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PointsBhai Guest

Just for some perspective, Ben is spot on. My uncle runs a hotel that is currently under a lower-tier Marriott flag. It's aging and he is now looking for conversion options. The reason why brands like these are coming out is because of segmentation. Half of the hotel's rooms have kitchenettes, and half do not. Brands like Home2 won't allow conversion, even Tru or Spark by Hilton, as you can't have half and half. This sort of flexibility is really helpful, and this seems like an interesting option to convert, all the while staying under a Top 4 brand flag.

4
BRMM Guest

A 24/7 front desk! What an amenity. How groundbreaking. I can't wait!

3
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