Hotel Owners Want To Cut Club Lounges, Other Amenities

Hotel Owners Want To Cut Club Lounges, Other Amenities

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Obviously the pandemic has been incredibly tough for the travel industry. However, it seems like the hotel industry in particular is hell-bent on making the guest experience worse in the long run, essentially trying to take cues from ultra low cost airlines.

We’ve seen Hilton’s CEO say that we should expect many service cuts to be permanent. We’ve also seen CEOs of major hotel investment companies make statements that guests won’t like. One hotel company CEO wants guests to tip more rather than raising wages, while another hotel company CEO wants to unbundle room rates, and “stop giving things away for free.”

Some more hotel executives had some interesting comments during a recent conference, which guests won’t like.

Hotel CEO wants to stop pre-pandemic “amenity creep”

Several senior executives in the hotel industry made some noteworthy comments during a recent panel at the 2022 Americas Lodging Investment Summit.

For example, Ashford Hospitality Trust CEO Rob Hays is happy that the pandemic has allowed hotels to combat “amenity creep,” whereby hotels offered amenities they didn’t really need to offer pre-pandemic. For example, we’ve seen many hotels temporarily close club lounges, and he wants to make that permanent to combat labor shortages and increasing costs:

“That’s something brands were pushing hard from the loyalty side, and I think this has given us the ability to kind of rethink some of those amenity creep issues.”

Extended Stay America CEO Greg Juceam said that it shouldn’t just be about what guests want, but rather about what they’re willing to pay for:

“We have to ask ourselves not just ‘What do the guests actually need?’ but equally ‘What are they willing to pay for?'”

IBF Hospitality CEO Ray Bhai said that the scaled-back operating model we’ve seen during the pandemic has been particularly important at full-service properties, which require more labor. These hotels have also suffered from a greater loss in demand than limited service properties, which are more leisure oriented. He believes many of the cuts will be permanent to protect profitability, despite pushback against owners from the hotel groups:

“We’re seeing from the brands that they are pushing to try to take things back to normal. It’s a work in progress, and will depend market by market where the demand is and what the situation is.”

Could club lounges be a victim of the pandemic?

Hotels are trying to turn into airlines

It’s not really a secret what’s going on here, as CEOs of hotel investment firms have made it pretty clear that they’re looking to ultra low cost airlines for inspiration on how to run their businesses. A few thoughts:

  • Historically the major hotel groups (Hilton, Marriott, etc.) have had some power to dictate terms, while the pandemic has changed the power dynamic, and now the individual companies that own hotels seem to be in charge
  • The reason hotels can’t get staffing is that they aren’t willing to increase wages sufficiently; they’ve also made this clear, as we’ve seen the CEOs of hotel investment firms say that they don’t think raising wages is the solution, but rather guests should tip more (how convenient!)
  • Coronavirus gives hotels the perfect excuse for not offering services; even if a hotel is 100% full and in Florida (where there are virtually no restrictions), you’ll still see hotels blame coronavirus for not offering services that don’t turn a direct profit
  • Many hotel club lounges aren’t directly profitable, but rather are intended to keep elite members happy, so of course these executives view that as an easy thing to cut to increase margins; they’re not looking at the big picture of why guests choose their hotels

It’s going to be interesting to see how this all progresses. With hotels you really have three parties — the guest, the owner, and the brand that the management or franchise agreement is with. With leisure demand in many markets at an all-time high, and hotel brands not really enforcing brand standards consistently, it’s really the hotel owners who are making the rules right now.

Fortunately I do think there’s some balance here, at least in the long run:

  • Once things normalize and/or we see a recession, hotels won’t have the power that they currently have
  • I don’t think all hotel groups will cut equally, and over time we may even see hotel groups add back amenities as a competitive advantage, and then other groups may be forced to match
Move over Frontier, maybe Hilton or Marriott should have acquired Spirit?

Bottom line

Unfortunately the pandemic has led to a race to the bottom in the hotel industry. While service cuts were initially marketed as temporary, hotel owners seem to have decided that many of these cuts should now be permanent, and are easy ways to increase margins.

We’ve seen hotel CEOs suggest all kinds of service cuts, and it seems that the latest cut being recommended is for club lounges. Many lounges have been closed temporarily due to the pandemic, and it looks like we should expect them to just not reopen. I’m curious if the major hotel groups stand up for guests, or simply give in to owners.

What do you make of hotels closing club lounges and cutting other amenities?

(Tip of the hat to View from the Wing)

Conversations (74)
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  1. vkerzman New Member

    Working in the industry for thirty-two plus years this was a big topic every year a budget time. This biggest reason was why are we giving all this food and beverage away. They did not realize if we stopped our Executive Lounge, our GSI score would suffer, we would lose market share. So, they decided to cut down on the variety of food, beer, and liquor. Well, that started to reflect on our scores, market...

    Working in the industry for thirty-two plus years this was a big topic every year a budget time. This biggest reason was why are we giving all this food and beverage away. They did not realize if we stopped our Executive Lounge, our GSI score would suffer, we would lose market share. So, they decided to cut down on the variety of food, beer, and liquor. Well, that started to reflect on our scores, market share and revenue. So, we had our owners come in and talk with the guests, they received an ear full. Did not matter to them, they continued to do what they wanted. Well, a new chain hotel opened in the area, same flag. They had a new Executive Lounge, quite nicer, food was better, the beverages were complimentary. While our revenue was starting to reflect the stubbornness of our owners. We told them that they took away the one benefit that really matters to them.

    Being a loyalty member of the hotels was a reward, however now it just a slap on the back. The hotels have taken away room upgrades, change the cancellation policies, complimentary full breakfast. Now most give you a brown paper bag and get you on the way. The level of amenities that are in the rooms are the same throughout the other guestrooms. The executive floor was strictly for the loyalty members, now the executive floor is for anyone. You would have to check-in with the concierge at the door, limited one guest. You felt special and rewarded because you keep on coming back to the hotel. The front desk agents knew who you were, they would have you upgraded by the time that you arrived. Now you are lucky if anyone remembers who you are. All you are to them is a reservation number and a room number, they do not care if you are a loyalty member.

    Times have changed for the hotel guests, sad because they are traveling, and it gets very mundane after a while. Going to your favorite hotel, was like going to a relative’s house, you felt like you were at home, not anymore.

    The owners of the hotels should be worried because the competition is here, the small boutique hotels. The ones that make you feel like you are family when you arrive, they remember your name.

    I opened a little B&B in Salt Lake City, where we remember our guests, we have built relationships with our guests.

    What I leaned in the hospitality business is "hospitality". Treat your guest with respect and they will show you the same.

    That is what the traveler wants during the turbulent times.
    RESPECT!

    Vincent Kerzman

  2. Bruno Fonseca Guest

    Hotel operators forget that the airline industry doesn't really have a competitor, so folks will fly for the bottom rock price and deal with it.

    Hotels have an ever expanding Airbnb/VRBO market and other types of operators that will eat their lunch and dinner in many MARKETS. Middle class FOLKS will find that they have leisure trips and all of a sudden the middle of the way hotels don't offer anything to them but a...

    Hotel operators forget that the airline industry doesn't really have a competitor, so folks will fly for the bottom rock price and deal with it.

    Hotels have an ever expanding Airbnb/VRBO market and other types of operators that will eat their lunch and dinner in many MARKETS. Middle class FOLKS will find that they have leisure trips and all of a sudden the middle of the way hotels don't offer anything to them but a bed. Let's see how this plays out, but it looks like a world where the super 8 / ritz carlton-four seasons model flourishes, and the middle hotels die replaced by the airbnb model.

  3. LovetoFly Member

    I'm sure the hotels don't realize this yet, but a very slippery slope. There has been many nights where we start with appetizers in the lounge and moved to the hotel restaurant for dinner. If they get rid of the lounge we'll probably just meet someone outside the hotel for our meal.

  4. kenindfw Guest

    The brand's websites should disclose if club lounge access is onsite and available. Hotels list when a pool, fitness center, valet and/or self parking, etc are offered. Seems to me if they update their sites with club lounge access information then customers can decide whether they want to stay or select a different property.

    While CEOs don't want to spend the money they may find their revenues drop.

    Several years ago friends of mine...

    The brand's websites should disclose if club lounge access is onsite and available. Hotels list when a pool, fitness center, valet and/or self parking, etc are offered. Seems to me if they update their sites with club lounge access information then customers can decide whether they want to stay or select a different property.

    While CEOs don't want to spend the money they may find their revenues drop.

    Several years ago friends of mine who would travel for work stopped staying at the higher hotels within the Hyatt, Hilton and Marriott brands and switched to Hyatt Place and Courtyard. While they don't offer a club lounge, they offer free breakfast, free internet, free parking and nearly all have a pool and fitness room.

  5. BN Guest

    Was at a Marriott in Boston in early January that had NO restaurants open and had apparently been that way for weeks. The lounge was closed during the week of our visit but had been open in previous weeks.

    I figure that the number of stars a hotel can claim goes way down if there is no restaurant. Plenty of 2 star hotels out there that at least serve breakfast. Having to go to a an outside restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner is just silly for a Marriott.

  6. iamhere Guest

    We need to keep in mind that many people will choose a hotel based on the brand or based on if there is a lounge or certain amenities or not. However, we also have to keep in mind that not all lounges are equal. It depends on location, brand, and specific hotel. In Asia, many Courtyard Marriott hotels have lounges! I have stayed at Ritz Carlton hotels in Europe with very basic lounge services. In...

    We need to keep in mind that many people will choose a hotel based on the brand or based on if there is a lounge or certain amenities or not. However, we also have to keep in mind that not all lounges are equal. It depends on location, brand, and specific hotel. In Asia, many Courtyard Marriott hotels have lounges! I have stayed at Ritz Carlton hotels in Europe with very basic lounge services. In the US at some hotels I have even had to pay for drinks in the lounge! Just because you will still be able to sell rooms does not mean that the guest will be satisfied. Many owners or hotel management treat the guest as if they are stupid or do not know. If you frequent a brand particularly a luxury brand you know what it should look like and have a certain level of expectations. Even some Fairfield or lower end properties have gone beyond my expectation relative to the brand or what they offer.

  7. Uwe Guest

    Its very simple:

    As my favourite IHG Hotel in BKK told me tonight by mail, that their Executive Lounge will be closed "until further notice", I decided to give my money for a 4weeks stay to two of my outher favourite hotel brands (CONRAD and MARRIOTT).

    I'm tired of closed Executive Lounges and cutting services because of the excuse of Covid-19.

    1. kenindfw Guest

      I agree with you. At least you were notified or noticed it on the hotel's website so you can make the best decision for you.

  8. Azamaraal Diamond

    It's never been the Executive Floor in the US - for decades that just not a perk worth a penny.

    But Asia/Europe etc - that's where is really is worth being a "Diamond whatever". Owners in the US can afford to close the lounges because they offered nothing more than a skimpy 'European' breakfast. The rest you paid exorbitantly for.

    Hope this does not happen outside the US.

  9. Crosscourt Guest

    I agree with John Shepard and Kim. And I have no doubt they will do diddly squat about their nightly rates to reflect a reduction of services/benefits. And Ben, if you think these owners will recant in the future, I can sell you a bridge across the harbour here in Sydney.

  10. Jo Guest

    We enjoyed life and ate like kings due to our hotel lounge access on foreign trips with our family. I kinda figure it's over now.

  11. George Guest

    I don't really care if hotels have lounges, especially because of covid, if I can get similar amenities (Free food and drinks, etc) in my room or some other way. Just a grab-and-go for those with access would be fine.

  12. Samo Guest

    I've said it before: These hotel operators are free to deflag their hotels and go independent. They can even join forces and create their own chain. Good luck with your business model.

    But they don't do that because they understand that being part of a chain feeds them additional customers. However, they somehow fail to understand why those customers want to stay at chain hotels.

    1. Paul Guest

      Yes!
      I don't understand why the parent companies (Hilton, Mariotte, IHG) don't enforce more standards. (I intentionaly left Hyatt off that list, because I've been giving them a go this year, and so far have been quite impressed)

      I am a Kimpton Inner Circle member and stayed at 35 different Kimptons last year... The variance in my benefits delivery was absurd! And several of the properties were not at all on par with...

      Yes!
      I don't understand why the parent companies (Hilton, Mariotte, IHG) don't enforce more standards. (I intentionaly left Hyatt off that list, because I've been giving them a go this year, and so far have been quite impressed)

      I am a Kimpton Inner Circle member and stayed at 35 different Kimptons last year... The variance in my benefits delivery was absurd! And several of the properties were not at all on par with the Kimpton brand. How does it help the brand when I can stay at one property and be absolutely wowed, and walk away from another thinking "if this were my first encounter with this brand, I'd never stay at another one."

      Brands have rules, and if a property doesn't want to follow them, why not push it out of the brand?

  13. Tim Guest

    By cutting back amenities for elites then there is no reason to be loyal to any chain. I know moving I will book for convenience not brand

  14. BenjaminGuttery Member

    I have been to multiple hotel brands that run the full spectrum of "service" the last year. Nearly all of them were using the RONA as an excuse to have everything closed and not offer simple things like fresh towels and bottles of water each day. They can turn the hotel lounges into whatever else they want, but need to bring back Breakfast, Daily Turn Down Service, and Bell Hops again. We're all paying much more for these rooms and getting WAYYYYY less in return.

  15. stogieguy7 Diamond

    The last hotel lounge I visited was at an airport Marriott near SFO. It was nice and the free drinks were appreciated. Aside from that, I rarely stay in a hotel that offers such a lounge. That said, this is simply another in an unending line of moves by industry/government/politicians/etc to use the all-encompassing excuse of COVID to do something they've always wanted to do but never thought they could get away with.

  16. Brodie Member

    I have yet to see a domestic lounge that was memorable, whereas particularly Asian lounges come to mind that are awesome. I'll take the free breakfast at the hotel restaurant any day over a shitty lounge with zero vibe.

    1. Wiilieron Guest

      You think they’ll give you a free breakfast if they are cutting? Good luck

  17. Nomad Member

    In Asia, particularly East/South-East Asia, most club lounges are excellent. Cut those, and there's no particular incentive to qualify for status and/or stay at the hotels which formerly offered it...

  18. U . S Guest

    Just completed a 5 night stay at a Four Points by Marriott in Orlando for a convention. Average rate was $170 with hotel mostly sold out.
    No breakfast
    No daily room cleaning
    Rooms outdated.

    The least they could do is keep coffee for longer than 3 hours in the morning. I understand the labor shortage and need to cost cut. But if they are charging rates as if its 2019 then at least provide service similar to it.

  19. Skdxb Member

    They can very well apply this to hotels in USA where the lounges really do not mean much in an already worn-out outdated hotel. However, in Asia it is a totally different experience and will have a negative impact.

  20. German Expat Member

    One of the main reasons for my hotel loyalty are the benefits we are getting especially when travelling private.
    A lounge is nice if you are on vacation and come back from a long day or just want a coffee. Breakfast for me is only important in the sense that I see it as a discount to the hotel rate (which can be substantial if you travel with family).
    Traveling for business I...

    One of the main reasons for my hotel loyalty are the benefits we are getting especially when travelling private.
    A lounge is nice if you are on vacation and come back from a long day or just want a coffee. Breakfast for me is only important in the sense that I see it as a discount to the hotel rate (which can be substantial if you travel with family).
    Traveling for business I tend to care less because most of the time I am fully booked anyway and with large dinners I prefer to have coffee and a small breakfast only anyway. Also no time for a lounge in the afternoon or evening.
    Lounges in the US are barely worth it though while lounges in Asia tend to be excellent and in Europe pretty good.
    In summary if no lounges available and its just a la carte then price will play a bigger role and loyalty will matter less. With points devaluations they are worth less as well so play less of a role.

  21. rich Guest

    A while ago (maybe 7-10 yrs) I wrote a post on a financial forum suggesting how the standard of living in the US was declining and would continue to do so for the future. Along with some other less positive things and a few weren't too happy with me. Sadly I think I've been correct.

    Right now it is a free for all whether dealing with companies, or driving on the highway, and people/companies...

    A while ago (maybe 7-10 yrs) I wrote a post on a financial forum suggesting how the standard of living in the US was declining and would continue to do so for the future. Along with some other less positive things and a few weren't too happy with me. Sadly I think I've been correct.

    Right now it is a free for all whether dealing with companies, or driving on the highway, and people/companies almost are daring law enforcement/courts to find them guilty and punish them.

    I really wouldn't mind a trip to Europe sometime in the near future but any extensive travel with all of the crap going on is crazy. If I'm paying for a room, I expect it to be cleaned daily and staffed properly.

    1. Bill n DC Gold

      Not sure how this directly relates to less hotel lounges (which we love and mine for bot breakfast and supper ;-) ) but I agree in thinking we’ve hit peak Life and decline is problematic with climate change and the Oligarchs still running the economy and using the xian taliban as its Astroturf voters and violent “political expression”

  22. John Shepherd Guest

    Too much blame on Covid; too little blame on corporate greed

    1. Bill n DC Gold

      Also. Oligarchs using ‘inflation’ to continue to raise prices for higher salary and corporate greed. Not for raising workers pay

  23. Steven Guest

    I'm too busy to use the lounge. I have IHG and Accor access privileges and can count on one hand the number of times I've actually been inside. Unlike airports where you actually have nowhere else to go for an hour or so, with hotels I could always spend that extra time working/sightseeing/whatever it is that brought me there. Not too sad to see that privilege go, but please please reinstate free laundry? I find...

    I'm too busy to use the lounge. I have IHG and Accor access privileges and can count on one hand the number of times I've actually been inside. Unlike airports where you actually have nowhere else to go for an hour or so, with hotels I could always spend that extra time working/sightseeing/whatever it is that brought me there. Not too sad to see that privilege go, but please please reinstate free laundry? I find laundry services really useful but expenses department doesn't agree.

  24. Turbononious Guest

    Elite benefits (IHG Spire Ambassador 6 years, Marriott Platinum 4 years) are the only reason I stay at a given hotel instead of going to a mom'n'pop local place or do AirBnB.

    Depending on where you are, breakfast and lounge can be HUGE benefits. Here in Australia, breakfast with a couple coffees can easily approach $30 pp, and with beers averaging $8-10, lounges in the PM also present massive value.

    Take those benefits away and...

    Elite benefits (IHG Spire Ambassador 6 years, Marriott Platinum 4 years) are the only reason I stay at a given hotel instead of going to a mom'n'pop local place or do AirBnB.

    Depending on where you are, breakfast and lounge can be HUGE benefits. Here in Australia, breakfast with a couple coffees can easily approach $30 pp, and with beers averaging $8-10, lounges in the PM also present massive value.

    Take those benefits away and what do you have with hotel chains? A smaller place at 2-3x the cost vs an AirBnB. Playing the loyalty game can be fun and rewarding but at the end of the day it needs to come down to what the customer values, and whether they're getting that value.

    Having someone make the bed daily isn't worth the 2x price premium of chasing hotel loyalty status.

    1. Chris_ Member

      Yup, I agree. I used to always seek out Hilton properties for the perks they promised. These days, I'll look wherever - for example on an upcoming trip I'm staying at the most convenient hotel, which is the Crowne Plaza, where in the past I would have travelled a little out of my way to take a Hilton property.

    2. Regis Guest

      Same here. Since Hilton eliminated the breakfast benefit, now the main criteria is convenience. They have lost about 75% of my hotel business.

  25. baybay Guest

    convert your hotel into isolation facility..this is what the pandemic need..

  26. Gerrim. Guest

    I’m staying at a Marriott resort for a week and I use to get a mid week room cleaning but that has been canceled due to ‘Covid’ yet within an hour after I leave someone will be in this room to clean it. Not a very good excuse to cut services.

    1. kenindfw Guest

      Agreed. Recent stay at a Hyatt and they wouldn't clean the room during our 5 day stay, but would gladly drop off sheets and towels. Paying 2x-2.5x and I get to make my own bed. In the future I'll ask for new towels everyday.

  27. CT Guest

    I'm sleeping in my car while the rich get richer ingratiating themselves at the expanse of others. Ergo - doing absolutely NOTHING to earn it. There are more have nots than haves.

  28. Kent Guest

    As far as US-based hotels: as a Marriott Titanium and Hilton Diamond, I RARELY (NYC as an exception) visit full service hotels. They are expensive, generally poorly maintained, and offer no advantage over the "limited service" brands. Furthermore, hotels in the US are almost NEVER as clean as their foreign counterparts. The parsimony with which upgrades and amenities are handled is beyond frustrating.
    That said: in Europe, and indeed, also in Latin America ......

    As far as US-based hotels: as a Marriott Titanium and Hilton Diamond, I RARELY (NYC as an exception) visit full service hotels. They are expensive, generally poorly maintained, and offer no advantage over the "limited service" brands. Furthermore, hotels in the US are almost NEVER as clean as their foreign counterparts. The parsimony with which upgrades and amenities are handled is beyond frustrating.
    That said: in Europe, and indeed, also in Latin America ... loyalty members are still treated in a superior manner, and the hotels tend to be SPOTLESS. I stayed at the Fairfield Inn in Mexicali last week, it was impeccably clean and well run.

    1. Robert Guest

      As Hilton diamond member I am growing beyond frustrated with cut services and poor attitudes at downtown full service hotels. I find if less stressful to stay at a a mid level airport hotel and Uber to good eateries and longer distances to my meetings. Bring back the services or loose me (soon) to cheaper hotels where I expect little service.

  29. Sean Guest

    If the location is similar, why would someone pay more to stay at a full service hotel, probably built in the 1970s, versus a mid-brand that are often new? If the restaurant is even open, the elite benefit won’t even cover breakfast. Meanwhile you can eat breakfast for free or save your money and eat at a proper restaurant off property. Short sited corporate American greed.

  30. skimegheath Gold

    I was told that a Hyatt Club lounge was going to become a club lounge for globalists only.I was rather surprised given every time I have been there (which is a lot) most of the people are not business folk and are paying for the lounge.

    1. MoJoe Gold

      As a new (2021) Globalist, Hyatt club lounges don't matter to me, just the free breakfast. If Hyatt Regency and other properties feel it's better to repurpose the space that their club lounges currently occupy, that's fine as long they still comp breakfast in their on-site restaurants. (I'd actually prefer it, as breakfasts in hotel restaurants are better than what's offered in club lounges).

  31. Renato Guest

    If I sit for 2-3 weeks in some Marriott or Hilton dump, I need the lounge. Without it…. next hotel chain. Someone will offer it. Marriott and Hilton sucks anyway especially in the US.

  32. Reno Joe Guest

    For all of the anger on the member side, nothing will change until the revenue needle moves. But, the revenue needle won't move because members do nothing . . . or choose to be abused by a different program. To owners, it all averages out and the abuse will continue. There's a different world Neo.

    1. Karl Guest

      I agree. The only thing that will change owners’ behavior is if people simply choose not to stay at their hotel. If we continue to pay to stay there, it will continue to get worse as there is no incentive to lower profits just to make people happy.

  33. Michael Lissack Guest

    Most business travellers have someone if not themselves doing a benefit versus cost analysis. Cut the benefits and lose the customers. All it takes is one unhappy executive and goodbye any more stays from that company. My last "high end" hotel in Miami was MUCH worse than last nights "cheap" hotel by the airport. Hotel owners do not understand their customers and usually they make no effort to even try. Hotel "parent brands" have also...

    Most business travellers have someone if not themselves doing a benefit versus cost analysis. Cut the benefits and lose the customers. All it takes is one unhappy executive and goodbye any more stays from that company. My last "high end" hotel in Miami was MUCH worse than last nights "cheap" hotel by the airport. Hotel owners do not understand their customers and usually they make no effort to even try. Hotel "parent brands" have also lost their eye on what actually matters ... 5 or 6 "brands" is more than enough the rest is nonsense that costs owners money and offer the customers nada. Give me value please.

  34. Baron Guest

    I know I've started to book the higher end properties of each brand only, depending on where I am traveling (Waldorfs, Park Hyatts and Ritzs). I receive much more consistent (premium) service. If lower end properties want to nickel and dime everyone for everything, then that is the clientele they will attract.

  35. kimshep Guest

    Over the years, hotel chains have "screwed the pooch" so much that there is virtually nowhere for them to go on rates. Who remembers hotels charging up to $20 a night for internet access, or adding a zillion 'resort' charges just because they had a pool (which was bought 20 years prior) ? Designer restaurants with designer chefs, package collection & storage charges are just a few others.

    Yes, I get that 'executive lounges' have...

    Over the years, hotel chains have "screwed the pooch" so much that there is virtually nowhere for them to go on rates. Who remembers hotels charging up to $20 a night for internet access, or adding a zillion 'resort' charges just because they had a pool (which was bought 20 years prior) ? Designer restaurants with designer chefs, package collection & storage charges are just a few others.

    Yes, I get that 'executive lounges' have several costs associated with them (including the real estate area they take up which could sometimes provide two or three additional revenue-generating rooms) but so what? That lounge often provides a refuge for premium travellers, who may well not even stay at that particular hotel if it wasn't offering a lounge.

    A lot of this angst has been generated by hotel chains themselves and their perceived 'need' to expand. Does Marriott truly need 35+ brands, do Hilton and Hyatt need all their numerous divisions? Frankly, if you need 35+ brands to represent what is really 5 levels of economic need, then there is something radically wrong with your marketing IMHO.

    How much money is needed to support all these multiple in-house brands? Renovating for 'corporate' / brand exterior appearance, renovating multiple brand interiors is one thing - but imagine the costs when your single hotel building supports two brands, as we have recently seen.

    There is an unpleasant answer coming for the hotel chains ~ its called 'rationalization' and its coming to a hotel near you. If the chain is smart, it will minimize the impact on its loyalty card members .. and they will continue to stay and spend.

    For those chains that intend to cut and crimp, the news is NOT good. Geography / location is not the only thing that sells a hotel. Competition between chains is also a major factor. This is not some new paradigm - hotels learnt to re-adept during the 1930's depression and it has happened multiple times since.

  36. Happy Flyer Member

    These CEOs just don't get it. COVID has made travel (business) less with the advent of zoom etc... Keeping the amenities going will entice the business travelers to brad loyalty.

    I like the pingback on View from the Wing. Nice of you to also tip the hat.

    1. AVGeekHNL New Member

      Totally agree that loss of amenities will result in loss of brand loyalty. As a business traveler I am loyal so that I can get the free bottle or water, an upgrade, and other amenities. Its not the value of the amenities its the recognition that you are loyal and valued.

      What are these CEOs thinking?

  37. Daniel Guest

    Hi Ben,

    Great article and really concerning. This is supposed to be the hospitality industry but this is coming off as the guest/customer is an inconvenience and someone to be taken advantage of. I’m really going to actively avoid hotels that are try to short change their customers. Also, as a small correction Greg Juceam isn’t the CEO of Extended Stay he is the COO.

  38. Cosmo Guest

    I really don't see the point of the club lounge tbf. they just seem a bit mank

  39. Andy Diamond

    I guess outside the Us they might have reconsider the strategy, because there are many independent hotels. The reason why people are using chained (literally!) hotels is mainly the chain benefits. If they are reduced there is less of a reason to stay there. Consolidators (e.g. bookin.com, hotels.com) provide the reservations and if there no other frills you might well stay in an independent hotel.

  40. view New Member

    Let´s see in a couple of years, when costumers vote with their wallets and those charging higher rates with zero service will have a problem filling their rooms. The scam may work for a little while but once you´re found out the gig is up.

  41. Reno Joe Guest

    I’ve been beating the drum about hotel loyalty programs as a whole. Yes, some properties are fair dealers. But, as a whole, they aren’t and the game isn’t fair. Some have criticize me for beating the drum. But, what does anyone say when owners are yet again trying to eliminate an entire benefit?

  42. John Fulton Guest

    The owners of these hotels for the most part have lost money for the last 2plus years, and likely won’t turn a real profit for many years once you factor in the mandatory renovations the hotel brands require. Unfortunately this is a very stressed industry where there will be many losers. These owners can’t give the guests what they don’t have..

    1. farnorthtrader Guest

      Sorry, but that simply is not the case. While 2020 was, undoubtedly, a very bad year to be in the hospitality business, 2021 was a blockbuster year in the US for those same businesses. Our RevPAR was 45% higher in 2021 than any year since we started in 2009. Averaging the two years together, we were pretty much at the same as we would have been without the pandemic.

    2. Reno Joe Guest

      According to industry trade publications, as a whole, hotels returned to pre-COVID revenue rates in May 2021. They continue to play the "poor me" song to justify these benefit cuts. Wise up people.

    3. Adam Guest

      Oh c'mon man. I truly doubt you'll find any sympathy for owners/CEO's. They have (not in every case, by any means) neglected their employees, shown a complete lack of respect for their guests and have, too often, used a deadly pandemic as just another way to continue to deliver a subpar product for increasing costs. Often under the sick guise of "we're all in this together."

    4. Andrew Gold

      What mandatory renovations? Hyatt Centric Waikiki closed their restaurant because they wanted to stop serving breakfast to globalists, and blamed it on Covid while every other hotel and restaurant in the area had lines. It’s all an excuse to cut costs, and I agree with Ben that long term damage is being done for short term profits.

    5. Karl Guest

      Just like a decade ago when they stopped washing towels and bedding “to save the environment”. We’re all in this together - as long as that means the guest gets less so the owner keeps more.

    6. Jim Lovejoy Guest

      It's going to be even more stressed when people realize that paying Ritz-Carlton prices for Comfort Inn services doesn't make sense and abandons those high end hotels who don't believe in taking care of their customers.

  43. Jimmy’s Travel Report Gold

    It’s pretty remarkable how much better hotels outside the US do at service and amenities compared domestically. We also frequently go down brand for our US stays just because the value proposition isn’t there for the premium properties. It seems that Covid was a big money grab for some properties. Also get labor is a big issue in the US.

    1. Frank Guest

      I agree with the International hotel comment!

      As a Lifetime Diamond with Hilton I also agree with how the Elite brands in the US are losing my loyalty!

  44. Points Adventure Guest

    What is this lounge you speak of? It has not been part of my ~100 nights in the last 2 years.

    1. Bill Guest

      For me it is simple. I select the Marriott hotel in the area with the best breakfast. The closed lounge at the Marriott Waterfront SFO translated into a one week stay last year. I stayed at the nearby AC Hotel which was OK but as a Titanium member I was paying $15 for a lackluster breakfast even with the $10 Bonvoy breakfast coupon. Ultimately, I spent many weeks last year and all of January at...

      For me it is simple. I select the Marriott hotel in the area with the best breakfast. The closed lounge at the Marriott Waterfront SFO translated into a one week stay last year. I stayed at the nearby AC Hotel which was OK but as a Titanium member I was paying $15 for a lackluster breakfast even with the $10 Bonvoy breakfast coupon. Ultimately, I spent many weeks last year and all of January at the Westin SFO in Millbrae because there breakfast is fantastic and is fully comped. I prefer a full service Marriott with a Bonvoy lounge, but if the lounge is closed for Covid or any reason, I look for a better option. If hotels want business travelers they have to provide real value and for me that is how well they provide breakfast. Hotel rooms are all about the same… bed, shower, tv, etc. What matters most to me is what the hotel provides above and beyond those basics. I will be staying at the Westin SFO and enjoying an everything omelette with goat cheese, breakfast potatoes, and wheat toast for at least the next three weeks because lounge or no lounge it provides the best value to me.

  45. Russ Member

    I think the biggest risk here is mediocre full-service hotels that are outdated, have similar rates yet offer less to elite members. I have chosen to stay at limited-service Marriott brands due to club lounges being closed. I had also seen a few Courtyards and some other brands the same way. Why stay at the old Marriott/Sheraton when you could stay in a newer hotel like an Aloft/Springhill/Element/etc.?

    1. JJ Guest

      Agree with this totally. There is no longer a differentiation between these different ‘levels’ and in many cases, a new Fairfield may be more comfortable than an old Marriott.

    2. Lukas Guest

      100% agreed.

      I continue to mostly go with "premium" brands outside of the US (e.g. Conrads, Hiltons, Renaissance, Marriotts, ...) but tend to select "limited service" brands in the US since the better brands have cut everything. Just completed a stay at a $300 Hilton in Florida, which was honestly worse than my last stay at a $150 Springhill, where parking and breakfast were included and the rooms much nicer. I don't get why...

      100% agreed.

      I continue to mostly go with "premium" brands outside of the US (e.g. Conrads, Hiltons, Renaissance, Marriotts, ...) but tend to select "limited service" brands in the US since the better brands have cut everything. Just completed a stay at a $300 Hilton in Florida, which was honestly worse than my last stay at a $150 Springhill, where parking and breakfast were included and the rooms much nicer. I don't get why anyone would go for an older Hilton or Marriott property when they've cut everything that differentiated them from a Garden Inn at half the cost?

    3. Randy Gold

      People are just going to abandon the chain hotels and hotel status. The new norm will become booking at places like bookaahotels.com to get status points and more people going to airbnb. I agree - with no lounge no reason to stay at full service. Even there they are trying to cut the breakfast benefit. People are going to go for the most convenient location and the cheapest.

      Hotels like Marriott will lose their marketing...

      People are just going to abandon the chain hotels and hotel status. The new norm will become booking at places like bookaahotels.com to get status points and more people going to airbnb. I agree - with no lounge no reason to stay at full service. Even there they are trying to cut the breakfast benefit. People are going to go for the most convenient location and the cheapest.

      Hotels like Marriott will lose their marketing clout when people steer away from booking at Marriott.com and use other booking sites.

    4. Andrew Gold

      Agreed as I write this response from a Hyatt Place. Being a globalist beans I get 2 free bottles of water. Almost no reason to be loyal these days.

  46. Alonzo Diamond

    Increased wages won't accomplish the staffing issue across the hospitality industry. Chipotle is starting at $37k/year for an entry level position. With full benefits and tuition reimbursement. Nobody wants to do the work. Period.

    1. Adam Guest

      Complete and total falsehood. Please point me to a study, data sets, scientific surveys... anything other than anecdotal tidbits, trade publications or CEO/Ownership that simply repeat the old (and very false) stereotype that poor and working class folks are simply too lazy to make a good living.

      Let's be perfectly clear. When employers pay a in living wage, offer benefits and truly respect their employees, there will be no difficulty in finding excellent workers....

      Complete and total falsehood. Please point me to a study, data sets, scientific surveys... anything other than anecdotal tidbits, trade publications or CEO/Ownership that simply repeat the old (and very false) stereotype that poor and working class folks are simply too lazy to make a good living.

      Let's be perfectly clear. When employers pay a in living wage, offer benefits and truly respect their employees, there will be no difficulty in finding excellent workers. Where you see a lot of hotels increasing pay and/or offering basic benefits, many of them are trying playing catch up after decades of truly horrendous pay and conditions. This was during a time period that saw the industry boom, at every level except for the hospitality professionals being asked to clean toilets, work midnight shifts, repair the air conditioning and so much more all while being screamed at by some guy named "Phil" or "Jeff" that he's stayed at every single Ritz Carlton and he's *NEVER* not been able to check in at 10am.... While smiling, being empathetic and apologize profusely. In the middle of a pandemic, when you're actual physical health is at risk because no one wants to put on a mask. Guess what, though, if you did get sick you wouldn't have insurance, sick days or any real protections that your job would be safe while recovering (contrary to popular opinion).

      So, yeah, these owners and Leadership teams have been spending decades making bank breaking the backs of housekeepers and bellstaff have an exceptional amount of work they need to do in order to make things right. So this is the kind of rhetoric you will hear. Blame blame blame. It's the greedy workers, no the lazy workers! It's the spoiled guests that think they should get acknowledged for their loyalty! Too many free amenities! Blame everyone but themselves for setting up an operating model that makes finding out the *actual* hotel owners damn near impossible to determine. It's a system that heaps all the financial reward onto those who need no talent, no work ethic, no charm or hospitality. Definitely no accountability.

      So, Alonzo, I am intrigued by where there is any factual, scientific evidence that poor, working class people are not interested in a better, secure financial future for themselves and their families.

    2. Bill n DC Gold

      Right on! Stop blaming poor workers. It’s just what hotel owners and the Oligarchs want.

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Adam Guest

Complete and total falsehood. Please point me to a study, data sets, scientific surveys... anything other than anecdotal tidbits, trade publications or CEO/Ownership that simply repeat the old (and very false) stereotype that poor and working class folks are simply too lazy to make a good living. Let's be perfectly clear. When employers pay a in living wage, offer benefits and truly respect their employees, there will be no difficulty in finding excellent workers. Where you see a lot of hotels increasing pay and/or offering basic benefits, many of them are trying playing catch up after decades of truly horrendous pay and conditions. This was during a time period that saw the industry boom, at every level except for the hospitality professionals being asked to clean toilets, work midnight shifts, repair the air conditioning and so much more all while being screamed at by some guy named "Phil" or "Jeff" that he's stayed at every single Ritz Carlton and he's *NEVER* not been able to check in at 10am.... While smiling, being empathetic and apologize profusely. In the middle of a pandemic, when you're actual physical health is at risk because no one wants to put on a mask. Guess what, though, if you did get sick you wouldn't have insurance, sick days or any real protections that your job would be safe while recovering (contrary to popular opinion). So, yeah, these owners and Leadership teams have been spending decades making bank breaking the backs of housekeepers and bellstaff have an exceptional amount of work they need to do in order to make things right. So this is the kind of rhetoric you will hear. Blame blame blame. It's the greedy workers, no the lazy workers! It's the spoiled guests that think they should get acknowledged for their loyalty! Too many free amenities! Blame everyone but themselves for setting up an operating model that makes finding out the *actual* hotel owners damn near impossible to determine. It's a system that heaps all the financial reward onto those who need no talent, no work ethic, no charm or hospitality. Definitely no accountability. So, Alonzo, I am intrigued by where there is any factual, scientific evidence that poor, working class people are not interested in a better, secure financial future for themselves and their families.

8
John Shepherd Guest

Too much blame on Covid; too little blame on corporate greed

6
Russ Member

I think the biggest risk here is mediocre full-service hotels that are outdated, have similar rates yet offer less to elite members. I have chosen to stay at limited-service Marriott brands due to club lounges being closed. I had also seen a few Courtyards and some other brands the same way. Why stay at the old Marriott/Sheraton when you could stay in a newer hotel like an Aloft/Springhill/Element/etc.?

6
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