Branding a motel chain

No one seems to be doing a great job at it.

Holiday Inn used to be the brand leader in the category, but they’ve diversified and diluted their brand.

At one point, Motel 6 was doing a proper job of differentiating themselves from competitors even though they relied too heavily on the low price theme in my opinion. But their spokeperson and their homey, low key approach was certainly distinctive.

By the way, the name originally stood for 6-dollar rooms. As rates went up, I believe they still maintained two or three rooms at that price to justify their claim of 6-dollar rooms. Super 8 also named their chain to support their 8-dollar rooms. Both organizations were very short-sighted. I would never encourage a brander to make a specific price part of their brand. Both chains survived, but only after many disappointed travelers left the office with bad tastes in their mouths.

Then there are the multifaceted chains of Mariott and Quality, both with individually named facility types. Both chains want to promote all those choices in one ad. Neither succeeds in differentiating their subbrands or the master brands with this tactic. I know it would be prohibitive for each subbrand to launch and maintain individual promotional programs. I’d look at a consolidation program, perhaps maintaining three of the brands in each family, one for business travelers, one at vacation destinations and a third for general car travel.

La Quinta has launched a campaign recently where they feature their free breakfast bar. But that won’t cut it since many of the chains now offer that perk. Plus their campaign, directed mostly to business travelers, is irrelevant and inane.

Someone could step up and take a leadership roll in this category, but I’ve a feeling no one will. They’ve made their beds and now just lay there.

Martin Jelsema

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.