The hospitality industry has taken a hit during the recession, but some chains are climbing back. And if they want to stay on top, brand strength is going to be a key part of the rebound, says InterContinental Hotels Group CEO Andrew Cosslett.
On the surface, the largest hotel firms should be standard bearers for corporate citizenship. After all, they make their money introducing guests to new cultures and pristine landscapes, so they have an interest in preserving the environment and supporting the local community. They spend billions each day on heating and water, and as the ubiquitous notes in hotel bathrooms urging us to save our towels can attest, they are acutely aware of the need to conserve these resources and reduce that cost. Like all consumer brands, they know the reputational risks of entanglement in labor or human rights abuse.
As I write this, I'm in a hotel room on the Vegas Strip, looking out my window at the construction site of what will be the largest green hotel in the world, set within MGM Mirage's $7.4 billion City Center.
Traditionally, an extended-stay hotel was little more than a motel with big rooms, tiny kitchens and discounts for guests staying awhile. Realizing just how lucrative the business-travel market is, major hotel corporations are jumping in.