Cleanliness – Choose a brand that emphasizes sanitization. Clean guest rooms will be of top importance to guests for the foreseeable future. Does cleanliness figure into the franchisor’s national marketing? Does the hotel’s style feature furnishings and floor coverings that are easy to clean? If you are renovating an existing older property, can it be made pristine at a reasonable cost?
Support and Technology – Find franchisors that offer excellent support to franchisees and add value with technology. For example, evaluate the quality of the national reservations phone line and booking system. A strong loyalty and newsletter program can give the hotel a memorable personality and drive new business.
Site Location Support – How good is the franchisor at helping choose locations? How much site selection assistance can you expect? Is site location one of the hotel’s strengths? Access to airports, interstates or nearby destinations can make or break a property. Safety and security of the area are also important, especially for women travelers.
How Has Covid-19 Affected Hotel Franchises?
The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 hit the hospitality industry hard as people curtailed travel and conferences. However, downturns are great times to snap up bargains and take advantage of trends.
Aspiring hotel owners should carefully assess the future. Try to gauge when conditions are turning around and point toward an upswing. A return to normal presents opportunities to jump on pent-up demand by travel lovers, business travelers and conference goers. In light of the pandemic and resulting economic conditions, it’s more important than ever to make wise choices:
- Identify the best-performing business model. Economy and extended-stay hotels seemed to have weathered the impact better, according to a mid-2020 survey by JLL. Urban hotels are struggling the most, according to a report by the American Hotel and Lodging Association. 2
- Evaluate financial support. Find franchisors willing to offer discounts or go the extra mile to address temporary financial pressures. Were they willing to allow franchisees to temporarily relax brand standards such as cutting back on amenities or switching to carryout food versus sit-down restaurants? What other aid did the franchising team give?
- Anticipate trends. Recovery depends on the willingness of guests to travel, and why they travel, says Daniel Fenton, Director of Global Tourism and Destination Development Services, Hotels & Hospitality Group, JLL. “The first round of leisure travelers will be inclined to drive rather than fly. After that, individual business travel will start to grow, followed by group business travel. It will take longer for group leisure travel.” 3
Bottom line: the opportunity for a franchise can be found even during the most difficult of times, if you are smart.