People ask the whole time what hotel brands are going up and what is going down. Well it is obviously not diplomatic to say which are careering down the Cresta fast as can be imagined but it is safe to say that those that are part of big conglomerates have a hardtime just staying put. Those that are mounting the Matterhorn have fewer layers of bureaucracy between line staff and overall boss and there are strong personalities at every juncture.
Why do we care about brands so much? The word comes from marking your property, or even a cow, with a distinguishing mark – in medieval England it simply meant to burn. Fashion has pushed the value of brands, from Armani to Zara. Art has Banksy and Damien Hirst. Wine has Le Cheval Blanc, which also has a few hotels….. but in general hotels are, as so often, slow off the mark. Rosewood benefitted when they brought in a non-hotelier to head marketing (now they have an ex-Google girl who is data-determined and even Girlahead cannot remember her name).
It is not impudent to say that a first-time hotel owner in New York asked about brands. The only brand he mentioned was Capella. Interesting. Having once had Dusseldorf, Capella is now exclusively in Asia (it is going to be in Florence ‘soon’). It has extremely strong hotel GMs – John Blanco, a Brazilian born in Venezuela’s Amazonia, is ex-many big names, was with Ritz-Carlton for years. Now, as passionate GM of CAPELLA BANGKOK, he remembers how much he learned from his main former mentors, Horst Schulze and Hervé Humler. Here’s a clue to what makes a brand. Brand heroes need to have, or have had, strong mentors.
And these leaders think of little as well as big touch points. Look, above, at the rainbow that John Blanco conveniently arranged as Girlahead left his hotel. Final words from Capella’s boss: