222 | Flying Solo: What it takes to go from franchised to independent


Independent hotel supply in the U.S. has decreased in the past 10 years, reports STR.

The lodging-data company reports independently owned and operated hotels account for less than 40 percent of all hotels. About 1 percent of those close each year.

But that trend may take a turn.

It appears more and more hoteliers who have grown their companies with franchised brands are considering going independent.

We’re talking about entrepreneurs are converting existing branded properties into non-affiliated hotels.

The franchise contracts are approaching the end, and thanks to the internet, online distribution channels and sophisticated operating and marketing technologies, flying solo is no longer a day dream.

However, before lowering your brand flag, listen to the advice of three hoteliers who either have done it or are planning to do it.

You may discover that franchising is the best model for your business, after all.

In today’s episode, we talk to San Diego hoteliers Bobby Patel of Hotel Investment Group which has nine independent hotels, and Vipul Dayal of VNR Management who is converting a family-owned franchised property and writing a book about it.

We also hear from Timesh Patel of Ohm Culture Hotels in Inglewood, California, who, as he puts it, was “punched in the face” when he transitioned from franchised to independent.

Resources and Links

  • 329 | Ruff and Ready: ADA gives hotels a short leash when accommodating guests with service animals

    Many hotels these days have made room for guests with disabilities. Hotel managers and staff should also know what the Americans with Disabilities Act says about accommodating guests with pets. During the pandemic lockdowns, a lot of people added a pet to their household and now they’re bringing Fido along on vacation. Hotel employees need to know how to cater to both consumers who are pet owners as well as guests who travel with a trained service animal. Episode 329 of Lodging Leaders podcast reports on how the ADA defines a service animal and how a hotel is legally obligated to serve a guest who comes with a dog or any other animal.

  • 328 | Curb Appeal: Hotels’ refreshed images designed to attract road trippers

    Nearly 48 million Americans plan to travel over the Fourth of July weekend, predicts AAA. Most of them will drive and many of them plan to stay in hotels. What makes a travel consumer choose your hotel? Price can be a factor but so can the story the property tells through its online photos and its real-life curb appeal. First impressions of a hotel set the tone for the guest’s entire stay. Its roadside image is more important than ever as the lodging industry this summer hangs its hopes on a comeback driven by domestic travelers. Lodging Leaders podcast explores the importance of a hotel’s curb appeal as hoteliers think of ways to attract travelers seeking safety and assurance as the nation emerges from the coronavirus pandemic.

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