Home Travel Why Do Low-End Hotels Have High-End Brands Under Their Umbrellas?

Why Do Low-End Hotels Have High-End Brands Under Their Umbrellas?

by joeheg

We’re all accustomed to hotel companies having a range of hotels under the same corporate umbrella. Hilton Hotels owns both the Waldorf Astoria and the Hampton Inn brands, and a bunch more in between. Marriott runs Fairfield Inns while also owning the St. Regis and Ritz Carlton brands, along with some moderate brands between the two ends. Even IHG, most known for Holiday Inns, is named after Intercontinental Hotels and owns the Kimpton brand.

I can get all of that. But I’m at a loss to explain why the lower-tier hotel brands try to keep a division of hotels consisting of properties that don’t fit within any of their other brands.

The Ascend Hotel Collection

While the name may not be familiar, you’ve undoubtedly seen other hotels run the parent company. The Ascend Collection is part of Choice Hotels, better known for EconoLodge, Sleep Inn, and Comfort hotels. We were first introduced to the brand when staying at the Distrikt Hotel, which has since joined Hilton Hotels Tapestry Collection.

We’ve also stayed at the Villa Montes Hotel near San Francisco Airport, which is still a part of the Ascend Collection. While the hotel has apparently lost some of the goth/Buddhist vibes from our stay, we’d still gladly visit again if we needed a quick stay near the airport.

Neither of those hotels invoked anything to do with the Choice Hotels brand and I doubt anyone staying even knew the hotels were part of the brand.

Registry, Dolce, TRYP, and Trademark Hotels

All four of the brands above are part of Wyndham Hotels. The majority of the hotels owned by Wyndham are Travelodge, Super 8, Days Inn, Microtel, Baymont, Ramada and LaQuinta. I’d wager that none of those names make you think of a luxury hotel.

I’d bet you’d be surprised that the chains have numerous properties throughout the US and around the world.

While we’ve never stayed at a fancier Wyndham hotel brand, there’s nothing to keep me from visiting one.

Hotel RL

I wasn’t familiar with this chain until some of the people on my business trip to Brooklyn in 2019 were assigned rooms at one of their properties.

The Hotel RL is a division of Red Lion Hotels which is better known for the Americas Best Value Inn. As per the brand website:

Hotel RL is a collection of hotels designed for those who travel to connect and explore. With innovative spaces, stylish guestrooms, award-winning coffee and food you’ll love, our hotels offer an ideal resting place to recharge your curiosity.

While the hotel wasn’t bad, it only offered coffee and a bagel for breakfast and was 3x farther from work than the Hampton Inn I was staying at near JFK airport. After a few days, our corporate travel agent was able to transfer them to our hotel.

Final Thoughts

After researching this post, I still can’t understand the reasoning for hotel chains to include hotels that are far from their target market. I can’t see someone who usually stays at an EconoLodge suddenly looking for a boutique hotel in San Francisco, or someone who stays at the Americas Best Value Inn deciding to find a hip place to stay in Brooklyn with an awesome coffee bar in the lobby. But maybe that’s just me.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


John Brissette October 4, 2021 - 2:27 pm

I wonder if this is the hotel industry taking the corp conglomerate approach of “completing with oneself”? The tobacco industry was famous for this with Phillip Morris or RJR owning “premier brands” like Dunhill or 555 – moderate mass merch brands like Marlboro and then also making “generics”. Large distillers and brewers have tried this and the auto industry has famously tried it with brands like Rolls Royce/Maybach/Cadillac/Lexus owned by the same folks who make Corollas, Cavaliers, and generic Tata sedans and trucks. It seems to me companies today feel that “staying in their lane” means losing potential business so they acquire or launch alternate brands to maintain brand identity while still chasing all markets.

derek October 4, 2021 - 3:15 pm

The reason may be because once a company has the expertise to develop one brand of hotel, they know how to develop another brand of a different price point.

Christian October 4, 2021 - 10:09 pm

Maybe it was an accidental marriage where the brand that doesn’t seem to fit was along for the ride in a merger and it just wasn’t worthwhile to sell the brand.


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