Do Not Disturb by Michael Matthews
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The Hotel Name Game Takes Moxy These Days
February 5, 2015 -- I'm sure the people over at Marriott and Hyatt are all very smart and on the ball, but they've got me shaking my head these days.
First off, do either of them really need another brand? Marriott is about to develop number eighteen! Hyatt is now working on brand number ten. (And what about Hilton, which has twelve thanks to two new ones it recently introduced?)
Marriott and Hyatt's new brands are geared to what the marketers call the millennial market. I thought Marriott's Edition brand was meant to do that and Hyatt's Andaz brand was its millennial entry. It's all very muddling. But what's even more worrying is their choice of names for these new brands.
If you haven't already heard, hotels joining the new Marriott brand are going to be called Moxy Hotels. Hyatt has dubbed its new brand Centric.
I agree that Marriott has a lot of moxy to add another brand to its laundry list hotels, but did the bosses check out the meaning of the word "moxy"? According to various dictionaries, including the online Urban Dictionary, moxy means ... someone who has balls. Internetslang.com has it meaning "courage" and the Oxford Dictionary says having moxy is having nerve.
So where does that leave us? There will supposedly be Moxy hotels in New York, London, Frankfurt, San Francisco, Munich, Seattle and other cities. The first opened a couple of months ago at Milan's appropriately named Malpensa (bad thoughts) Airport. I guess all these hoteliers have balls and courage. Well, I suppose all developers have that. That's especially true if you lined up to develop an Edition Hotel. Marriott and its partner in that brand, Ian Schrager, promised 100 hotels back in 2007. But only four have ever opened and one of the properties, in Honolulu, promptly locked Marriott out after several unhappy months and changed its name to the Modern.
Moxy hotels, by the way, have cement floors and guestrooms so small that there isn't even enough space for a guestroom telephone. Does that suit millennials? Maybe, but still I think they might have chosen a better name than Moxy. How many millennials with moxy do you know?
I don't know what to make of Hyatt's Centric brand, either. It has a weird Web site that has even odder things on it than the Moxy site. And it took, well, real moxy for Hyatt to issue the birth announcement it did. What is a Modern Explorer, anyway. Is that a traditional explorer like, oh, say, Vasco da Gama, but with more courage and balls? All these names and all these customer definitions confuse me.
On the subject of names, I see that Eric Danziger, the former boss of Radisson, Wyndham and several other hotel groups, is coming up with some wild new hotel names. He's launching or expanding not one hotel brand, but five--and all at the same time! They are to be housed under a new company called the Debut Hotel Group. One will be named Augustus Hotels, a five-star chain. A small, existing chain, Dream Hotels, will supposedly be in the four-star category. There's also a new chain called Time. There'll be a three-star concept called Unscripted. Do you really want to stay at an unscripted hotel?
Finally, Danzinger promises something called Night Hotels, which Debut claims will "shake up the limited-service hotel model." Really? I'd say Mr. Danziger has a lot of moxy. Of course, it's possible that Night Hotels won't let you stay in your room during the day and that would be just, well, Stupid, which I don't think is currently being used as the name of a hotel chain.
I'm not sure where all this hotel development and the odd names are going to end. It just doesn't make sense to me and I can only believe a lot of hotel developers are going to be hurt.
On the other hand, business travelers are going to have the time of their lives choosing which bed they will sleep in next. But remember what I've told you over the years: Don't worry about names or brand. Find a hotel you like, get to know the general manager and stick with it.
It doesn't take much moxy to get to know the GM and you'll be rewarded in the long run.
This column is Copyright © 2015 by Michael Matthews. JoeSentMe.com is Copyright © 2015 by Joe Brancatelli. All rights reserved. All of the opinions and material in this column are the sole property and responsibility of Michael Matthews. This material may not be reproduced in any form without his express written permission.