Due to a lot of personal and business travel over the past few years, I have had an opportunity to stay at a number of popular chain hotels, namely Hyatt, Marriott and Hilton properties. These days it’s hard to keep track of who owns what because each chain owns other brands, and has differentiated their own brand by offering travelers a continuum of property levels. Some amazing, some not so good. Just this past week I stayed at a Hilton where paint was peeling off cabinets, wallpaper was sloppily applied, and the overall room probably had not been updated in a couple of decades. Then a couple of days later, I switched to a Marriott Courtyard that had only been open a month, and the difference was night and day!
I know brands are constantly updating their properties, so my example could be reversed in another situation. While I do want a clean, well-thought out room, what I really care about is the quality of service delivered by the staff. Those of you who travel a lot know how the little things do add up! While waiting for Kelly and Trevor to arrive at the Marriott hotel, I struck up a conversation with Brian who happened to be working the front desk. Before we finished I had a list of a bunch of cool things to do in his neck of the woods and he had checked out our blog! In the end, the hotel business is really a relationship business.
When I compare my stays over the past few years at all the different properties, I would say that the Hyatt brand consistently rates higher than the other two. While my vote is not some randomized trial, I did notice that a 2013 hotel chain survey by Business Travel News rated Hyatt Place as the top brand for upscale properties.
So if travel is in your future, do check out the survey, ask about the age of the place you might stay, and sign-up for the frequent reward programs, as the points can really add up to quickly for free nights.