Economy and Mid-Scale Hotel General Manager Psychographics
The purchase motivations, habits, and attitudes of general managers in economy and midscale hotels in the United States are not readily available in the public domain, but there are sources suggesting that these general managers purchase furniture, fixtures, and equipment (FF&E) when replacements are in order, inventory needs to be replenished, or there are new or newly renovated rooms or spaces to be furnished. Because general managers are responsible for budget oversight and cost control, and not necessarily procurement itself, their involvement in the purchase decision-making process is likely limited to review and approval. Based on the mattress choices of economy and midscale hotels, there is likely a preference among general managers in economy and midscale hotels for mattresses that offer cost savings, design opportunities, and a quality sleep experience.
PURCHASE MOTIVATIONS AND INTENTIONS
- As there was no mention of purchasing or procurement responsibilities in the job descriptions of the general managers at midscale hotel Tru by Hilton and upper midscale hotel Hotel Whitcomb, it appears the involvement of the general manager at an economy or midscale hotel in furniture or mattress purchases is limited to the oversight and approval of the procurement budget. There is likely a procurement/purchasing department or a management company that takes care of vendor screening and selection.
- Given that budget oversight and cost control are part of the responsibilities of the general manager, it follows that general managers would purchase mattresses or furniture only when necessary. Common sense dictates that general managers, regardless of hotel segment, would buy mattresses only if there are new rooms that need to be furnished, there are old mattresses that need to be replaced, or there is a need to replenish mattress inventory.
- For example, Choice Hotels recently updated its upper midscale Comfort hotel guest rooms with premium mattresses and beddings as part of its Move to Modern initiative. New mattresses were purchased because all hotels of the Comfort brand are undergoing renovation.
- Hospital industry magazine Hotel Management polled general managers in 2017 for its Voice of the GM Survey. It appears 2017 was the last year for which survey results are available.
- While it is not clear how many general managers in the United States were polled, survey results indicate that 32% of the respondents were general managers at an upper midscale hotel, 38% were general managers at a midscale hotel, and 9% were general managers at an economy hotel. These figures suggest that most of the respondents were general managers in the economy to upper midscale hotel segment, and that the survey results, though not segmented by hotel type, may well be indicative of the perspective of economy and midscale hotel general managers.
- Of the general managers who were surveyed, 37% planned to spend more on FF&E. Moreover, 41% reported an increase in their purchasing budget, 45% reported no increase or decrease in their purchasing budget, and 14% reported a decrease in their purchasing budget. Most general managers had annual purchasing budgets below $200,000.
PURCHASE HABITS AND ATTITUDES
- According to Hotel Management's survey, the personal technology devices that general managers say they cannot live without are the following: iPhone (58%), Android (25%), laptop (8%). iPad (2%), and Blackberry (1%). These figures suggest that general managers are likely to review FF&E purchases (that were proposed by their procurement department or management company) on their smartphones.
- Glō, one of the midscale brands of Best Western, feature a platform-type bed because the platform-type bed offers cost savings, design opportunities, and a quality sleep experience. Some platform-type beds are multi-purpose, with drawers or with headboards doubling as desks. Given this information, it is likely that general managers at economy or midscale hotels prefer this type of bed too.
- Warranties appear to be an important purchase consideration. According to Ron Pohl, senior vice president and chief executive officer at Best Western Hotels & Resorts, Best Western, which makes use of Simmons Beauty Rest mattresses, requires that its mattresses have a 10-year warranty at the minimum. Since general managers need to adhere to brand standards, warranties must be a purchase consideration for them too.
- According to Chris Manley, chief operating officer at hotel management business Stonebridge Companies, most of the hotels in Stonebridge Companies's portfolio feature two-sided mattresses, mattresses that can be flipped and rotated quarterly for an extended lifespan. Given that Stonebridge Companies's portfolio includes midscale hotels, and two-sided mattresses have a longer lifespan, it is likely that general managers at economy or midscale hotels prefer two-sided mattresses as well.
- Since Holiday Inn Express and Candlewood Suites, two of the midscale brands of InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), feature 13-inch mattresses, there may be a preference for this thickness among general managers at economy or midscale hotels.
- General managers at economy or mid-scale hotels may have a preference for pillow-top mattresses because, with these mattresses, pillow tops can be replaced without replacing the whole mattress. The Avid Hotel, a budget brand of IHG, features pillow-top mattresses.
Since information from the perspective of general managers of economy and midscale hotels is needed, we began by looking for surveys and interviews of general managers. We checked as well if there are general managers who have written about their purchase habits and attitudes. If there is any relevant information at all in the public domain, that information would likely be a result of either an individual or organization polling or interviewing general managers, or general managers writing about their own habits and attitudes. This first strategy, sadly, returned limited results, and all we were able to find were the 2017 Voice of the GM Survey, which was published by hospitality industry magazine Hotel Management, and an article about how hoteliers choose mattresses, which was published by hospitality management business Stonebridge Companies. Hotel Management's respondents for the Voice of the GM Survey include general managers in economy and midscale hotels, but unfortunately, the survey results are not segmented by hotel type, and little was shared about FF&E. The article published by Stonebridge Companies offers insight into how Best Western and Microtel, key players in the midscale and economy segments, select their mattresses. It also provides information on how Stonebridge Companies, whose portfolio includes midscale hotels, chooses mattresses for the hotels it manages.
To find additional information, we looked for lists of economy and midscale hotels and checked if there is any information in the public domain that describes how any hotel in those lists purchase mattresses or FF&E. We figured these hotels' corporate websites, press releases, and press coverage may contain details about these hotels' procurement or purchasing processes, and these hotels' general managers may have shared some relevant information on their public profiles or reviews on furniture or mattress brand sites. Using the lists provided by E Travel Week, we were able to determine the top economy and midscale hotels. While we were unable to get relevant information from these hotels' corporate websites, press releases, and general managers, we came across a number of articles that identify the mattress choices of some economy and midscale hotels. Articles published by USA Today and business travel site C Boarding Group were among the articles we found.
Finally, we reviewed the job descriptions, roles, responsibilities, and day-to-day activities of general managers in economy or midscale hotels, or hotels in general, to determine the extent of their involvement in furniture or mattress purchases. Among the sites we consulted were PayScale, Linkedin, and Hcareers. With this approach, we were able to locate the job descriptions of general managers at midscale hotel Tru and upper midscale hotel Hotel Whitcomb, and the day-to-day activities of a general manager at upscale hotels Embassy Suites and Hilton Garden Inn. All in all, while the purchase motivations, habits, and attitudes of general managers in economy and midscale hotels are not readily available in the public domain, the insights that we were able to pull from various sources enabled us to profile said managers. Given the limited information that is available, however, the profile is not as robust as we would have liked.