Eden Prairie (Minneapolis) MN, January 2020 … Bigger, bolder and now independent – Big Box Hotels are increasingly breaking off from major brands and deploying their expansive meeting spaces, extensive room inventory and outstanding technical services to become independent operators. It’s a growing trend that offers planners the advantages of a large hotel accommodating groups of up to 3,000 attendees while providing a level of flexibility and creativity once reserved for boutique properties and smaller brands.
Teneo Hospitality Group, the leading group representation firm, is responding to this development by introducing its newest collection of member hotels – the Big Box Collection, which now includes 52 independent and smaller-branded member hotels across the United States, Europe and Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Eleven of these are offering special hot dates and incentives, available throughout 2020 and accommodating meetings in several prominent destinations including Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Honolulu, Orlando, Reno, San Diego and the Temecula Valley Wine Country in California.
“This move from Big Box brands to independent status is a significant trend,” says Teneo President Mike Schugt. He notes that for the last 20-30 years, many boutique hotels have transitioned to independent or soft branded properties. This paved the way for many larger, branded properties to declare their independence and reap the benefits of autonomy.
Big Box brands are able to provide far more options to planners and guests, unfettered by frequently inflexible policies of a large corporate brand. Often operating without a brand name, these newly independent hotels have embraced a creative, personalized culture based on the offering’s boutique hotels initiated 20 years ago. “We now see highly-customized, catering-to-all-your-senses experiences available to larger groups in the Big Box hotels we represent,” says Mike Schugt.
Hoteliers are capitalizing on the new opportunities to bring in the best, most personalized aspects of the boutique concept – customized service that focus on issues important to guest satisfaction. These include sustainability, curated experiences, imaginative décor, music, scent, lighting, original art and architecture, raising the bar in food and beverage services – all without the cookie-cutter limitations that can be imposed by major brands.
Planners should welcome this growing trend, according to Schaan Baker of Phillips Ultrasound. “The Big Box concept gives planners new options, sophisticated technical services, greater value and return on investment, a chance to explore new destinations, and the creative energy and resourcefulness of an independent or smaller brand property,” she notes.
This creative, flexible approach lets hotels showcase the best of their destination. For example, the Boston Park Plaza, a Boston icon for nearly a century, has added a loft-like contemporary event space, Avenue 34, to its three magnificent ballrooms. In Hawaii, the new Alohini Resort, Waikiki Beach, offers a spectacular lobby Oceanarium and the Thrillist, an adventurous program of helicopter tours and horseback rides to plant legacy trees in Hawaii’s forests. At the Omni Dallas, planners can see their brand’s name in lights on the Dallas skyline, thanks to the mile of LED lights placed around the building.
“By declaring their independence, many larger hotels are able to create their own, singular brands, free from rigid corporate policies and operating restrictions,” says Mike Schugt. He also notes that the trend toward autonomy dovetails perfectly with planners’ demand for more diverse meeting space, greater options in accommodations and the most sophisticated technology.
At the same time, planners are calling for a less rigid, more open approach to the planning process. “Independent hotels are better able to provide a creative, workable and unique environment,” says Mike Schugt. He also sees this trend expanding and continuing for the foreseeable future. “Over 50 Big Box hotels have recently become independent,” Mike Schugt says. “We are proud that a significant number of them have become Teneo members, recognizing our commitment to promoting independent hotels and smaller brands.”
Hotels in Teneo’s Big Box Collection, offering Hot Dates and Special Promotions throughout 2020,span historic landmarks, beachfront resorts, sophisticated urban hotels and major conference center hotels accommodating up to 3,000 attendees.
–Alohini Resort, Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Hawaii
–Boston Park Plaza, Boston, Massachusetts
–Caribe Royale, Orlando, Florida
–Hotel del Coronado, San Diego, California
–The Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park – Chicago, Illinois
–The Fontainbleau, Miami, Florida
–The Loews Meeting Complex at Universal Orlando, Orlando, Florida
–The Omni Dallas, Dallas, Texas
–The Pechanga Resort and Casino, Temecula, California
–The Peppermill Resort Spa & Casino, Reno, Nevada
–Rosen Hotels, Orlando, Florida
For information on hot dates and special promotions, visit: