In 2000, hotelier Dilbag (Tony) Singh opened a Best Western hotel in Mission, Texas. The 54-room, new-build property remained under the Best Western flag for 16 years, but eventually, amid the growing pressure of brand updates, Singh decided to go independent. Then, when Best Western launched SureStay in late 2016, Singh was immediately intrigued. He reached out to his contacts at Best Western, and in March of last year, the hotel debuted a new identity—the SureStay Mission.
What drove you to go independent?
There were a lot of brand updates that didn’t make sense for my property. For example, my property has exterior corridors, and Best Western mandated that the property would need an elevator. That wouldn’t have worked at my hotel, so, I made the difficult decision to walk away. Best Western was always very supportive of my property and appreciated that I was able to meet their requirements without an issue for so many years, so when I told them it was just too much, they understood.
How did you hear about SureStay?
A few months later, I saw an ad for this new brand called SureStay. I called up my contacts at Best Western and they explained how the brand worked. We had such a good history, it just made sense to join. The franchising process is just like with Best Western; we have the same reservation system, the same rewards program, the same property management system. It’s like being a Best Western hotel again, but without having to make changes that may not work for my hotel. It’s been the easiest franchising experience I’ve ever had. I have no bad things to say about this transition.
Why do you think soft brands, like the SureStay Collection, are having so much success in today’s lodging industry?
Industries change, and the big players have to change with them. Think about the taxi market. They were doing well all over the world until Uber showed up, charging 30 percent of what the taxi companies were charging. Taxi companies had to change or become obsolete. It’s the same with the hotel industry. Airbnb is driving major changes, including pricing the industry down. This is because they don’t obey the rules and regulations of the industry, and don’t have the same costs that we do. I feel like the SureStay Collection—and other soft brands—are the hotel industry’s response to Airbnb. They provide a good experience without a lot of the costs that come with being a branded hotel.
Do you think the industry is going to keep moving in this direction?
Yes, to my knowledge, the industry is going to move further toward this model. Competition is coming, and that’s good. I believe any kind of competition is good, but the way the hotel industry is moving right now in the competition is also good. The public will get a better price, better service, and more clean rooms.