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Many travelers, looking for local experiences, are drawn to independent hotels. The switch from a brand hotel to an independent one can be a major gamble, but worth it if the move is well-planned and thought-out.
The decision by an owner to switch a branded hotel to an independent is a weighty one. Shedding the presumed marketing and image advantages of a national brand in favor of starting fresh with no brand, or with a soft brand, entails a long list of logistical steps necessary to ensure the conversion is as seamless and successful as possible, sources said.
B. Thomas Goodwin, senior VP of Fillmore Hospitality, said timing is the most critical element in a brand-to-independent conversion. The Columbus, Ohio-based company has done “12 to 15” of these conversions, Goodwin said. The latest conversion took place in November, when the company converted the former Hilton San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf to the Pier 2620 Hotel. The 233-room hotel is part of Preferred Hotels’ Sterling Hotels soft brand.