I was thinking after my summer road trip, when due to the MegaBonus I tried to brand-hop quite a bit, that the distinction between many of the brands is subtle at best and hard to distinguish at worst. I'm not sure after looking at the Marriott website that the brand distinctions are particularly clear or consistent short of going to each brand's own website. If a friend or colleague asked you about choosing between an Edition, Autograph or Renaissance hotel, what would be a consistent distinguishing factor you could describe with confidence about each brand that might help someone out (with the normal decision making drivers of price and location being equal)?
I'd be curious what others would say about this, especially with the addition of the SPG brands, which I am mostly unfamiliar with. On one hand I'm curious if people can describe the differences, and also wondering whether Marriott/SPG should do brand consolidation or clarification.
For instance, just focusing on the non-full-service brands - TownePlace Suites vs. Residence Inn. My experience is that the basic TPS is more like a standard hotel layout and the basic room is a typical hotel room, with the addition of a kitchenette in the entrance hallway, while the similar basic room for RI is a bit more spacious - like a studio apartment - and has a more distinct kitchen and living room. I have stayed at RIs that are laid out like apartment complexes with standalone buildings and city ones that are your typical multi-story. Residence Inn by name is more descriptive, but I'm not sure someone would tell by name that TownePlace has kitchenettes while say a SpringHill Suite would not.
I also find the Fairfield Inns and SpringHill Suites to be interchangeable. Every FI I've had the same layout of a front living space then a somewhat separate sleeping area - and every SHS has been the same. If there is a clear difference it is lost on me.
Courtyard in particular is odd - in the cities it seems to be the cheaper cousin to the full service brands, but on the highways it is more or less a step above FI and SHS, I guess. Anyone else think that many city-based older Courtyards that took over old office buildings or banks would likely now be branded Renaissance?
Bit of a rambling post but I am curious if people feel they know and describe these differences...