Discount supermarket chain Lidl enters aparthotel world
Discount supermarket chain Lidl enters aparthotel world
23 OCTOBER 2017 7:10 AM

Is there a space in the hotel world for discount European supermarket aparhotels? And if IHG is serious about adding a soft brand to its stable, where on Earth will it be able to find a good brand name that isn’t already taken?

Back in the 20th century when I grew up, it was a comforting thought to think that big companies—with all their noise, marketing and pinstriped talking heads—at least only produced one thing, be it cars, desks or spinach.

That might be more about how our formative brains put the world around us in order.

Slowly, though, I heard terms such as “multinational,” “conglomerate” and “subsidiary,” and realized that Company A, which you considered a little cool because it produced something you truly liked, was actually owned by Company Evil, which razed rainforests and had dull offices just outside of London.

I mention all this because squeezed in between last Friday’s third-quarter results from InterContinental Hotels Group and AccorHotels—which as far as I know (and contemplating its M&A record over the last three years, it might only be a matter of time) does not own an office-furniture manufacturing and distribution company—I saw that discount supermarket chain Lidl has applied for planning permission for an aparthotel.

Yes! I read it in

From the details I can piece together, it seems that Lidl, a German firm properly named Lidl Stiftung & Co. KG, formerly Schwarz Unternehmenstreuhand KG (now that’s a potential hotel-brand name, just trips off the tongue), acquired a little while ago 130,000 square feet in Brasov, Romania, some of which will see a supermarket, the rest to be sold to a developer for an aparthotel.

So perhaps it is too far forward to believe the Lidl name will be above the lodgings component, but you never know in today’s world of business “jargonese” of “accelerated growth,” “efficiency drivers,” “cross-vertical sweet spots” and “frontlist unit strategies.”

It might be developed to house attendees of Lidl training conferences, but it might just as well be for those interested in early 21st century supermarkets.

And Lidl of course has some German competition, as Germany is efficient like that.

Its main competition is Aldi (supermarkets apparently work best with short names of two syllables—new hotel chains take note, although Even Hotels, Moxy and Ibis evidently have), and I will conjecture that Aldi will not want to be left behind in the discount supermarket-aparthotel battle to the top.

All the names have gone
Much to the above point, in IHG’s Q3 numbers, its CFO Paul Edgecliffe-Johnson said adding a soft collection was of possible interest to the British hotel firm.

“Clearly some of our competitors have had success with that,” he said.

This means the potential soft brand needs a name, and as we know, they’ve all gone.

Cars were the first to experience a glut of already-grabbed monikers. Car brands named Ka, Berlingo and Kompressor prove that, I believe.

There have been a few hotel brand names invented that might be on the same level, so good luck IHG. Time to get all their very smartest branding people all in the same room, methinks.

Email Terence Baker or find him on Twitter.

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