Franchise obsolescence quite obviously affects both franchisor and franchisee directly and franchisors work constantly to refresh their “products”. While the age of the franchise generally does not necessarily translate into obsolescence, there are a variety of factors that can affect a franchise’s longevity. One factor that can cause a real momentum shift is changing demographics. And most franchisors have been working overtime to cater to and even prophecy consumer preferences across generations. The result has been seen in a range of franchises at the upper end beginning with the by now ubiquitous and famous W hotels to the latest such as NYLO hotels. But one segment that has largely slipped below the radar screen of designers and architects is the select service segment. Whether it is Courtyard or Hilton Garden or the more staid Holiday Inn chain, design is not what comes to mind for either the guest or franchisee. That appears to be changing with several of these franchises even further down the totem pole such as Super 8, Red Roof and even Days Inn contemplating a radical new look geared at luring Gen Y while staying away from something too edgy that scares off baby-boomers.
The result, for those who have seen some of the prototypes, is truly remarkable. An appealing mix of functionality blended with design and low development costs is what most chains have embarked upon. Most expect launches over the next two year with some as early as the first quarter of ’07.