Consort Hotels, the York-based consortium, is to begin the biggest repositioning exercise in its 15-year history in an attempt to make it more attractive to the public.
The 180-strong consortium is spending more than £50,000 on developing its new approach, which is intended to lead to more prominent branding for its member hotels and to stress the personal nature of each business.
The consortium hopes to shift its image away from a business hotel group with properties mainly in cities and towns. "We have to change to be a serious player. We need to revamp and appeal both to members and to the public," said Consort's national chairman, Martin Pedler.
The problem with many consortia in the past was that they focused on retaining members rather than appealing to the public, he argued.
The consortium reached this conclusion after a two-stage research project. Conducted by consultancy Vital Edge and started in July last year, the first part involved interviewing more than 100 independent UK hoteliers belonging to rival consortia. At the same time a consumer attitude survey was conducted. These results were then combined with the findings of a questionnaire sent out to every Consort member.
"The message that came through was the importance of standards. We need to present a form of promise for standards," said Mr Pedler.
At the beginning of February the group switched from RAC to AA inspection. By the summer of next year, all members will have to achieve 64% quality rating rather than the 61% at present.
The group will continue to recruit members in the two-, three- and four-star categories.
The exact branding identity had yet to be confirmed, but the promise of high standards would be contained in the catchline "A personal touch, nationwide", said Mr Pedler.