The nine largest international hotel groups currently maintain a collective total of over 120 hotel brands. Talk about overwhelming! It can be difficult to try and make sense of all the different brands.
Even if you are loyal to a specific hotel rewards program and know all of their brands inside and out, you can still become pretty lost when you're trying to figure out which brands from competitor hotel groups match up with your favorite brands.
It's not always clear on the hotel groups' own websites what the differences are between the hotel group's own brands. And they certainly don't give you much indication of what the competitor brands are, even though it could help you put an unknown brand into context.
The table below was updated in September 2019 and lists all 120+ hotel brands from the nine largest international hotel companies, organized for comparison and equivalency. Even if you're not looking to compare brands or find equivalencies, the table is also a great way to get a better sense of what brands are affiliated with which hotel groups.
Hotel Brands Comparison and Equivalency Table
The names of the international hotel groups are listed in the top row. Comparable hotel brands are then listed by row-by-row.
The | separator denotes multiple brands of the same hotel group within the same hotel category and sub-category.
Hotel Groups Included
Overall, individuals hotels can vary quite a bit within a brand…and this table isn't perfect, since judgment calls are definitely involved. Still, for the bewildered traveler just trying to make sense of where hotel brands fall in relation to each other, this table should be helpful. The nomenclature matters less than the relative ordering of the categories, which affects the comparability of hotel brands.
Sub-categories repeat across different main categories. Sometimes, it can be difficult to determine the most appropriate subcategory when more than one applies. When determining a subcategory, I utilize both the brand's own marketing as well their typical clientele, e.g., some hotel brands try to cater specifically to business travelers.
The difference between the Modern and Lifestyle sub-categories (within the same overall category) can be a fine line, and the difference may not always be reflected perfectly in the table above. Generally, I consider Modern brands to be up-to-date and non-traditional in terms of design and architecture, but still rather cookie-cutter-ish in what they have to offer. I consider Lifestyle brands to be more focused on their locale and/or more focused on marketing their brand as “new and hip” to “millennials.” Obviously, there is quite a bit of overlap between the two sub-categories.
DoubleTree is supposed to be a brand on par with Hilton, and some DoubleTrees are even nicer than decent Hiltons. Unfortunately, a number of DoubleTrees are also worse than an okay Hampton Inn. The only real unifying brand standard for the DoubleTree is that they're full-service and that you get a warm and delicious cookie at check-in.
MGallery hotels share some similarities to DoubleTree in the sense that each brand sometimes serves as a dumping ground for hotels that don't cut it as the flagship brand in their hotel family. Their quality can vary quite a bit, and classifying them as Standard ++ is perhaps a bit generous.
Sheraton is supposed to be a brand on par with Westin (just older than most Westins). They are undoubtedly some good Sheraton hotels out there, but there are also many of them that are showing their age and have not been maintained as well as they could/should have been.
Yes, the HotelF1 brand is really just one small step above a hostel. You get your own room and sink, but showers and toilets are shared.